His hand holds the grey drawing pencil at an angle. He sweeps downward, then across. Now he leans in to work more closely on a detail, his wrist hovering in barely perceptible, clock-wise movements.
At ten years old S is capable of something I never will be. Through his black and lime-green frames he sees clearly, notices and observes. The pencil is under his control as he manipulates it. A half circle of the wrist and his left hand moves and lifts up slightly off the paper. The knight’s chain mail is completed carefully in tiny, individual circles, yet appearing coehesive, virtually impenetrable as the thirteenth century boasted.
It is a skill.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri from the tribe of Judah….I have filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God and have given him the skill, ability, and knowledge to do all kinds of work. He is able to design pieces to be made from gold, silver, and bronze, to cut jewels and put them in metal, to carve wood, and to do all kinds of work. I have also chosen Oholiab…to work with Bezalel. I have given skills to all the craftsmen, and they will be able to make all these things I have commanded you: the Meeting Tent, the Ark of the Agreement, the lid that covers the Ark, and everything in the Tent.” Exodus 31:1-7
God has chosen. God has given. God has filled. Here is the first time in Scripture someone is said to be filled with the Spirit of God.
How did these men learn their crafts? Were they artisan slaves to Pharaoh back in Egypt? Did the Lord miraculously teach them to work with their hands with no prior experience? Surely they had melted gold down before. Certainly their hands knew how to hold a chisel against wood, a press for the olives, the needle for the fine tapestries and textiles. Regardless, His very Spirit filled them with the knowledge and creativity to complete these tasks for the sake of beauty and worship. As Bezalel carves floral designs, birds or fruit into the wood, gilding them with the gold, covering them in silver, I realize I am also filled with His Spirit, expected to leave a decorative and practical imprint on His holy temple. For we are His temple.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
And here before me are three temples, entrusted to me to show off all my artisan skill, all for His glory. The responsibility weighs on me mightily. How could he entrust me with so great a task? However, Bezalel and Oholiab speak quietly through the pages of Scripture and through their hard labor. If God commands, then He will also enable. If God expects, then He will also inspire. If God gives, then He will do so abundantly.
What tools has God placed in my hands? For what purpose has He chosen me? Do I understand that I am filled with His presence? The task is too beautiful and too daunting. I am equal to the task of teaching fractions and literary themes. I do not quake at the thought of lessons in cooking and folding laundry. Chosen. Skilled. Filled. Yet, how is it possible to carve empathy into another human soul? How do I chisel gratitude for God’s grace into my child’s heart? Where will I find the needle and fine thread to create something so skillful, so beautiful, so worthy of the worship He deserves?
Never will I comprehend. A pencil in my hands is hardly a tool. Although S may create worlds with it, never will it bring to life anything from my efforts. It is merely for scratching down a grocery list, jotting down a Bible verse, demonstrating a division problem. But the Spirit between us is the same. My ministry, his temples, are before me daily, hourly. I gaze on them, overwhelmed at times with the sheer magnitude of the task.
Were Bezalel and Oholiab overwhelmed?
Then, I know. When God commands, He also enables. When He chooses, He also provides the skills. May we all know His presence.