Exodus 31 - Outline of Exodus (MENU page)
   The Provision of Workmen to build the Tabernacle (v.1-11) -
31:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
31:2 See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:
31:3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God,
in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
31:4 To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,
31:5 And in cutting of stones, to set [them],
and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship.
31:6 And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan:
and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom,
that they may make all that I have commanded thee;
31:7 The tabernacle of the congregation,
and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that [is] thereupon,
and all the furniture of the tabernacle,
31:8 And the table and his furniture,
and the pure candlestick with all his furniture, and the altar of incense,
31:9 And the altar of burnt offering with all his furniture, and the laver and his foot,
31:10 And the cloths of service, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest,
and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest's office,
31:11 And the anointing oil, and sweet incense for the holy [place]:
according to all that I have commanded thee shall they do.
that they may make all that I have commanded thee... (v.6)-
When God commands a task, He supplies that which is needed to fulfill it.
The Lord's work requires a variety of workers with differing skills and aptitudes.
The Lord's work, being His work, goes forward as He supplies and equips each obedient worker.
The Lord, who commissioned the work, oversees the workers. "I have..."
I have called by name... (v.2) -
  • The Lord calls each of His servants individually. While some may serve in hidden or secondary roles, those who are called to leadership are designated, so that there is no question of their roles.
    Examples - The Lord called His twelve disciples, and also the apostle Paul, by name. The early church appointed seven deacons. The apostles appointed elders in every city... etc.
  • The Lord, who places the desire to serve within the heart of a man, also enables the church to recognize those whom He has called to serve (eg., 1Tim 3:1-7).
I have filled him with the spirit of God... (v.3) - cp. Joh 3:27
  • The Lord equips His servants for the roles in which He places them. The Holy Spirit 'dwells' within NT believers. He 'fills' those whose hearts are given wholly to Him (Eph 5:18-21). The Lord's work must be empowered by the Holy Spirit, for the flesh cannot please God.
  • In the OT, the Holy Spirit did not dwell within all believers, but came upon certain men to empower them for service. Note that the Spirit enabled Bezaleel to understand all aspects of the workmanship involved in building the Tabernacle, and for training and leading other workers in this task. But he was not equipped to lead the nation, or to minister as a priest.
I have given... with him... (v.6a) -
The Lord had called Bezaleel to lead this work. But it was not a work which he could do alone. Therefore, the Lord also called a secondary leader, Aholiab. Together, these two men would organize and supervise a large crew of unnamed workers, each of whom the Lord had equipped with various abilities that would be required to complete the project.
I have... in the hearts of all... put wisdom (v.6b)
In the NT, although the Spirit dwells within every believer, He equips each believer differently, to fulfill the roles to which each has been called.
cp. Rom 12:3-8; 1Cor 12:12-31; Eph 4:7-16
The Lord's preparation of these men, who would oversee the construction of His Tabernacle,
over which the Cloud would stand to guard and guide God's people, is reflected in their names:
- - Bezale-el {meaning: "in the shadow (or, under the protection) of God"}
- - Aholiab {meaning: "father's tent"}
   The Sabbath of Sanctification (v.12-18) -
31:12 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
31:13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying,
Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep:
for it [is] a sign between me and you throughout your generations;
that [ye] may know that I [am] the LORD that doth sanctify you.
31:14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it [is] holy unto you:
every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death:
for whosoever doeth [any] work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
31:15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh [is] the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD:
whosoever doeth [any] work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
31:16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath,
to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, [for] a perpetual covenant.
31:17 It [is] a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever:
for [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth,
and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
31:18 And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai,
two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
my sabbaths shall ye keep...-
This reminder, coming at the end of instructions concerning construction of the Tabernacle, addresses the human tendency to focus on 'the work' (or, 'our work'), while forgetting the One who alone can bring His work to completion. cp. Ex 20:8-11
  • The Sabbath was a test of Israel's conditional standing,
    which was dependent upon their obedience. cp. Lev 20:7,8,26; Ex 19:3-6 ('if... then...'); 35:2
    Non-observance of the required physical rest, a violation of the Law, was punishable by death.
  • Observation of 'the Lord's Day' (the first day of the week, Mark 16:9) is a token of the believer's unconditional acceptance,
    which is based on His finished work (1Pet 2:9, 'ye are...').
    In Christ, we have spiritual rest, for He has finished the work of redemption (Heb 4:9,10).
my sabbaths ye shall keep... I am the LORD who doth sanctify you (v.13) -
The word 'sanctify' {HB=qadash, sanctify, make holy, set apart} is used of the priests who were 'hallowed' for God's service (in 29:1,21). However, all of God's people are to be separated unto Him.
    Note that it is not 'sabbath keeping' but a relationship with the LORD that sets His people apart from the world.
    It is He who has made this relationship possible. It is He who has done the work of sanctification. In our sinful condition, we could not make ourselves acceptable to Him. Therefore, in remembering the Sabbath {a day of 'rest'}, we are reminded that our relationship with Him rests upon who He is and what He has done to make us His own.
    Just as He finished His work of creation (v.17), He has also finished His work of Salvation. cp. Heb 10:10-18; Joh 17:15-19; 1The 4:3-8; 5:23
...He gave unto Moses... two tables of testimony... of stone...
For forty days, God communed {HB= dabar, spoke words} with Moses as He laid out the pattern of the Tabernacle, which provides a picture of the way of redemption through faith in the person and work of Christ. At the end of that time, the LORD gave Moses a copy of the Law (ie., the Commandments), which the people had previously promised to keep (Ex 19:8; 24:7). Because the LORD knew they could not keep their promise, and would be condemned by the righteousness of the Law (Deu 5:29), He outlined His plan of salvation (in the pattern of the Tabernacle), in anticipation of their need.
    In the Law, the finger of God easily identifies and condemns our sin (v.18; cp. Ex 8:19; Joh 8:6-9). The provision of Salvation, a much more difficult work, was accomplished by His Arm (Isa 53:1-f).

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