Exodus 31

Sunday Morning Bible Study

November 23, 2008


For almost 40 days and nights Moses has been up on Mount Sinai with God receiving instructions on how to built the portable worship center we call the “Tabernacle. We’ve looked at the various parts of this portable worship center in the wilderness and have been learning that there was purpose and design in these things.  They teach us about heaven.  They teach us about God.  They teach us about how we are to worship and serve God.

Moses is about to get his last few instructions before heading back down the mountain and starting to build the things he’s been learning about.

:1-11 Calling all Workmen

:1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:

:2 "See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.

Bezalel[email protected]’el – “in the shadow (i.e. protection) of God”.  Bezalel will be the fellow in charge of the construction, the master builder, the superintendent.

Uri‘Uwriy – “fiery”

son of Hur – the Hebrew here is “Ben Hur” (Charlton Heston’s son???) – “hole”

Hur might be the same guy who was one of the assistants to Moses, who helped Aaron hold Moses’ hands up when Joshua fought the Amalekites (Ex. 17).

called by name – God wasn’t just looking for someone with the right qualifications, God was looking for a specific person.  Wouldn’t that be cool to think that God was talking to Moses about YOU???

(Eph 2:10 NKJV)  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

God has specific things for each of us to do, things designed for us, things with your “name” on it.

:3 "And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,

filled him with the Spirit of God –Almost sounds like something in the New Testament.

A rare combination of words in the Hebrew, only one other place are they found together (filled & Spirit)

Mic 3:8 But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the LORD, And of justice and might, To declare to Jacob his transgression And to Israel his sin.

wisdomchokmah – wisdom

understandingtabuwn – intelligence; insight

knowledgeda‘ath – knowledge; discernment

workmanship[email protected]’kah – work, business

:4 "to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze,

to design artistic works -  designchashab – to think, plan, calculate

artistic worksmachashabah – thought, device, invention

One commentary translates this as Bezalel being filled with the Spirit of God “to think out inventions

When I see some of the designs in the table of showbread, with the various racks to hold the loaves of bread, the laver and how the water was poured out, I see invention.

:5 "in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.

cuttingcharosheth – carving, skilful working

I found it interesting while we were in Israel how many times we had opportunities to buy diamonds.  There are quite a lot of diamond cutters who are Jewish.  A lot.  Our tour guide Leor said that Jews are good with diamonds because since they’ve been persecuted so much, diamonds are one type of wealth that you can grab quickly and run when you are being persecuted (as opposed to a farm or a factory).

The jewels that would be cut would be for the gems on the priest’s garments.


Filled for a purpose

Sometimes we get confused about the work of the Holy Spirit and fall into a trap of thinking that it’s all about experience and strange supernatural phenomena.
When we read about the disciples first being filled with the Spirit, it makes us think of weirdness -
(Acts 2:1-4 NKJV)  When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. {2} And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. {3} Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. {4} And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
But Jesus made it clear that the power of the Spirit was not about being weird, it was about fulfilling a purpose.
(Acts 1:8 NKJV)  "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

powerdunamis – strength, power, ability

For the apostles, the initial filling of the Holy Spirit was to give them the ability to be His witnesses.

Keep in mind these were a batch of fellows who fled when Jesus was arrested.  They were not the boldest, most courageous group ever assembled.

But after they were filled with the Spirit, things changed.

When they spoke with tongues, it wasn’t just gibberish:

(Acts 2:11 NKJV)  …we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God."

Peter had denied the Lord a couple months earlier, but now he stands up and boldly proclaims the gospel.

The filling of the Spirit is very practical.

God wants to give you the ability to serve Him – whether it’s telling people about Jesus or whether it’s building something with your hands.

It might involve saying no temptation.  It might be about being a better husband or father.

Don’t be afraid of the Spirit.  Yield to the Spirit.

:6 "And I, indeed I, have appointed with him Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and I have put wisdom in the hearts of all who are gifted artisans, that they may make all that I have commanded you:

Aholiab ‘Oholiy’ab – “Father’s tent”

Ahisamach ‘Achiycamak – “my brother is support (has supported)”

(1 Ki 7:13-14 NKJV)  Now King Solomon sent and brought Huram from Tyre. {14} He was the son of a widow from the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a bronze worker; he was filled with wisdom and understanding and skill in working with all kinds of bronze work. So he came to King Solomon and did all his work.

:7 "the tabernacle of meeting, the ark of the Testimony and the mercy seat that is on it, and all the furniture of the tabernacle;

:8 "the table and its utensils, the pure gold lampstand with all its utensils, the altar of incense,

:9 "the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the laver and its base;

:10 "the garments of ministry, the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, to minister as priests,

:11 "and the anointing oil and sweet incense for the holy place. According to all that I have commanded you they shall do."

These guys were pretty knowledgeable.  They had to know a lot about a lot of things.


You are also a part

God had shown Moses all the things that needed to be made, but God didn’t give Moses the ability to make them.
God gave these people the ability to make the things that Moses had seen.
(1 Cor 12:14-18 NLT)  Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. {15} If the foot says, "I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand," that does not make it any less a part of the body. {16} And if the ear says, "I am not part of the body because I am only an ear and not an eye," would that make it any less a part of the body? {17} Suppose the whole body were an eye--then how would you hear? Or if your whole body were just one big ear, how could you smell anything? {18} But God made our bodies with many parts, and he has put each part just where he wants it.
Part of growing as a Christian is learning to find out that you have a part to play in God’s plans.  He has things that only you can do.  Church should not be about coming to watch one guy come and speak.  Church is about finding out how I can serve the Lord.
Our vision as a church is to:  Win the lost, equip the saints, and send the servants.

There’s a progression to it.  God’s desire is for the church to reach a lost world.  But the goal is not just to get a lot of people coming to church and sitting to listen to a sermon.  The goal is to grow Christians and help them find out how they can serve the Lord with the things that God has given to them.

We were talking in the elders meeting yesterday about some of the cool things God has been doing at our church.  Years ago our mission’s budget used to go for supporting good organizations, but we were basically sending our money to someone else to do the work of missions. 

Last year we sent out our first full time long term missionary – Drew Morehouse.  Drew was someone who was pretty lost when he started coming to church.  The Lord has been growing Drew, and now he’s in Russia as a missionary.

In a few months we may be sending out our next batch of missionaries – Caleb and Kim Beller.  Caleb starting coming to the church when he was sixteen – and pretty lost.  God has done a lot in Caleb.

It’s not just about becoming a missionary either.  But it’s about finding your place and serving the Lord.  It might be in the band, on the soundboard, in Children’s Ministry, at the Food Outreach, as an usher, preaching at the Convalescent hospital, sweeping the sidewalk, praying with people, cooking on Thursday nights, working with the Youth, helping with the Spanish fellowship, or a ministry at your work or in your home.

Don’t think that the pastors are to do all the work. You have a part. 

:12-17 Sabbath Law

:12 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

One last things before Moses goes back down the mountain, a reminder of something God has already told Moses (the fourth commandment)

:13 "Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: 'Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.

The Sabbath was something given by God to the Israelites.

Some try and make the church keep the Sabbath, saying you have to worship on Saturday, not Sunday.

But the law was a sign between God and the children of Israel.

We worship on Sunday because of the resurrection.  Jesus rose on a Sunday.  The early church met on Sunday.  That’s good enough for me.

:14 'You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people.

:15 'Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.

:16 'Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.

:17 'It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.'"

:18 And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.

When we came back from Israel, we came back with our own souvenirs.  Our boys got some cool t-shirts.  Moses got stone tablets.

God had told Moses that He would be giving Moses a souvenir of these 40 days on the mountain (Ex. 24:12)

(Exo 24:12 NKJV)  Then the LORD said to Moses, "Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them."



God gave Moses a written copy of the Ten Commandments, written by God’s own finger on tablets of stone.
A priceless treasure.

Autographs can be valuable –

On eBay you can find a baseball signed by A-Rod for $425. 

A Peyton Manning signed football for $495.

A Michael Jordan signed jersey for $759.99.

How much would two stone tablets signed by God go for?  Priceless?

Actually, we have something signed by God.

We are.

(Eph 2:10 NKJV)  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

:17 …on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.'"

restedshabath – to cease, desist, rest

was refreshednaphash – (Niphal) to take breath, refresh oneself

related to the word soulnephesh – soul, self, life (Gen. 2:7)

Ge 2:7 And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

We got a taste of Shabbat while we were in Israel.  We were there over two Saturdays, two “Shabbats”.

About 30% of the population are “observant”, they actually are careful to observe the Sabbath laws.

Frankly we weren’t affected all that much, but it was interesting to learn more about it.

Shabbat starts on Friday evening.  The typical family will go to synagogue early Friday evening, then come home and stay home.  Shabbat lasts until Saturday evening, technically when you can see three stars in the sky, or, about 5:30pm during our time there.

Some of the Shabbat laws are kind of silly.

Some of the laws come from a set of teachings known as the “Mishna”, supposedly things that Moses taught, but were really just a bunch of things that various rabbis came up with over the years to help explain things more fully.
These were the things that Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for, in making their “traditions” more important than God’s real laws (Mark 7:6-8).

(Mark 7:6-8 NLT)  Jesus replied, "You hypocrites! Isaiah was prophesying about you when he said, {7} 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away. Their worship is a farce, for they replace God's commands with their own man-made teachings.' {8} For you ignore God's specific laws and substitute your own traditions."

The Mishna has an entire book that gives lots of details just about the Sabbath Law (the entire section has 24 chapters), such as …
Chapter 15:  Regulations concerning the tying and untying of knots

A woman may tie the slit of her tunic, the bands of her hood, the bands of her girdle, the straps of her shoes and sandals… One may tie a bucket (over the well) with his girdle, but not with a rope.

One set of Sabbath laws are derived from the Scriptures:

(Exo 35:3 NKJV)  "You shall kindle no fire throughout your dwellings on the Sabbath day."
There are lots of things that “kindle a fire”.

When you turn on an electric light, you are starting a fire.

To get around it, many things in an observant home will have timers that take over on Friday night so you aren’t the one kindling the fire.

In your hotel room, you can flip a switch and the lights will go on and off again automatically.  Sensors in the room will turn off the lights after you leave the room.

Some of the hotel elevators are designated as “Shabbat” elevators.  They will stop on every floor.  You can get in the elevator without having to press a button, but it will take you longer to get to your floor.

Driving a car is forbidden.

1/3 of the population don’t drive on Shabbat.  They even get a discount on their auto insurance, they pay 1/7 less because they drive only six days a week.  Less traffic.

For the typical observant family, Shabbat is all about spending time with the family.

TV sets are turned off.  Computers are turned off.
You read books.  You play games.  You spend time with your family.  You don’t go out, you stay at home.  It’s about resting.  It’s about slowing down.
Food is prepared ahead of time.  If food needs to be cooked, the oven runs on a timer.  Breakfast on Saturday morning had a lot of cold food items.
The Jewish work week starts on Sunday.  They work six days a week instead of our five.  But the day off is a real, complete day off.


Learn to rest and be refreshed

We can make fun of some of the goofy parts of Shabbat, but personally I kind of like the idea of having a complete day off.
Larry McMurtry, known for his [book] Lonesome Dove, wrote another book about roads—the many roads he had driven on and the hundreds of miles he had explored across America. At last, returning in memory to the place where he grew up in east Texas, he recalls that his father had seldom gone much farther than the dusty roads near his dirt farm. Comparing his own travels to his father’s localized life, McMurtry admits, “I have looked at many places quickly. My father looked at one place deeply.”
Perhaps we ought to think about slowing down every once in a while and look at one place deeply.
I had accepted the call as senior pastor of a large congregation that had recently erected a huge, state-of-the-art building resulting in major debt. Feeling the pressures of my new responsibility—and with a strong desire to impress my parishioners—I hit the ground running. I was in the office early every day, and almost every evening I was out shepherding the flock or reaching out to potential church members.
My wife, Teresa, was very understanding, but our two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Mandi, was perplexed by my absence. Mandi loved for me to read to her after dinner each evening—a practice I continued in my new position, with one caveat: I would sit on the edge of my recliner with her seated by my side and read a quick story or two before rushing out for another night of harried activity.
One evening Mandi said something that jolted me back to reality about my role as a father. I had sat down with her in my recliner—once again on the edge, ready to quickly read and run. While I was reading, Mandi interrupted me, patted the recliner seat, and said, "Scoot back, Daddy, scoot back." She knew on those rare occasions when I wasn't going back out that I would relax, sit back in my recliner, and leisurely read stories to her heart's content.
Her words pierced my soul as I understood what she was really saying: "Please slow down, Daddy. Make time for me!" Appropriately chastened, I scooted back.
Phil LeMaster, Cane Ridge, Tennessee
We are too busy to pray, and so we are too busy to have power. We have a great deal of activity, but we accomplish little; many services, but few conversions; much machinery, but few results.
—R. A. Torrey, American evangelist (1856–1928)
How to Obtain Fullness of Power
Take time for family.  Take time for God.


The sign

The Sabbath was to be a sign that showed the world that the Jews belonged to the Lord.  It’s interesting that before they get to work, God reminds them to rest.
It made them different from the rest of the world.
Could our “rest” be a sign?
Rest comes from trust.
It demonstrates our trust in God.

We don't have to work 20 hour days, seven days a week to meet our needs.

We trust that God will provide if we take one day off to rest and honor Him.

We can become overwhelmed with anxiety, but we can trust Him and find rest.

(Phil 4:6-7 NKJV)  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; {7} and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

The world needs to see people who are learning to find peace, rest, in times of anxiety.