I almost missed it. And then…staring me right in the face is the beautiful, hope-filled truth God gives in Exodus Thirty Five.
He spends months laying out elaborate plans for how and where Moses and the Israelites are supposed to worship. He describes every detail, down to the colors of thread, types of wood and the exact images to be hammered into carvings of gold. Every elaborate detail.
When Moses returns (a second time) from the mountain, he brings God’s master plan to the Israelites and announces, “All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the Lord has commanded…” And every detailed duty involved things and talents they already possessed.
So here’s the question. Where did their things and talents come from?
They came from horrific years spent in slavery…where Pharaoh killed their infant sons, crushed their spirits with hard labor, and showed them no pity.
Their time in slavery prepared them perfectly for God’s calling. And not just with emotional strength and spiritual fortitude…but actual possessions, skills, and talents they would need in order to construct God’s temple in the wilderness. As slaves, they built entire cities and learned great craftsmanship. They grew crops, tended cattle and made textiles.
It was in their time of greatest crisis that they accumulated things and cultivated talents vital to carrying out God’s purpose for them.
God, help me to embrace life’s valleys – times of crisis – as your divine education. Keep my eyes always looking forward. Always forward in hope and never down in despair. Remind me that every single thing you allow into my life is purposeful – however awful – to make me ready to respond to your call. To fulfill your purpose. To make my worship sweeter and to draw me closer to you.