Great Conversations: God and Moses

GreatConversations_God&Moses

Imagine eavesdropping on Mt Sinai as God gave Moses the tablets with the ten commandments. That conversation laid the foundation for entire nations, changed the course of human history, and shaped the world. Now imagine if in the middle of that conversation, God mentioned you by name. I’m not referring to Moses or Aaron. I’m talking about two guys you may not know: Bezalel and Oholiab.

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. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you:

  • the Tent of Meeting,
  • the ark of the Testimony with the atonement cover on it,
  • and all the other furnishings of the tent– the table and its articles, the pure gold lampstand and all its accessories, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, the basin with its stand–
  • and also the woven garments, both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests,
  • and the anointing oil and fragrant incense for the Holy Place.

They are to make them just as I commanded you.” Exodus 31:1-11

That’s an amazing list. These skilled craftsmen did not actually lead the people in worship, like the priests, but the articles they made helped facilitate and enhance worship.

This work was high tech, and these men managed it all. Bezalel and Oholiab are the first recorded technical directors in the Bible. If you work in technical arts, you are also using your skill to facilitate and enhance worship just as these men were called to do.

(As technical directors, we rightly get worried when our leaders go off to meet with God for extended periods. They always come back with more work. Imagine having the Ark of Testimony as a to do item on a list! Whoa. But I digress.)

What can we learn from this story:

1. God called Bezalel and Oholiab by name in one of the most awesome conversations in history. Take comfort in that if you are a behind-the-scenes worker. God sees you.

What you are doing is important.

2. The work of these skilled craftsmen helped established a God-focused center in Ancient Israel. Improving your abilities and working hard can impact generations.

What you are doing is important.

3. As they created what God commanded, every detail of every item pointed to Christ. Books have been written on each area of the work and how it foreshadowed God’s plan of salvation. Prophecy was laid out in meticulous detail and we understand more about Jesus by studying their work. That is our legacy as technical artists.

What you are doing is important.

4. There is a caution here as well. Other skilled craftsmen do not have a good name in the Old Testament. Why? Because they fashioned the idols and false gods that led Israel into false worship.

Audio engineers love to refer to George Martin as the fifth Beatle (and by implication themselves as an extended band member, of course). We often say the A1 is the most important person in the sanctuary because they can make or break the service. Video directors influence emotion with well timed execution. (Don’t believe me? Watch a movie.)
With great power comes great responsibility.

  • Are your efforts advancing the Kingdom of God or helping build a fiefdom that exalts a man?
  • Are your efforts bringing glory to God or helping an artist pursue fame and fortune?
  • Even if your motives are right, are you helping advance a ministry where the goals of the leadership are not righteous?

If you are using your skill to facilitate and enhance false worship, I ask you to reconsider your involvement. I have concerns about some televangelism, and those programs would not exist without skilled craftsmen making it happen. We will have to answer to God for applying our skill to advance any agenda that is contrary to His Kingdom.

Think about this: most, if not all, of the false teachings and abusive practices that have deceived millions of people throughout church history were facilitated by skilled craftsmen using their technical expertise (from creating papyrus and ink, to printing presses, to radio and TV broadcasts, to websites and new media) to exponentially advance the false agenda well beyond the originators ability.

They were probably just doing their job.

So, I repeat, what you do is important.

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