Friday, January 6, 2012

The Noble and the Wretched

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

The prayer loft at Church where some of my art is displayed.
 Exodus 35:30-35
  30 Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the LORD has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts— 32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship. 34 And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them master craftsmen and designers. 
  I guess for this devotional I am taking you along on one of my little pondering adventures.  I can't say I have sorted it all out but in my little study I came across some things that I find interesting. How did I get off on this little rabbit trail adventure? Yesterday when I was being prayed for at the Healing Rooms one of the people spoke of God blessing my blood line and my tribe. I suppose I don't have a lot of insight into tribes and bloodlines and so I have kind of gone off on a Holy Spirit led search of what that might mean and how it might apply to me. I can't say I've gotten it all sorted out at this point but I found some things that kind of have jumped up to gain my attention.  
So I found myself thinking agin about Bezalel and Oholiab the guys that are some of the first to be filled with the Spirit of God in a time when God was not filling people with His Spirit. These guys are the ones who are anointed to create all the things needed to make the transportable house of worship called the Tabernacle.
The story of Bezalel and Oholiab is one that I find particularly interesting as an artist. Why does God choose these two guys. It is not their own skill or ability because it says that he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ablilty and knowledge of all kinds of crafts. They are given not only the ability to create but the ability to teach others.  I think it is interesting that one is from the ruling tribe Judah and other is from Dan considered a lesser tribe. If you trace things back a bit you will find what it says about the tribe of Dan. When the sons of Israel are blessed this is the blessing that Dan receives in Genesis 49:
 16 “Dan[g] will provide justice for his people
   as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan will be a serpent by the roadside,
   a viper along the path,
that bites the horse’s heels
   so that its rider tumbles backward.
 18 “I look for your deliverance, O LORD.

 If you look back a bit further you will find the story of Rachel wife of Jacob who is barrin while her sister Leah keeps popping out babies. She decides to solve that by giving Jacob her servant to have children for her. From her is born the son Dan.

Genesis 30

 1 When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!”
 2 Jacob became angry with her and said, “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?”
 3 Then she said, “Here is Bilhah, my maidservant. Sleep with her so that she can bear children for me and that through her I too can build a family.”
 4 So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife. Jacob slept with her, 5 and she became pregnant and bore him a son. 6 Then Rachel said, “God has vindicated me; he has listened to my plea and given me a son.” Because of this she named him Dan.[a]

The name Dan means vindicated comes from the justice that she receives in God vindicating her barrenness and giving her a son.  I love going digging for treasures in the word.  So we have two guys that get chosen to be the anointed artists/teachers of God. I don't think it is all about their bloodlines. One is from the family from which kings are to come Judah, the other is from the least of families who comes from one of Rachels maidservants Bilhah. It seems the most notable guys from the tribe of Dan are Samson and Oholiab. Its a pretty small tribe and struggles to maintain its territory. 
Why are these two guys chosen. Lets take a peek at some other defining moments in Israels history. I believe God rewards the faithful. First we have Bezalel we get two others of his line mentioned as him being the son or decedent.  So who was Hur, his grandfather?
In Exodus 17 Hur is one of the guys that holds up Moses hands along with Aaron. It is a story of a battle that as long as Moses keeps his hands up raised to God they win. So Aaron and Hur stand there next to him and hold up his arms. 
In the story of the Moses going up to the mountain he leaves Aaron and Hur in charge. In my poking around on this subject I discovered "In Talmudic tradition the sudden disappearance of Hur from the narrative of Exodus is explained by the claim that Hur was killed when he tried to prevent the making of the Golden Calf. The murder of Hur intimidated Aaron into complying with the popular demand to create the idol. Hur's faithfulness was rewarded by God by granting his grandson the role of making the Tabernacle.
To me that seems like God brought things full circle and allows the grandson of Hur to be one given the ability to create the articles of worship for the temple. Pretty cool. 
Now for Oholiab who is from the tribe of Dan. I found this and thought it also quite interesting "Names are prophetic as well as symbolic in scripture. The meaning of the name Aholiab is: "Tent of the father." He was the son of "Ahisamach," which means: Brother of strength, or My brother has supported." It's a wonderful thing when our family or those friends who are to us as brothers are supportive of our work, strengthening and encouraging us. Aholiab was an artist of the tribe of Dan, appointed to the work of preparing materials such as fiber arts for the tabernacle. He was a skilled weaver and embroiderer. In speaking of Dan, the tribe Aholiab came from, Judah was Israel's "leader," Dan was Israel's rearguard."
Interesting the first and the last. Reminds me of Matthew 20:16 "So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many are called, but few chosen." These guys chosen to make the things of worship for the tabernacle are among the first, the tribe of Judah and the last, the tribe of Dan. 
I suppose I find the history and little threads of storys to be engaging. I guess I don't worry too much how exactly I have been grafted into the family of God I am just glad to know that through Jesus my name is found in the Lambs book of life. I kind of think it is cool that artists are among the first to have been filled with the Spirit of God to accomplish Gods purposes.
I'm out of time and not sure I have even begun to tie it all together or to even have scratched the surface. I hope you find in it all something that spurs you on in your faith. I hope it encourages you to stir up your particular gifts and to begin to walk in them to accomplish Gods purposes. 
Dear Lord,  You know how you have fit each of us in to your unique and wonderful plans. You have made us each special and you love us not because of our abilities or gifts but because we are yours. I pray that you would cause your Holy Spirit to fill us to over flowing and that you would empower each of us to accomplish those things that you have created for us and called us to do.  Allow us to walk in your favor an in the power of your anointing. I thank you that your memory is long and you do not forget those who honor and serve you. Thank you that your servants are found among the noble and the wretched. 


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