Living the Effective Life
Exodus 35:29 to 36:7
March 16-17, 2019
If you were to name people who have lived an effective life, who would you name? I think when we think about our modern era, most people in thinking about the Christian world would immediately think Billy Graham, or Chuck Smith in the Calvary Chapel circle, or Greg Laurie, perhaps Luis Palau, someone in our own community who has made an impact in the world; or James Dobson, or going back a bit further, maybe Corrie ten Boom, or Charles Spurgeon.
I tell you, there are many others who have lived an effective life and you have never heard of them. I suggest that they are famous in heaven, for they have lived an effective life. When you think about effective people in the Bible, who comes to mind? We think Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua comes to mind, David, Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Elijah, Elisha.
What about those who aren’t so famous? Have you ever heard of Bezalel or Oholiab? You’ve never heard of them, but you will hear them today because without question, they have lived the effective life. What makes them effective?
The distinction between the world’s perspective and God’s definition are very different things. God’s definition comes from a spiritual perspective, because God made a soul and spirit, therefore, the effective life comes from our spiritual life, our spiritual bearing. The definition of being effective means to accomplish a goal or a purpose, but to be spiritually effective, it means something very different. It means you fulfill God’s purpose in your life.
God wants you to have meaning and purpose to your life. He wants your life to have value. He wants you to live for that which is higher and greater. He wants you to have meaning and significance to make an impact on the people in your life. The effective life is a fulfilling life because you are fulfilling God’s purpose.
Really, it comes to the question of, what is the meaning of life? Is it to get up in the morning, go to work, come home, eat some dinner, go to bed, get up, go to work, come home, eat some dinner, go to bed, and just to repeat the same thing every day? Is there not more to life than that? I suggest to you that there is, and it comes from God’s purpose; the significance that God puts in our lives. We want to have an effective life to His glory.
I. God Calls You to His Purpose
What we see in these verses, these are the principles that God gives us out of these verses, for those who seek to live the effective life. These men, Bezalel and Oholiab, they become examples for anyone who seeks to live an effective life to God’s purpose.
Here’s the background to the story. When God met Moses on Mount Sinai, He gave him the laws and the commandments as we know, but He gave him more. He also gave him detailed instructions for how to build the tabernacle. The tabernacle would be that place where God’s presence will dwell among them, the Shekinah glory of God will be evident. It’s a fulfilling of that promise. “My presence will go with you,” God said to Moses and to the people of Israel, “And I will give you rest.”
Moses knew the significance of that, so much so that he said to God, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not take us from this place.” God is fulfilling that in the giving of the tabernacle; the Shekinah glory of God would dwell there, and then it would lead to, eventually, the temple in Jerusalem. God gives these detailed instructions.
What’s interesting is that every aspect of this tabernacle is a shadow of the very throne room of God in heaven. It is a picture. There are so many symbols of the Son of God, of Jesus Christ, who has made relationship possible. These are the verses where He gives this calling. He calls out these men, desiring to use them in the craftsmanship of the tabernacle, and He calls them by name. These are Bezalel and Oholiab.
They’re not famous in the annals of biblical history, but they are effective in fulfilling God’s purpose, and examples to anyone who wants to be effective in the name of the LORD. Let’s read it. We’re going to start in Exodus 35, and we’ll begin in verse 29.
“The Israelites, all the men and women whose heart moved them.” Now, that’s a phrase that you really want to capture, because we’re going to see this theme develop. “All the men and women of Israel whose heart move them to bring material for the work.” God had put forward this request, “Bring forward these items, we’re going to use them for the tabernacle.” The LORD asked that they bring this freewill offering.
“Moses said to the sons of Israel, “Now, also, see, the LORD has called by name Bezalel the son of you Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. He has filled him with the Spirit of God, and in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all craftsmanship to make designs for working in gold, and silver, and bronze, and in the cutting of stones for the settings and the carving of the wood, so as to perform every inventive work. He had, also, put it in His heart to teach both he and Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.”
“He has filled them with skill.” That is a great phrase, “He has filled them with skill to perform every work of an engraver, of a designer, of an embroiderer in blue, and purple, and scarlet material, in fine linen of a weaver, as performers of every work and makers of designs.”
Chapter 36:1, “Now, Bezalel and Oholiab, and every skillful person in whom the LORD has put skill.” I love that phrase right there. Any skill that anyone has, God gave them that skill. He said, “Now, Bezalel, Oholiab, every skillful person in whom the LORD has put skill and understanding to know how to perform all the work of the construction of the sanctuary, shall perform in accordance with all that the LORD has commanded.”
“Then Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab, and every skillful person in whom the LORD has put skill.” Do you see a theme developing here? Everyone whose heart stirred him to come to the work, to perform it, and then they receive from Moses all the contributions which the sons of Israel had brought to perform the work in the construction of the sanctuary.
They continue bringing to him freewill offerings every morning. All the skillful people who were performing all the work of the sanctuary, they came, each from the work which he was performing. Then it got to this point where they came to Moses and said they this. Listen to these words, because this is frankly amazing.
He says, “The people are bringing much more than enough,” which is to say, “We have way more than we need.” The people are that generous. “We have so much. They’re bringing much more than enough for the construction work which the LORD commanded us to perform.”
Moses had to issue a command. He had to give a proclamation that was circulated throughout the camp. He said, “Let neither man nor woman any longer perform the work of contributions of the sanctuary.” In other words, “Stop taking these offerings,” thus the people were restrained. They were restrained. “Enough people. Enough.” Don’t you just love that? Don’t you just love that?
That is an amazing perspective to think that the people’s hearts stirred them so much that they had to be restrained. “That’s enough. That’s enough.” The material they had was sufficient and more than enough for all the work to perform it.
These are the verses, great principles, starting with this one, that, “God calls you to His purpose.” God is the one that brings meaning and significance, and God calls you to His purpose. He specifically called Bezalel and Oholiab by name, for the purpose for which He called them. The question is, is that something that God did then and no longer does? Does God give a call and a purpose, and call by name? I suggest that he does.
In fact, one of the great examples is Jeremiah 1:5, where he says to this young man, Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb,” which is a great phrase in itself, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you. I have appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” He called him, before he was even born, to his purpose.
A. God calls you to relationship first
Here is a very important principle that we must see. Yes, God calls, God gives purpose, but God calls you to relationship first. The meaning of the word call is just what it sounds like; literally, someone calling out, someone calling your name. When I think of that, I think of Jesus in the Book of Revelation 3:20, where he says, “Behold, I stand at the door and I knock.” What a picture of God pursuing relationship?
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice,” which suggests that God is calling. He’s calling out, the Holy Spirit touching hearts, “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him, I will dine with him and he with Me.”
There’s that picture of relationship, eating together. We get that here at Calvary Chapel. Eating together is a very significant part of life and ministry, but the Jews understood it on a deeper level. It meant oneness, because the same bread that feeds you feeds me, and we become one in fellowship. It’s a picture of God and that relationship. He calls first. Yes, God gives calling, God gives purpose, but to relationship, first.
One of the examples has to be that of David. Young David was called and anointed to become the next king of Israel when he was a young man. I suggest to you that long before that day, when the Prophet Samuel appeared at the house of Jesse with the anointing oil and the command of God to anoint the next king of Israel, long before that day, David had a relationship to the LORD. Now, there’s David, young man out there with his sheep, and he his harp, we know he was skilled on the harp, and he’s singing and he’s writing these Psalms.
Now, do you think that it entered David’s mind, that David maybe, perhaps, said to himself, “These Psalms are good. These, one day, are going to be read over the world and people will write songs of them. I’m telling you, these Psalms are good. I should get a publisher. I mean it’s that good. I need a publisher. I’m going to be famous one day”?
I submit, that was not what David was thinking. When he wrote those Psalms and he sang them on his harp to the LORD, he did it because of his heart for the LORD. Just simple relationship. It’s beautiful. God called him. God called him with a purpose, “One day, you will be king of Israel.” But long before that, there was David singing, worshiping.
One of the Psalms that I love, I love a lot of David’s Psalms, but one of them, perhaps one of my favorites, is Psalm 27. In fact, Psalms 27:4 is very special, meaningful to me. It was that verse, those words by which God just put it on my heart to become a pastor.
What had happened was this, I was a young man and I would go to church by myself when I was young. I would get there early to church. I loved-- I don’t know. Maybe I’m strange, but I loved the smell, I loved the smell of the sanctuary. I loved just being there. I loved. I’d get there early and they would always have worship playing, and to me, it was just a time of meeting God.
I would just sit there and open my Bible. One day, I’m sitting there and reading Psalms 27, and those words, those words jump out of the page. Listen to his heart, “One thing I have asked from the LORD, and that I shall seek,” David wrote, “That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to meditate in His temple.” That’s relationship. That’s an understanding of what it means to be near.
See, the first part of having an effective spiritual life is to have a personal, spiritual, devotional, intimate relationship with God. We need that. All of us need that. We need to draw nearer to the LORD in relationship to him. That’s the beginning. That’s the foundation. You want meaning, you want significance, you want purpose? It starts with that.
B. God empowers his purpose in your life
Recognize this, also, that God then gives calling, purpose, and meaning, and that God empowers His purpose in your life. It says God promised to fill Bezalel with the Spirit of God so that he could do what he was called to do. The Spirit of God is the presence of God, and it is the power of God to accomplish the purpose of God. See, the Spirit of God is the presence of God and the power of God to accomplish the purpose of God.
I’ve been to many Calvary Chapel pastor’s conferences over the years, and I’ll tell you there is a theme that I have heard over, and over, and over. That theme is this, “Where God guides, God provides.” God, in fact, will empower His purpose in your life.
One of the great examples of this has to be out of the history of Israel, much later than what we’re reading here, when Israel was taken captive and exiled into Babylon those 70 years, at the end of which they were instructed to return, go back to Israel, to Jerusalem, rebuild the city and rebuild the temple. He called Zerubbabel to be the governor to oversee the rebuilding of the city and the temple.
When they arrived in Jerusalem, they became very discouraged and downtrodden, because what they saw was the city of Jerusalem lying in a mountain of rubble. They became greatly discouraged. They had a calling, they had a purpose, they were told to rebuild the city and rebuild the temple, and here was a mountain of rubble.
God sent a word through the Prophet Zechariah, and these words have now become famous to us because of the significance of what it says. This word came. “This is the Word of the LORD to Zerubbabel.” It says this. “It’s not by might, it’s not by power, it’s by my Spirit,” says the LORD of hosts.
That phrase, by the way, “LORD of hosts” is a specific word, it means LORD of the host of heaven, which is as a captain of the armies of heaven, the power of God is seen in that work. “It’s not by your might, it’s not by your power, it’s by My Spirit,” says the LORD of hosts. Then He adds, “What are you, O great mountain?” He’s talking about this mountain, this pile of rubble, talk about obstacles standing in the way. “What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel, you will become a plain, and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of, “Grace, grace to it.””
It will be God’s grace that does it. Listen to this phrase. I love this phrase. “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house, and his hands will finish it.”
C. You have a gift - to use for God’s glory
Do not despise the day of small beginnings, God will do it. “It is not by your might, and it’s not by your power, it’s by My Spirit,” says the LORD of hosts. The Spirit of God is given that you would receive power to accomplish His purpose. Here’s the point that we need to apply to our lives; you have a gift to use for God’s glory.
Now, sometimes when someone does something amazing, someone will say to that person, “Wow you are gifted,” or they’ll say about that person, “Oh, he has a gift.” That’s an interesting phrase, don’t you think? “Oh, he has a gift.” Where do we get that phrase? It really, actually, comes from the idea, “Hey, God gives gifts.” Whatever gifts you have, God gave them to you. Whatever skills you have, God gave them to you.
Notice James 1:17. “Every good thing and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” Which is why in this Exodus section, in fact, Exodus 31, he says it this way, “In the hearts of all who are skillful, I have put that skill.” I love that phrase. It helps us to understand. “In the hearts of all who are skillful, I have put that skill that they may make all that I have commanded.”
I was trying to think of an illustration about that. I was thinking of a famous painter, and he had a television show on PBS. You might remember Bob Ross. Bob Ross was famous because he would have this television show, and he could do an entire beautiful piece of artwork in like 30 minutes while instructing the television audience just how simple it is. “We just put some happy trees over here, and then the sky just begins to breathe all on its own.” It’s like, “That’s not easy.”
Here’s the thing, God is the greatest artist of all, and every artist is made in the image of God. God gave every artist his gift, his skill; the question is whether he uses
it for God’s glory. By the way, at the end of every episode of Bob Ross’ program, he would conclude by saying, “God bless you.”
Can you imagine the music of heaven? Just imagine for a moment. We know there’s music in heaven. Can you just imagine with me what the music of heaven will be like? I suggest to you that the music of heaven is the greatest music of all, and that every musician has that gift because he’s made in the image of God. The question is whether he uses that gift for the glory of God.
One of the greatest composers of all time has to be Johann Sebastian Bach. At the end of every one of his compositions that he composed, he would put a phrase, and that phrase was Soli Deo gloria, only to the glory of God, “I have composed this for one reason, only for the glory of God.”
Now, someone might say, “I am no Johann Sebastian Bach, I am no Bob Ross. There is nothing special about me that God can use.” I have found that God uses all of the humble and simple things that we’ve done to prepare us for what lies ahead for God’s purpose, God’s calling. God uses all the simple and humble things.
My first real job other than picking berries and working on the farm, my first job where I got a paycheck was being a janitor, a custodian. Little did I know that God was actually preparing me for ministry in giving me a job as a janitor, because one day, I would need that skill. If you’re going to plant a church, it’s a great skill to be able to mop floors. I hope you don’t mind if I do a little bit of bragging. I’m good at mopping floors. [laughter]
I was thinking about maybe making some YouTube instructional videos. I think they could go viral. I got the technique. It’s all about making easy motions. I’m telling you, I’m good. I’m good at doing toilets. I tell you what, I cleaned the entire school, every toilet in that school in one hour and 15 minutes, people.
I’m thinking about doing a YouTube video on how -- and this is going viral -- how to do toilets to God’s glory.
Then I started working in a restaurant. I learned to wash dishes, learned to cook, serve, how to manage others, how to do a business. God used all of those things. God was preparing. Can you hold a baby? God can use your anointed hands. Can you teach a child? God can use your anointed words. Can you swing a hammer? God can use your anointed strength. Can you clean? Can you cook? It’s all worship. It’s all worship.
Romans 12:1, “Therefore, I urge you brethren, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”
II. God Will Make You Effective
Here’s what we see, going back to Exodus 35 and 36, God will make you effective. You want to have meaning, want to have purpose? God makes you effective. God said He would fill these men with the Spirit of God. He would fill them with wisdom, understanding, knowledge, craftsmanship. God gives that gift. God makes you effective. God will make you effective in His calling in your life, but you got to see this out of these chapters. It’s so key to see this.
A. Let your heart move you
Let your heart move you. This is the theme. Verse 21, 22, 26, 29, we can go to chapter 36, and it’s repeated over and over. It says this, “And everyone whose heart stirred him, everyone whose spirit moved him, came.” I love that phrase. God called Bezalel and Oholiab, and they came, “Here am I. Here I am.” Their hearts were stirred, they made themselves available.
See, God gives the ability, whether it’s special gifting -- the Holy Spirit can give special gifting -- or whether it is the anointing of the gifts that you were born with. God gave those to you, too, but you must make yourself available. You must move when your heart is stirred.
Now, it’s important to recognize that God does not give every person every ability. God does not do that. He does not do that for a reason. For example, I’m available to become a professional golfer. I’m available, but the thing is, even if my heart stirred me, I don’t have the ability. I couldn’t do it.
Once, I had an amazing opportunity to golf with a famous professional on Tour golfer. It’s just an amazing set of circumstances that the LORD constructed that I ended up golfing with Bob Gilder. It was completely unplanned, unexpected, and just surprised me with this amazing opportunity.
Here I’m golfing 18 holes with a professional Tour golfer, Bob Gilder is his name, a Christian. We’re golfing, and he’s explaining to me, “I love to golf. God gave me a gift. I’m good enough to be a Tour player, but the way I see it is this. These golfers on Tour, they need Christ, and God uses me to touch them. At every tournament that I go to, the night before, we have an invitation sent out to all the golfers to come to a Bible study that I lead.” I’m thinking, “That’s amazing.” God uses that gift.
We’re golfing, and I hit this one shot, this one shot, and it went right down the center of the fairway. It was beautiful. It was singing to the birds as it was flying through the air.
I turned to Bob Gilder and I said, “What do you think? Do I have potential?” He looked at me very flatly and said, “Don’t quit your day job.”
Yes, right, because I don’t have that gift. Here’s the thing; God gives different gifts and abilities so that everyone can contribute something.
God gives different gifts, everyone can contribute something, and everyone is of equal value. See, the problem for most people is not ability because God has placed ability in their lives, the problem is not ability, the problem is availability because they don’t move when their heart is stirred.
Perhaps that’s because people see doing something for God as an obligation. They don’t like to do things out of obligation. God says, “You know what? Then don’t do it. You’re right. Don’t do it. I don’t want you to do it. If you think it’s an obligation, don’t do it.”
It’s like a husband who decides he’s going to bring flowers on Valentine’s Day because somebody put Valentine’s Day on the calendar, so, “I guess that’s the day you bring flowers.” He goes to the store and he gets these flowers, and he brings them home and he sets them down on the counter, “There’s your flowers. It’s Valentine’s Day.”
I suggest to you, that’s not going to have an impact. Actually, it is going to have an impact, just not the one you want because there’s a big difference between obligation and opportunity.
See, if your heart is stirred and you do it because your heart is stirred, that’s a whole different thing. That’s a whole different thing. That’s what God is saying, “If you think it’s an obligation, don’t do it. I don’t want you to do it. I really don’t want you to do it.”
2 Corinthians 9:7, “Let each one do as he has purposed in his heart to do, but not grudgingly, not under compulsion. God loves a cheerful giver.” Literally, God loves a hilarious, happy giver. It’s like this. You can always tell someone who is actually servant-hearted. You can always tell. It’s easy.
B. Stay in the shadow of the Almighty
Servant-hearted people actually love to serve. I love it. “Can you do this? Would you mind doing that?” “Sure. I love it. Yes, I would love doing that.” That’s a servant heart. That’s how you know. If someone said, “Hey. Would you do that?” “Okay. What?” “Actually, no. No thanks. Don’t do it. I don’t want you doing it.” God wants you to do it because you love doing it. “I want to do that.” “Well, it’s inconvenient.” “I don’t care. I want to do this. I want to do it for the LORD,” because there is something to recognize, that God gives value, and purpose, and meaning.
Lastly, and we’ll end with this, great principle, “Stay in the shadow of the Almighty.” Where did we get that? The name Bezalel means in the shadow of the Almighty; Bez’-a-lel. That’s a great name, in the shadow of the Almighty. It means to stay close, to stay near, to rely on the covering, the protection and the help that comes from abiding in the shadow of the Almighty. We get that phrase out of Psalm 91:1. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.”
Abide is the keyword there. It’s not he who visits the shadow of the Almighty. He who dwells. He who abides. The shadow is the nearest, the closest. It is an important principle. God makes us effective. God empowers. God gives purpose. God gives calling.
Your meaning and significance comes from that, but it begins with abiding in the shadow of the Almighty, because there your heart is filled, there your soul is made alive. There is where purpose comes from. There is where meaning and significance comes from, and that is where your heart gets stirred. There is where your heart moves. Then you say, “I want the glory to Your name. I want. I want to do something that blesses You, LORD.”
Father, thank you so much. You are amazing. Show us Your heart. Out of Your Word You poured out Your Spirit of life. LORD, I pray for every person in this room this morning, that we would respond. You have poured out Your Spirit on Your church. You have stirred up Your church. You have moved upon our hearts. I pray for everyone in this place this morning, that we would respond to You.
Church, if you, this morning would say to the LORD, and I’m going to ask that you would say this to the LORD by raising your hand. If you would say to the LORD, “I want my life to matter. I want it to count for something that is to Your glory. I want to bless You, LORD. You have moved me. You have stirred me, and I say to You, here I am. Here am I, LORD. Here am I. Use me for Your glory. I want to. I want to.” Just raise your hand to the LORD. Just say that to the LORD by raising your hand. “God, I want to. It’s me. It’s my heart. I want to. It blesses me. I want to.”
Father, thank you for everyone who’s moved by the spirit, touched by the Living God. Pour out your Spirit of life upon this church. Bring a revival to us, but LORD, let it begin in the shadow of the Almighty. Help us to know what it means to abide in that place of nearness to our God. Help us to abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
We love You, we honor You, and thank You, in Jesus’ powerful name, and everyone said--
Can we give the LORD praise, and honor, and glory. Amen.
We’re going to worship the LORD. Worship is a gift that you give to the LORD in return for all that He has done. It’s a way of saying, “I love you, LORD. I thank You, and I want to give this heart.” It’s like giving flowers. “I want to give this heart. I want to say something. Here I am to worship.”
Before we do that, I want to just give you an invitation. If you have never received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, isn’t that the beginning? That’s the beginning of a relationship of eternity. He invites you. He is standing at the door and calling your name. If you would receive him today, here’s what I’m going to ask that you would do. I’m going to ask that you, when we stand up here in just a moment to worship, I’m going to ask that you would slip out of your seat, and that you would make your way to the prayer room and I’ll meet you there. I want to just pray with you this morning.
Let’s agree together for what God is doing in your life. Let’s all stand together. Let’s worship the LORD. If you would like to meet me at the prayer room, just slip out of your seat and be right here. Let’s the worship the LORD.