Most Christian leaders are familiar with the story of Moses and the advice his father-in-law gave him. Without the organization and delegation, Moses would have certainly burned out trying to manage every little detail and case among the nation (Ex 18). And the people wouldn’t have been too happy, either.
But something I hadn’t noticed until reading through this year is that the advice stuck. It continued to work. Moses had learned the lesson.
God gave detailed instructions of what the tabernacle should look like to Moses. He also clarified to Moses who should lead the charge to build it. Then God filled those leaders from a certain tribe with the gift of craftsmanship. These folks were given charge over the many minute details of building and designing the tabernacle per the Lord’s instruction. The description of these details, as well as the construction, fills up the last portion of the book of Exodus (The numerous details given to prepare for worship will be another post!).
It all culminates toward the end of the book. In the second-to-last chapter (Ex. 39:32). The craftsmen completed the task. They constructed the tabernacle down to the tiniest detail.
“They did everything just as the Lord had commanded Moses. And then brought the tabernacle to Moses…” Exodus 39:32-33
It was complete with furnishings, clasps, frames, crossbars, posts, bases; tent coverings of tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather; the inner curtain to shield the Ark; the Ark of the Covenant[f] and its carrying poles; the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement; the table and all its utensils; the Bread of the Presence; the pure gold lampstand with its symmetrical lamp cups, all its accessories, and the olive oil for lighting; the gold altar; the anointing oil and fragrant incense; the curtain for the entrance of the sacred tent; the bronze altar; the bronze grating and its carrying poles and utensils; the washbasin with its stand; the curtains for the walls of the courtyard; the posts and their bases; the curtain for the entrance to the courtyard; the ropes and tent pegs; all the furnishings to be used in worship at the Tabernacle; the beautifully stitched garments for the priests to wear while ministering in the Holy Place—the sacred garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments for his sons to wear as they minister as priests. (Ex 39:34-41)
Then, Moses inspected all of their work, found to be just as God had instructed him and he blessed them.
Here are some takeaways for me:
God has gifted someone to be your craftsman.
Who around you can you call upon to help with the vision God has given you? In the case of this story, the person who led the charge was the grandson of Hur – so Moses was already connected to them. They were part of the story. It may be someone right around you!
God is a God of the big pictures and the details.
Sometimes I have found myself to believe details are less – it’s the vision that really matters. In fact, I may have at times even said, I’m a big picture person. And to some extent it’s true. God does wire us up differently – some to see the whole thing, others to see the small things. What I like about this passage is to see that God is the God of both! God sees a grander vision than we can ever imagine seeing and he hands it over to Moses, at least in regards to the vision of building a tabernacle. But then God launches into the tiniest nuance of detail about how it is to be built. It’s amazing! Both the vision and the details are important and it takes the whole assembly to work together to accomplish what God calls them to do.
Faithfulness doesn’t always mean to do it yourself.
Being faithful doesn’t mean getting in there and doing it all yourself. Sometimes, being faithful means that you have done the work of including others in the vision. God calls ministry leaders to share the vision and share it often. Then help shepherd others to help carry it out. You can look at it this way – if it’s possible to carry the vision out on your own, it’s too small and may not be God’s vision at all.
God will give us names of people to invite in.
We can’t know who God is preparing for a particular task, but he knows! Through prayer, conversation and communion with God, we’re able to begin to see who needs to lead. God will direct our conversation and provide the courage to invite others to serve in the vision. Pray boldly, asking God to give you the names of the people who you need to ask. Then, ask confidently and generously invite them to be a part!
We must allow (and empower, help, pave the way for) those around to help carry out the vision God has given us.
I like the end of the book. The tabernacle truly became the center of the community. God’s presence would rest over the tabernacle with a cloud by day and fire by night. When God’s presence stayed still, they stayed right there. When it moved, the whole nation packed up the tabernacle and followed God’s presence.
It was God’s vision to be able to be in the center of the nation through the tabernacle. And through Moses, then through others, it came to be built. God’s vision, once just an idea, came to be because God’s people put it into action.
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