“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts – to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship.’” (Ex. 31:1-6)
The Ark of the Covenant
Creation of the ark of the covenant was the issue and Moses was charged with its construction. True to form, God had already put in place the resources necessary for that work. One of those resources was Bezalel. He would be given the responsibility to do the crafting of the ornate features.
This passage, which we often skim over with little thought, has some significant lessons for us.
This is one of the earliest recorded instances of “spiritual gifts.” A spiritual gift is a special indwelling of the Holy Spirit, distributed by God, designed for the completion of some task in God’s plan. There was a task – the creation of the ark. And God filled Bezalel with a special indwelling of the Holy Spirit to equip him to accomplish that task.
We often think of spiritual gifts as being limited to the traditional “ministries” of the church – preachers, teachers, missionaries, etc. However, God is much larger than that, and his work is greater than that which is the focus of our institutional churches. He chooses to equip people for His work in all sorts of situations.
Notice that the gifts poured into Bezalel were primarily exhibited in the marketplace. While this particular application had spiritual implications, the craftsmanship that Bezalel brought to the task was developed in doing work for others in the marketplace of the time. It’s not hard to imagine Bezalel being commissioned by the folks around him to create pieces of jewelry and household items. He may even have had a “shop” and offered his work for sale.
He wasn’t a prophet, a teacher, or a priest. God chose a craftsman, a worker with gold, silver and bronze, to be the first recorded instance of spiritual gifts.
As marketplace Christians, we are tempted to think that we are somehow ‘second-class Christians’ – that our work is just not as important as that of the professional Christians who run the institutional churches. That’s a concept that has no support from God’s word.
Could it be that you have been given gifts to do your job exceptionally well? Could it be that God wants you to be a light in the marketplace, and has instilled exceptional ‘skill, ability, and knowledge’ to do so? Are you, in fact, a marketplace minister, called and equipped with the special task of adding salt and light to the corner of the world you inhabit?