Exodus Chapter 31

At this point in the book of Exodus, the Lord has given instruction, or commandments, to Moses regarding the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness. This was to be their mobile temple, where sacred ordinances and covenants would be made and performed to the Lord. Priests had been called to serve in the temple, who were Aaron and his sons. The instruction to Moses continues as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:
3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
4 To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,
5 And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship.
6 And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee;
7 The tabernacle of the congregation, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is thereupon, and all the furniture of the tabernacle,
8 And the table and his furniture, and the pure candlestick with all his furniture, and the altar of incense,
9 And the altar of burnt offering with all his furniture, and the laver and his foot,
10 And the cloths of service, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest’s office,
11 And the anointing oil, and sweet incense for the holy place: according to all that I have commanded thee shall they do.

A man named Bezaleel, had been given gifts or talents by the Lord, which would be useful for the building of the tabernacle. He was good in the art of metals and woods, which were needed for the structure of the tabernacle, as well as the things which would furnish it. Also, a man named Aholiab would be able to help. The Lord tells Moses that all those who have received gifts of the Lord, in wisdom, would be able to help him with building the tabernacle. I love that we learn how men from different tribes would be able to help build the temple and make the sacred clothing, showing that the work was to be shared among them and that the Lord had blessed many with the ability to make beautiful things and give service to build this wonderful witness of their devotion to the Lord.

We learned about gifts of the spirit in Sunday School this week. In 1 Corinthians 12 we read the following:

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

Gifts of the spirit and talents are given to all who are worthy of the spirit and as a body of faithful people in the church, we are given these gifts to help all progress and further the work of the Lord. The children of Israel were no exception to this. They were given many gifts, to bless all with a beautiful tabernacle where they could worship and serve the Lord. When first given a calling from the Lord, I look at how unqualified I am to perform in it, and yet when I look back after moving on, I can see how the Lord has always blessed me with some gift to be able to do that work. I may never have that gift again, but for that time I am just what the Lord needs because of the person he helps me to be.

12 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.
14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.
17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.

Again, the Lord commands the Israelites to keep the Sabbath day holy. The sabbath was provided to sanctify the people of the Lord. It was so important, that those who did not keep it holy, were to be put to death. Even worse, the Lord promises that those who break the sabbath, would be cut off from his people leading to an even greater death of the spirit. The Lord establishes the Sabbath as a day of rest, free from the common labor of the rest of the week. The keeping of the Sabbath, was a covenant with the Lord. We are reminded here, that our weekly Sabbath is as the seventh day in the creation, when the Lord rested from his labors. I love that it says that the Lord was refreshed, because one of the greatest things for me about the Sabbath, is that I feel refreshed and renewed for my week ahead. The strength that comes from keeping the Sabbath day holy, is a blessing I cannot do without in my life.

The more I study the scriptures, the more I am noticing just how often we are reminded to keep the Sabbath day holy. This is clearly an important commandment and covenant with the Lord. I think that part of the reason for its repetition, is that this is one of the easiest ways for Satan to slip his way into our hearts. People fall away from the gospel so quickly by just creating one simple habit on the Sabbath that is not in line with what God would have us do. Then it becomes increasingly easier to add more to the Sabbath and before we know it, we are no longer attending church, renewing our covenants, or worshipping the Lord at all. The Sabbath can quickly become a day of recreation instead of a day of rest unto the Lord. As followers of the Lord, we cannot afford to rationalize things that cause us to break this commandment. Whatever our circumstances may be, we need to follow the guidance of the spirit and learn for ourselves how we can keep this day, a holy day of rest.

18 And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

Then the Lord gave Moses the stone tablets which are so often portrayed in representation of the ten commandments from the Lord. On these tablets, the Lord wrote His words for the Israelites. We do not have the two tablets of stone to look at as a reminder, but we do have the law of God from the scriptures which we can reference often. Today, we are to keep these commandments written in our hearts rather than on tablets. In 2 Corinthians 3:3 we read, “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.” If we have the commandments symbolically written in our hearts, we will live them day to day and they will become part of our personal character. Then, we will become like God as we draw nearer to Him.

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I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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