What if I were to tell you that two of my favorite life examples from the Old Testament are Bezalel and Oholiab? You would probably ask, “WHO?”
Let me set the stage with two related backstories, then I will weave Bezalel and Oholiab into the picture.
A few years ago, I was asked to be a part of a project planning committee for a new program that was under consideration at my former place of employment. I excitedly agreed, as it involved making (key word here!) plans and coming up with ideas. When ideas were agreed upon, and decisions were made to move forward, a colleague asked me if I’d like to head up the new program! What?! I immediately started in on my “Moses excuses” (See Exodus 4:1-12!). Another colleague looked me square in the eye and said, “Debbie, we’re passing you the ball. Now, dribble and shoot”. Does that not sound like God’s response to Moses in 4:12?
That statement took my memory to an event regarding Sharon’s junior high basketball team. Sharon was a scrappy defender on the basketball court, but if someone passed the ball to her, her immediate action was to find someone else to pass to. She just wouldn’t shoot! On this particular day, her brother and his varsity teammates were in attendance. Someone had passed the ball to Sharon as she stood in the perfect ‘sweet spot’ for shooting…but she starting looking for a teammate. I can still hear that entire varsity group yell in unison, “Shoot the ball, Sharon!!”. She took the shot. I don’t remember whether or not it went in, but the scene flashed across my mind when my colleague challenged me in the same way.
The ‘problem’ was, I ‘knew’ what my strengths were….and what they weren’t. But, like Sharon, I shot the ball… and oh, what a fun and successful project it turned out to be. I began to grow in my newly developing strengths and talents, which only came through God’s grace and guidance, and I continue to look for opportunities to use those ‘new skills’ even today.
God also had a big job for Bezalel and Oholiab, and I’m sure their first thought was, “WHAT?!” So, let’s take a moment to see how Scripture describes this planning meeting between Moses, Bezalel, Oholiab, and God.
Bezalel and Oholiab first show up in Exodus 31:1-11, but to get the full picture of the task they were assigned, you really need to skim through chapters 25-30! Six chapters of details! God appointed these two men to take on the daunting task of heading up the team to build and furnish the Tabernacle (The Jewish place of worship during their 40 year wilderness journey). I’m sure their eyes grew wider and wider as the list of instructions continued.
Then, we see Bezalel and Oholiab at work leading their crew in the construction of the tent, the construction of the furnishings, and the weaving of curtains and the special wardrobe for the priests in chapters 35-40.
Here are three things to take note of as we examine how they carried out this task.
1. The spirit of God provided Bezalel and Oholiab the wisdom and ability to complete this task. In the same way, the Holy Spirit provided me the wisdom and ability to complete my task.
2. God provided Bezalel and Oholiab with a willing group of helpers to assist them through the project. In the same way, God provided a willing and supportive team to help me lead our project.
3. You will notice in Exodus 35:34 that God also gave Bezalel and Oholiab the ability to teach their skills to others. A good leader always teaches and prepares his/her helpers to become future leaders (2 Timothy 2:2).
And in conclusion, Moses inspected their work in Exodus 39:43 and proclaimed,
“...and they had done just as the Lord commanded. Then he blessed them.”
When you’ve been given the opportunity or challenge to take on and/or lead a new task or project, remember the example of Bezalel and Oholiab….and shoot the ball!
Barker, Kenneth L and Kohnlenberger, John R III, editors, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary- Old Testament, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994.