“You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood.” ~ Exodus 28:3
I read this verse during my devotion a few days ago, and today I read this verse:
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you.” ~ Exodus 31:1-6
The Lord made me really excited about the truth revealed in these verses! These two verses clearly show that the Lord God is the One who gives a spirit of skill to make beautiful things. The second verse even says that it is the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, who gives the ability to design and create things. This is a powerful lesson to me that the work that I do with my hands must be done for the glory of my God, not merely for myself and my own selfish desires. The Creator has enabled me to make things with my hands, and to even enjoy doing these things, but He has worked that in me for a purpose far above a nice hobby!
The Lord set specific directions before these men as to what He wanted them to make – there were detailed instructions on how these men were to worship God through the work of their hands, namely, they were to make the priests’ garments, and build the tabernacle. So clearly, these verses do not mean that all art is done through the Spirit of God, but it does mean that God grants to people a spirit of skill to make things for him and for his people. A third verse gives me some guidance on a suitable way to please the Lord by what I make with my hands:
“Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity. … All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them.” ~ Acts 9:36, 39
This believing woman obviously used the skill God gave her to proclaim his Name. She was obediant to the command to care for widows and orphans (James 1:27). Dorcas exhibited the Holy Spirit’s work in her by good works and charity, making things with her hands to cloth the poor and so follow her Lord.
These verses cause me to question my own motives in making things: Am I doing this so that I can have something pretty to wear or to display in my house that puffs up my pride? Is it right for me, who is abundantly blessed, to keep hoarding things for myself? Am I wanting to make these things to glorify my God and bless other people? How can my skills be used to care for people and to open a way for the Gospel among people who don’t know it?