Saturday, January 09, 2016

Whose Creativity Is It Anyway? Maybe President Obama wasn't all wrong when he said, "You didn't build that!"


Imagine Your Natural Inclinations and Skills Being Augmented by the Holy Spirit's Wisdom

Exodus 31:1-11: Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship. And behold, I Myself have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill, that they may make all that I have commanded you: . . .” [And then God lists all the things that He had given instructions for in the previous chapters.]
In this chapter God shows us that He knows more about us than one would imagine. First of all, He knows my name (“See, I have called by name Bezalel”). This is the first time we hear this name for this man wasn’t a leader like Moses or Aaron or the patriarchs before them – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But he was very important to God. The Hebrew word for his name is translated as “in the shadow (i.e. protection) of God”. God had a special role for him to play in His plans. And that is the case for all of us who are willing to serve Him – we all have significance in God’s plan of the ages if we’re willing to seek it and acknowledge it when we find it. And as we prepare to play that role and actually perform it, God will keep us in His shadow; He will protect us, enabling us to fulfill that role He has for us.
Secondly, God knows our history. He knows who our parents were and who our grandparents were (“the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah”). Our unique history and experiences as children and young adults play a considerable role in what it is that God is preparing us to do. He watches us develop and He brings into our lives experiences that will be used by Him for His purposes later on. In my case it was crossing the ocean as a five year old to a new life in a new continent which enabled me to speak two languages and better understand the circumstances of immigrants in a new country; an understanding of what it means for a family to convert from a national religious faith to a one with a personal relationship with Christ – understandings that God has used time and time again through my life, for His purposes.
Bezalel was chosen and called by God for a specific purpose. And when God does that for someone, He then sees to it that He equips the individual for the job he/she was selected for, as indicated in the main part of this small passage (or pericope: /pəˈrɪkəpiː/; Greek περικοπή, "a cutting-out" in rhetoric is a set of verses that forms one coherent unit or thought, suitable for public reading from a text, now usually of sacred scripture). God said of Bezalel, I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, to make artistic designs. . .”.
It is God that gives us the very essence of who we are that makes us distinct. He shares with us a measure of His own Spirit with respect to wisdom. He gives us a measure of understanding that allows us to operate in the world and relate with both nature and mankind. He imparts to us the very knowledge that we will need in our unique lives. All the thought processes I am using today to write what you are reading are accessible to me because God has put them there. Your specific reaction to what you are reading is possible because God has wired you to respond mentally in a specific way to ideas and other stimuli that you come across.
And then God fills us with abilities that allow us to accomplish work during our lives. These are not always apparent at birth but God sees to it that we develop the physical capabilities of doing things that not everyone can do. And He arranges for us to have experiences that further that development until we become skilled at our craft. God does that for us “that we may work”. We were created to work in this life, to be useful to ourselves, to others, and to God – preferably in the reverse order. A person who is physically and/or mentally capable of work and does not is missing out on the fulfillment of his/her purpose as God intended it. As such, life will not be as rewarding for them.
And this passage also contains, for me at least, an indication God has created us in such a way that we can take what He has filled us with and apply it broadly in His service within our specialty. The text says, “that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship.” There is inherent in those words a meaning of flexibility and transference. God says, “I’ve given you these skills, now go and use them there.” And ‘there’ may be at a different organization, or it may involve a move across the country, or a commitment to serve on the mission field, or a willingness to keep on using that skill you have after you retire, for the Kingdom of God.
The next key component of God’s knowledge about Bezalel is that God knew and understood that given the size of task He wanted accomplished, Bezalel would need help. So God Himself appointed individuals who would help Bezalel, namely Oholiab among others, people who had a passion for this craft, and the text says God put “skill” in them to satisfy that desire. And the one God names is actually from a totally different tribe than Bezalel. God very clearly wants His people working together for His Kingdom and glory.
We cannot move too quickly past the point of the text that appears to say God filled people with something (skills) that they were already predisposed to in their hearts. While the NASB says God put skill in their hearts, it admits in the margin that literally that word should be “wisdom”. Most other versions rely on that translation of the word NASB translates as “skill” here. So, basically, those that were created with the potential of a skill, and then have that potential developed in practice as part of one’s career or work, God may choose to give them wisdom through the Holy Spirit to augment it. In particular, with this wisdom of God’s, we can both further develop and more importantly, better employ that skill in the service of the Lord. And God Himself says, we are blessed in this way in order “to make all that (God) commanded”.
What I like about NASB’s approach is that it seems to reflect the “blessing” and furthering of the skill that is what God puts in us, with His foreknowledge that we would use it for His purposes and commands.
The current president of the United States who seemed to become well known for his phrase “You didn’t build that!” may have been right after all, but he was wrong in attributing one’s success to the government’s help.  It’s clear from this text that for the believer involved in his Lord’s work, the blessing of skill is a direct gift of God’s to His servants by an actual decision of His. When we move away from that thinking, we lose the Holy Spirit’s involvement in our work, we lose our wisdom from above, and we often also lose our skill.


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Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

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