Just Try

Exodus 31:1-11
1The Lord said to Moses, 2“See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, 4to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, 5in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. 6And 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: 7the tent of meeting, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is on it, and all the furnishings of the tent, 8the table and its utensils, and the pure lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, 9and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin and its stand, 10and the finely worked garments, the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, for their service as priests, 11and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense for the Holy Place. According to all that I have commanded you, they shall do.”

During the holiday season I needed to devise a devotional tool for our Legacy kids to use during Advent. I do not consider myself particularly creative but every year I need a project that will assist the families in having Advent devotions leading up to Christmas. This requires some creative juice and I generally feel almost desperate for ideas. This year was no different. I was rather intrigued by the idea of a set of dice that would be rolled and lead to a devotional idea, activity, reading, or prayer. After that idea came, the project lay stagnant for several weeks. I couldn’t figure the rest out by myself. (Truth is I can never do anything by myself – time to disabuse myself of that concept forever!) Finally, I thought that it would be cool if one of the dice contained books of the Bible and the other contained chapter and verse references. Well, that’s a nice thought but how could 5 different books correspond to 5 different readings with all of them being worthy of reading during family devotions. I was stuck again. The deadline for the project was approaching and so I went before the Lord and asked Him for help. I lamented the foolhardy idea and lifted up my conundrum to God. What would I do? Time was running out and I was quickly going to be left without a project for the kids. As I asked God how to make this work I believe I heard Him say “Just try.” (God is usually very brief in His instructions to me.) So, I sat down and worked through the first set of readings. Choosing the Bible books was fairly easy; picking five references was going to take some research. Amazingly the first one came together in just a couple of minutes. Within 30 minutes I had five references to go along with my five books. I was stunned by the simplicity of it all. When the party arrived, I had an easily completed project for the family to work on together. And I was rewarded throughout the Advent season with reports from the families that they were faithfully doing their Advent devotions every day, rolling their dice to see what they would read that day. God told me to “just try” and He then provided everything needed to make the project work for the families. Sometimes ministry work is a great deal of fun.

In our reading for today we find that God is going to gift the artisans with the skills they need to complete His elaborate instructions for the Tabernacle and its furnishings. These were a people who were very recently simple slaves who spent their lives making bricks and doing hard labor for the Egyptians. Now God expects them to design and build some very amazing and beautiful furniture for His house. Where would they get the skill? They received that skill from the Holy Spirit.

We worship the same God who provided those skills for the Children of Israel. He never asks us for something that He Himself won’t provide for us. We are used to thinking of God as our provider for food, shelter, clothing, and safety. How often do we think of Him providing the creative juice we need to make the beautiful things in life? Those songs that we lift before the Lord in worship come from the Holy Spirit through the songwriters. Those amazing altar dressings come from the hands of embroiderers who are gifted by God to create such beauty. Even the sermons (hopefully) come from the mind and heart of a man who is listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit as he writes those messages. Just as God provided the Holy Spirit for the people who worked on His Tabernacle, so He still provides for us today. It’s a wonderful thing to ponder and maybe next time I’ll ask Him for that help a little sooner!