How to Live the Effective Life
Exodus 35:29 to 36:7
July 16-17, 2022
When you think of people that have lived an effective life, who comes to your mind? I think for example in the Christian world, I think many would say of course Billy Graham, Chuck Smith in the Cavalry Chapel movement, Louis Palau local, perhaps James Dobson. Going back further in history, maybe people might say someone like Corrie ten Boom or Charles Spurgeon who was like a prince of preachers, but there are others.
I submit that there are others who have lived a very effective life and you probably never heard of them, but I submit that they are famous in heaven, for God makes people effective to His glory and He gives them recognition. He knows who they are. Now when you think of effective people in the Bible, right away we think of people like Moses, or Joshua, or David, there's Daniel, Ezekiel, perhaps the prophets, Elijah. These are names that come right to mind when you think of effective people who lived their lives.
I. God Calls You to His Purpose
What about those who aren't so famous? Have you ever heard of Bezalel or Oholiab? Well, you will hear of them today and I submit that they lived effective lives. There are principles to take hold of when it comes to living the effective life, but the question really has to begin with well, what makes a life effective? Now, I think it's important to therefore recognize there's a distinction between the world's definition and God's definition. God's definition of an effective life really comes from our relationship to Him.
God made the soul and the spirit within us and He wants our lives to be effective to His glory and then comes out of that spiritual bearing of life. See, to live with God's purpose, to be effective, you must fulfill God's purpose in your life. He wants your life to have meaning, to have purpose, to have value, to live for that which is higher and greater than yourself, to have spiritual significance, to make an impact on the kingdom of God, to make an impact on people's lives around you.
See, the effective life is also the fulfilling life because you are fulfilling God's purpose. I tell you, there are many people who want God's purpose in their lives. I want to live by God's purpose in my life. Anybody agreeing with me? I want to be effective for the kingdom. In these verses today, we are going to see that there are principles that God would give us for those who want an effective life to fulfill His purpose to His glory.
Now, the backstory is this. When God called Moses to bring the people of Israel out of Egypt, he brought them to Mount Sinai which is where we were looking recently, and there at Mount Sinai, not only did He give them the law and the commandments, the way to live of greatest blessing. Not only did He do that, He gave instructions for building the tabernacle. Now, this was that place where His glory, His Shekinah glory would be seen. This is the place that God's presence would be known amongst His people. This is the promise that His presence would go with them, and so God gave Moses them these detailed instructions about how the tabernacle was to be built.
Every aspect of the tabernacle is a shadow of the throne of God. It is an image of the throne of the living God itself and all of the other aspects of the tabernacle point to Jesus Christ because it is through Jesus that we have access to the throne of the living God, and all of these picture for us Jesus in all of His glory. Now, therefore, it's very important all these details would be done right. He's going to now call these men that He desires to use in the craftsmanship in the tabernacle. He's going to call them by name. Bezalel, Oholiab.
They're not famous in the annals of biblical history, but they are effective in God's purpose and they become examples of those who desire to live effective lives for God's glory. Let's read it. We are in Exodus 35 and we're going to begin right in verse 29. Picking it up in the middle of this where he says all the Israelites, "All the men and women," notice this phrase, "whose heart moved them," he uses this phrase over and over. Whose heart moved them to bring material for all of the work which the Lord commanded through Moses to be done. They brought a freewill offering to the Lord.
They get any materials and so people brought their necklaces or their earrings or their brooches or their scarlet material or blue, whatever it was. I have this, let me bring it. Then Moses said to the sons of Israel, "See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel son of be Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and He has filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all craftsmanship," filled with this spirit for the purpose of craftsmanship, very interesting, "to make designs for working in gold, silver, bronze, cutting of stones for settings, carving of wood to perform every inventive work. And," verse 34, "He has put it in his heart to teach."
This is God put it in His heart to teach others, "both he and Oholiab, son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with skill," God filled them with skill, "to perform every work of an engraver, designer, embroider in blue, purple, and scarlet material, fine linen, as a weaver, as performers of every work and makers of designs." We continue in chapter 36. "'Now Bezalel, and Oholiab, and every skillful person in whom the Lord has put skill and understanding to know how to perform all of the work in 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." You notice the theme here? Then He adds, "everyone whose heart stirred him to come to the work to perform it. They received from Moses then all the contributions which the sons of Israel had brought to perform the work in the construction of the sanctuary. They still continue bringing to him freewill offerings every morning.
All the skillful men who were performing all the work of the sanctuary, they came each from his work which he was performing, and they said to Moses, "The people are bringing much more than enough," which is to say it's too much. We can't handle all that they're bringing, "for the construction work which the Lord commanded us to perform." So Moses issued a command and a proclamation was circulated throughout all the camps saying, 'Let neither man nor woman any longer perform work for the contributions of the sanctuary." Thus, the people were restrained from bringing any more. Don't you love that right there? You're bringing too much, people. We can't handle all that you are bringing.
Do you see what was happening? They heard that God wanted the tabernacle to be built. They understood its significance and so they said, oh, then use my stuff. Here's my earring. Here's my brooch. Here's my scarlet material. I've been holding this for something. I want my stuff to be used for God's glory. Here, you take it, and Moses finally said enough, we can't handle it all. Don't you just love this part of this story?
All right. These are the verses I want us to look at. Great principles to take hold of for those who want to live by God's purpose and meaning in their life starting with this. God calls you to His purpose. God has a purpose. It's God's purpose in your life and God calls you to that purpose. Specifically, He calls Bezalel and Oholiab by name for that purpose in which He call them.
Does God do that today? Does God have a purpose specific to each person? I submit that He does. By name. God has a purpose for each individual person. I tell you what, that's very encouraging to know. Let me give you a verse out of Jeremiah 1:5 where He says to Jeremiah, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I consecrated you." That means to set you a part for a purpose. Before you even born I set you apart. I pointed you a prophet to the nations. That was the purpose for which he was called.
A. God calls you to relationship first
God has a purpose each person individually. What you notice is, because it's very important, God calls you to relationship first. He has the purpose, but He fulfills that and calls you out of relationship first. Now, calling, what does calling mean? The word literally means to call someone's name to get their attention. For example, if we're in a crowd of people and I hear the word 'rich,' somebody could be talking about the rich cake they had for dinner and I would be like, "Rich?" My mind, my ears immediately are attuned to that because our ears are attuned to our names, and God uses that as an illustration.
God will call you by name. Revelation 3:20. We love this verse out of the book of Revelation. "Behold, I stand at the door and I knock; if anyone hears My voice," that suggests that He's calling out your name, "if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will die with him, and he with Me," eating together. See, even Jesus is into the eating together. It's a beautiful picture.
God has a calling. God has a purpose, but God calls you to relationship first. I use as an example David. You know that David, when he was just a young man was called and anointed for God's purpose in his life to shepherd the people of Israel, to be king. God anointed him. God called him for that purpose. I submit that long before that, David had a beautiful relationship to God. God called him, but first he had a beautiful relationship to God.
Do you know that David was a good musician. David was a singer. David wrote songs. We would call them psalms. All of the psalms were written for the purpose to be sung, and David wrote many of them. He was a singer. He loved to write and to sing. Why? Why did he write these songs? Did he write these songs because he thought, "One day these can make me famous. God can use these to make me famous. I might need a publisher. These are that good. I really could be. God can use this. I could be quite famous one day"?
No, he didn't write for that purpose at all. Do you know why he wrote them? Because he loved the Lord and he wrote them out of a heart that was stirred by the presence of God, by the beauty of God's presence. He just wanted to write it down so that he could sing it again and again to the glory. God called him out of that. I'll tell you one of the psalms that David wrote, God used in my life in a beautiful way. Psalm 27:4.
God used it. I remember when I was a young man, I was in my young 20s and I was going to a church and I would love to just go to church early and just sit there. I was going to Beaverton Foursquare at the time and I would just sit there and I loved it. I just loved church. I loved getting there early reading. I would just open the Bible and read. They'd put music on the speakers. Oh, I just love being there. I love the smell. I just love being there. Just something. I don't know. My soul was just so at home. One day I'm there and I'm reading my Bible and just waiting, listening. I read Psalm 27 and I came upon this verse. When I came upon this verse, it stirred me. It's like, that's my heart.
This is what David wrote. Psalm 27:4, "One thing I have asked from the Lord and that I shall seek." One thing. "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." I read that and I thought, that's what I want to do. That's my desire. I want to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord," and God confirmed my calling as a pastor.
I even called the pastor the next day. This is what God did in my life. I have decided it's time I'm going to be a pastor. I tell you, it is a beautiful thing. I have the privilege of being in the house of the Lord. I am at five services a week. I am so blessed. I tell you, it is the privilege and joy of my life. The pastor, this church. This is a beautiful church. I love you. This is amazing what God is doing. Amen.
B. God empowers his purpose in your life
It is the privilege of my life to behold the beauty of the Lord. God is doing beautiful work. See, the first part of having an effective spiritual life is having a personal, spiritual, devotional, intimate relationship to God. He calls you out of that for His purpose, but then as you notice this, then God empowers His purpose in your life. If God is giving you a purpose, He will empower it.
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 the power of God to accomplish the purpose of God. We have a saying, many of you have heard it, where God guides, He provides. He captures the same idea. If God has given you, guided you into a purpose, then God provides, God empowers.
As an illustration, I think of Israel, many years later of their history after they had been exiled to Babylon, the 70 years, you remember the story, when they came back, they were sent back to Jerusalem with a purpose, to rebuild Jerusalem, to rebuild the temple. When they got there, what they discovered was that the city was in ruins and literally, there was a mountain of rubble. The more that they got into the work of the thing, the more discouraged they became. It was a monumental difficult thing. A mountain of rubble. There were all of these peoples around them that were resisting them in every turn. They became discouraged at the size of the rubble, the troubles against them.
That's when God sent a word to encourage. That word that He gave, the governor at the time was Zerubbabel. The word that He sent through the prophet is a word that is as true today as when He said it back then. It's a truth to take hold of in our lives to fulfill God's purpose. He gives this promise. Zechariah 4:6-10. "This is the word of the Lord." Again, He's trying to encourage them. They're so discouraged. Look at this mountain.
"This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel, saying this, 'It's not by might, it's not by power, it's by My Spirit,' says the Lord of hosts. What are you, oh great mountain?" He's talking about the mountain of rubble. 'What are you, oh great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain and he will bring forth the top stone,'" that's the capstone, the finishing stone.
"'He will bring forth the top stone with shout of "Grace, grace to it."'" He will declare it. God's grace did this. By my spirit, by my grace, God did this and then he adds this. I love the way he phrases this. This is so powerful. "The hands of the Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house and his hands will finish it." Don't despise the day of small beginnings. Now, that's a great word. You're called to a purpose and you begin to work and move in that purpose and then it seems so monumentally difficult.
Don't despise the day of small beginnings. Do you not believe where God guides, He provides, He empowers His purpose in your life? I tell you the same is true, there are New Testament verses that's saying the same thing. The Spirit of God is given to receive the power of God to accomplish the purpose of God. Acts 1:8, Jesus said, "you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you for this purpose." He's calling His disciples for this purpose to be my witnesses, both in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, even the remotest part of the earth, God will give you the power of God. He will empower His purpose.
C. God gave you a gift - to use for His glory
Therefore, would you see this out of the story? God gave you a gift. Each person, God gives a gift to fulfill the purpose of their lives. God gave you a gift and He gave you that gift to use for His glory. God gave you a gift to use it for His glory. Now, sometimes when someone does something amazing, people will say, "He is gifted," or you might say to that person, "You have a gift." I submit, God gives all gifts. Whatever gifts you have, God gave it.
James 1:17 says the same thing, "Every good thing given, every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights." God gave the gift. That's what it says in this chapter, in so many places, also in Exodus 31:6. "In the hearts of all who are skillful, I put that skill." How many times does He say this? Over, and over, and over. "In the hearts of all who are skillful, I put that skill, whether they know it or not." That's important. Whether they know it or not, God gave them that skill, that they may make all that I commanded. God gives all gifts.
I was thinking of an illustration. Some of you remember that famous painter on television, he was on PBS, Bob Ross, who could create entire beautiful masterpieces in 30 minutes while teaching the television audience how simple and easy it was. "We just need to put some happy clouds here. We need to put a tree that's a friend. Everyone needs a tree as a friend," and you are all going, "I can't do that." I submit that he was moving in the gift that God gave to him, whether he knew it or not.
See, God is the greatest artist of all, and every artist is simply made in the image of God, whether they know it or not. Musicians, God gives gifts of song, music. Do you know that music is a tremendously important aspect of heaven? Even God rejoices over us with singing. Heaven is filled with the music. I love music, so I'm thinking, "This is glorious," and it is glorious and it will be glorious. He gives an aspect of that, that musicians are made in the image of God, whether they know it or not.
See, the question is whether that musician will use that gift to His glory. God gives gifts to use for His glory. Here's an example. One of the greatest classical composers of all time has to be Johann Sebastian Bach. Wonderful. On every piece that he wrote, every single piece that he wrote, he wrote the word Soli Deo gloria, and it means only for the glory of God. "I wrote this for one purpose and one purpose only, for the glory of God." Now, there's the right heart.
Now, someone might say, "Well, you're talking about these people who are amazingly gifted. There's nothing special about me. God can't use me. There's nothing special about me." I have found that God uses all of the humble and simple things that we have done to prepare us for what God's purpose is. God's purpose. God's calling. He prepares.
You look back in your life. I do. I look back in my life and I can see all of those things that God used to prepare me for His calling. I think back before I had my first real job, my thing was picking berries and working on the farm. I'm sure many people did the same thing. I'll tell you, God used that for His glory. Working on the farm, God can use. You say, "Really? How?" Teaching you work ethic. That's one thing. God can use people with work ethic. Anybody agree with me?
My first paying job was a janitor at an elementary school. My assignment, my task was cleaning toilets and mopping floors. I did that for many, many hours. I don't mean to brag, but I am good at mopping floors. I'm just saying. I am probably the best mopper that you know. I don't like to brag, but if you can do it, it's not bragging. I'm good. God used it to prepare me to be a pastor. You say, "Really?" Yes.
We had a gymnasium that we met at first for a while. Actually, we started in cafeteria, which we had to clean, mop, then we had a gymnasium that we had to sweep. Then we had the dining room here, fellowship hall that we'd sweep and mop regularly. I was the trainer. I would see people mopping, "No, no, no, no. Let me show you how to do that." God used it. Then I was in the restaurant business, started out as a dishwasher. God can use that. A cook, a server waiting tables, later manager, and later on-- God used all of that. That's why we have so much food here. God used that background to His purpose and to His glory. All things God can use.
Can you hold a baby? God can use your anointed hands for His purpose and His glory. God can use you. Can you swing a hammer? We're doing some construction. God can use you for His purpose and His glory. Cleaning, cooking, so much more, worship, so much, they are all for the purpose of honoring God. When you move in the purpose of God, you are honoring God in the purpose. It's a spiritual service of worship. Roman 12:1, "Therefore I urge you brethren, by the mercies of God I urge you," that's very emphatic right there, "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
Now, back to Exodus 35. Notice, then, this great principle, God is the one who makes you effective in the calling. God makes you effective. God said that He would fill these men with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, understanding, and in knowledge, and in craftsmanship. That's God's making you effective. He'll do it for you as well. Would you notice He repeats this also over, and over, and over, God did this, God put that, but for each one whose heart moved him, each one whose heart stirred him. This is a very important part of fulfilling God's purpose in your life, that there's the stirring.
A. Let your heart move you
Let your heart move, and when you move, then you are moving in the purpose of God. I'll tell you, verse 21, 22, 26, 29, over, and over, and over, everyone whose spirit moved him came. He called Bezalel, Oholiab, and they came. Their hearts were stirred. They made themselves available. Here's a very important thing. God gives the ability, whether by special gifting or by anointing the gifts you were born with. I want you to see the difference. God can give special gifting, or He can anoint the gifting you were born with. Either way, you must make yourself available. You have to move when your heart is stirred. "Here I am. I want you to use me. Here I am. I want your purpose in my life. I'm available. Here I am, Lord."
Now, having said that, I also want to clarify that God does not give every ability to every person. God gives specific things to specific people that all might have a place in the kingdom of God. God does not give every ability to every person. For example, I make myself available to be a professional golfer. Well, even if my heart stirred me, it's not going to work because I don't have that gift. Those who have golfed with me would say, "I know that. I've seen your golf, pastor."
Here's an interesting story. Once, I was given an amazing privilege of golfing with a professional golfer. Now, how did that happen? It's an interesting story of God weaving, with His sovereign hand, a blessing. What had happened was this. It was the Monday morning. It was my day off. It was a beautiful day. I thought, "Oh, I'd love to go golfing today." I called a friend, "Want to go golfing?" "No, I'm sorry. I can't go." Called another friend, "Do you want to go golfing?" "No, I'm sorry. I can't do it. If you want to hit a few balls, I can do that." I said, "Okay, let's do that. I'll meet you down there at the--" and so we go down.
Then when I arrive, I see there's this big golf tournament fundraiser happening for a friend of mine, who was the chaplain for the Portland Trail Blazers, Al Egg. I said to my friend, "Oh, look at this big thing. This is for my friend. Let me go and say hi." I go in and find Al and say, "Oh, Al, look at this. This is amazing, what you're doing here." They had a celebrity and all that. He says, "Rich, want to go golfing?" I thought God is the blesser of my life. As a matter of fact, I would love to go golfing. I woke up this morning wanting to golf. He said, "Listen, somebody won't show up. Always happens, somebody won't show up, you can take their place. It's free." God is the blesser of my life. "Okay, I'm in." He says, "Just wait right here. I'll be back and let you know."
I'm out there waiting with my friend. He comes back and he says, "Guess what? You're going to golf with Bob Gilder. I said, "No." He said, "Yes, yes, you are going to golf with Bob Gilder." He said, "You wait right here. I'll be right back." He goes, I turned to my friend, "Who's Bob Gilder?" He's a professional golfer on the tour who's a Christian. Now I found out that God gave him a gift that he uses for the glory of God. He does Bible studies with professional golfers and he shares Christ at the tournaments that he plays in. Now, there's a person who's moving in God's purpose who's been given a gift to golf.
He comes back and he says, "Okay, I've made all the arrangements." I said, "Listen, there's got to be 200 people here who would love to golf with Bob Gilder. Let one of them do it. I'll golf with anybody." "No, I want you to golf with Bob Gilder. I think God made this happen. God wants to do it. You're golfing with Bob Gilder." I said, "Okay, fine." 18 holes riding in the cart with Bob Gilder was so fun. He hit two eagles that day.
I love just watching when someone's good. It's fun. I just watch him. There was this one tee shot that I hit. That was really good. It was a beautiful thing to watch. I hit that tee shot and like, it lifted as it sailed through the air. I turned to Bob and I said, "What do you think? Do I have potential?" He turned to me and says, "Don't quit your day job." God didn't give me that gift. God gives different gifts and abilities to each one so that everyone can contribute something.
Let me say, everyone has equal value. Everyone has equal value. Bezalel and Oholiab had the same equal value as Moses and Joshua. The question is faithfulness to your purpose. One has this purpose, another that purpose. Are you faithful to the purpose that God gave to you? Everyone has equal value. The problem is for most people, it's not the ability. God has given much ability. The problem is they don't move when their heart is stirred. They don't make themselves available.
Maybe it's because they see doing something for God as an inconvenience rather than an opportunity to honor God with their lives. When Moses made it clear, we're going to build this tabernacle, the Shekinah glory of God is going to be here. It's God's presence among His people. All the people said, "Well, then use my stuff. Here's my ring or my necklace or my brooch, or whatever. I want my stuff to be there. What do you mean I can't bring my stuff? Should have brought it earlier." They wanted. That was the stirring. I want.
See, God wants us to have a willing heart. Exodus 36:2, "Moses called Bezalel, and Oholiab, and every skillful person in whom the Lord has put skill," everyone whose heart stirred him to come to the work to do it. Same as you in our lives. Let me give you a New Testament verse. 2 Corinthians 9:7. "Let each one do as he is purposing his heart, not grudgingly, not under compulsion." Okay. Fine. All right, Lord, I guess I have to do it. You know what the Lord would say? No, don't do it. Anybody agree with me? If anyone moved by compulsion begrudgingly, okay, fine, I said, no, don't do it. Actually, I don't want you to do it.
God loves a cheerful giver. God loves a cheerful doer. I'd love to mop that floor. I'd love to serve those donuts. I'd love to help out here. I would be blessed to do that. See, God wants us to have that willing heart, that willing mouth, that willing character. Then there's this and we'll close with this. Stay in the shadow of the Almighty. Now, that comes out of the name Bezalel.
B. Stay in the shadow of the Almighty
Names in Hebrew mean something. His name in Hebrew literally means in the shadow of God. That's a great name. It's very interesting to give a man like that that name. To stay close, that's what it means. To stay near in your heart. It means relying on the covering and protection that comes from abiding in the shadow of the Almighty. If you're in the shadow, you're right next to, you can't get any closer than abiding in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1, "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty." It's one of the most beautiful phrases to describe that kind of relationship where there's a nearness. You know why that's so important? Because it is in the nearness of God that something happens in the soul that's beautiful. The presence of the Lord is beautiful and He does the beautiful work in the soul.
The nearness of God moves a soul to that desire to want that which is beautiful in your life. This is an important principle. God makes this effective. He empowers that which glorifies Him. That's the key to an effective life, but it comes out of that abiding in the shadow of the Almighty. His strength, His might is the help that you need for His purpose. We need His hand. We need His help.
We need the nearness of God. We need to stay in the shadow of the Almighty. Back when I was in the restaurant business before I eventually became an owner, back when I was assistant manager or something, I was working for this fellow. We were, I don't know, doing something. I suggested that we would pray. Let's pray about this. Let's pray, let's ask God's help in this thing. He said an interesting phrase to me and he was a little put off by my suggestion. He said God helps those who help themselves. It's in the Bible. I'm sorry. I've read the Bible several times. That's not in the Bible.
I will tell you what is in the Bible. Psalm 121:1-2, I will lift up mine eyes to the hills; where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth." I am not my own helper. God is the one who moves. I lift up mine eyes, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord. Psalm 63:7, "You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy." I love that verse right there. "My soul clings to You; for Your right hand upholds me." Do you see how they work together? You're my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
It's a delight to me, God, it's a delight to my soul. Your right hand upholds me, your right hand empowers me, your right hand moves, your right hand strengthens that the purpose of God might be fulfilled. That's what I want. I want the purpose of God fulfilled. Let's pray.
Father, thank you so much for revealing to us the heart and desire that you want us to move in purpose, meaning of life. It comes out of the dwelling and abiding in the nearness of God, in the shadow of the Almighty. God, it's in the shadow of the Almighty that our heart has stirred, our soul sings with joy. You've done a beautiful work. Church, how many would say to the Lord today, "Here I am. I want your purpose in my life, I want your purpose in my life. Here I am, Lord, use me and I will dwell in the shadow of the Almighty. That my soul would be made alive, I want my soul to sing in the nearness of God, and I want your purpose fulfilled in my life"?