Why read the entire Bible: Bezalel and Aholiab

Exodus 31:1-11

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. 3 And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, 4 to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, 5 in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.

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 the gifted artisans, that they may make all that I have commanded you: 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.”

Daily lectionaries (lists of assigned Scripture readings) typically provide for reading the “whole” Bible in a specified period, usually one or two years. Unfortunately, those used by much of the Church at large – including the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) and the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) omit certain portions, usually specific verses, but sometimes entire chapters. A number of justifications are given: to make each day’s reading a “reasonable” length; to skip portions with long genealogies (“this guy begat that guy, and that guy begat some other dude”) or other detailed lists. Some politically correct lectionaries even omit verses because they are offensive to modern ears.

Our current season of Easter takes us through much of Exodus, which includes God’s description of His laws and of the detailed construction of the Tabernacle which the Israelites carried on their long journey to the Promised Land – boards and rods and stakes and curtains and sockets and … you get the idea. And so the lectionary used by the ICCEC skips over some of these sections.

However, when we fail to read the entire Bible – every word of every verse – we can miss important points which the Holy Spirit wants us to see. You have heard it said by many, “Every time I read the Bible the Holy Spirit shows me something I haven’t seen before,” and this is true. I have been reading through the Bible daily for thirty years, using the BCP lectionary but with the omitted Scriptures added back in, and I am still learning and discovering deeper truths.

Which brings me to Bezalel and Aholiab. Why did the Lord consider their names important enough to be listed in Scripture? They were not scholars, nor described as particularly holy men, yet the Lord made sure their names would be remembered. What great and mighty thing did they do?

Nothing, really … except that they were given gifts of creativity by the Lord and were instrumental in working out the designs of the Tabernacle and all its furniture and furnishings, even to the garments of the priests and the making of incense. Scripture tells us the dimensions of these items and their materials of construction, but not enough for us to really get a good picture of what they looked like. That inspiration was put into the hearts, minds, and hands of Bezalel and Aholiab, and they were faithful to fulfill all God’s designs.

What does that say to us? Do you ever feel like your gifts are insignificant, that nothing you do for the Lord is noticed? Do you feel guilty because you haven’t gone to seminary, you aren’t ordained, or you aren’t up front in the spotlight?

Those are lies of the enemy. God is interested in the small things, the fine details. He filled Bezalel and Aholiab with the Spirit of God, and brought other gifted artisans around them to create all the beautiful articles of the Tabernacle … and He felt they were so important that He made sure we would know their names.

Be encouraged! God knows your name, too. And whether you have ten talents, 5 talents, or only one talent, God considers you important enough to give you His gift for His service. Don’t bury it, don’t hide it, but use it for His glory and you will receive an eternal reward. He will never forget yourname!

Oh … and read the entire Bible – every word, every verse. You never know what God will use to speak to you some surprising insight, and light a fire in you that will never go out.

Word of God: speak!

Non nobis Domine+

by Fr. Dana Jackson

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