Jesus gives gifts to Build his Church (Exodus 31:1-11)

In Chapter 31 we encounter the first charismatic gifts.  These aren’t gifts of tongues or miracles, they are gifts of craftsmanship.  God endowed certain tradesmen with the skills and abilities they needed in order to build the tabernacle.  The word declares,

I have filled [Bezalel] with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts…I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you… (Exodus 31:3, 6)

God wanted his earthly house of worship to be constructed in just the right manner and so he gave men the gifts they needed in order to build that structure.  Since the time of Christ, God has been building a spiritual temple and so he gives spiritual gifts to all those involved in the work.  No longer is the work confined to a few men, but now all believers are involved in the process and therefore all believers are in need of spiritual gifts.

We have different gifts according to the grace given us.  If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; it if is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:6-8)

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.  To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,  to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. (1Corinthians 12:7)

Each of these gifts exists in order to see the church of God built up.  Each is a special empowering of God in order to help his temple function smoothly and testify to his glory.  Paul declares to the Ephesians,

From him [Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Ephesians 4:16)

As we look at a story like the special anointing of the craftsmen Bezalel and Oholiab, we can find encouragement that God is still building his house of worship and we are not only the building blocks but also the craftsmen and craftswomen empowered by the Spirit of God to erect a wonderful structure on the one foundation, Jesus Christ.


About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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