A funny thing happened on the way to Deuteronomy. Halfway there, “All the skilled women spun with their hands…all the women whose heart stirred with a skill spun the goats’ hair” (Exodus 35:25, 26) caught my eye. I was impressed. I read on.
Moses, leading the Israelites out of Egypt to the promised land, gathers the people to give them God’s command: “Take from among you a contribution of precious materials to the LORD, whoever is willing.”
Why? What is God doing? He is commissioning His people to build and supply the tabernacle, a tent for His dwelling among them and the place for His people to meet Him.
Everyone went home to search their souls and their tents. Then, “everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the LORD’s contribution for the work of the tent of meeting and for all its service and for the holy garments” (v. 21). They returned with gold jewelry, exotic fabrics and skins, rare oils and spices, and precious stones.
But giving was only the beginning. These precious materials were distributed to skilled men and women. Here, “skilled” literally means wise of heart and “heart stirred with a skill” literally means lifted them up in wisdom.
Doesn’t their example beckon you? Out of a stirred spirit and a moved heart you, too, may bring a precious gift to the same LORD, for His service. But bringing Him this gift is only the beginning. You are also invited to develop it by a wise heart. And not only you: just as Israelites worked together on projects, so you gather with like minded writers; and just as the Israelites were taught by Bezalel and Oholiab in the arts, so you may teach and be taught your craft. As your heart is “stirred with a skill” you will also find you are lifted in wisdom. Not for your glory but for the glory of your God, who brought you out of slavery and set you free.
What skill has the Lord entrusted to you?
What would it look like to bring it to him?
How could you take it in hand and develop it?
Whom could you teach and whom could you learn from?
Does the cost kindle fear?
If yes, that original destination in Deuteronomy—Moses’ last counsel to all Israel—can quench it: “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at [the nations], for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you…the LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed” (31:6,8).