February 16-18, 1993

Wisdom defined


Exodus 31

Exo 31:1-11, the call of Bezaleel & wisdom defined.

Exodus 12-17, the sabbath is emphasized, though it was already known, being given in Genesis chapter 2.

Why did God give Bezallel's call to work and the sabbath in almost the same breath?

Obviously, to show us that though man is called to work, and he is given the talents and gifts to do the calling God has given him to do, he must work in terms of God's word. And we see later on that a man was put to death for "working" (gathering sticks) on the sabbath.

Thus, man is always required to live and work in terms of God's law-word. He cannot escape that responsibility, nor can he avoid the consequences of not fulfilling that responsibility.

Vv. 1-11.

I have dealt with this section at length twice in mailings: spirit of wisdom & wisdom. The first was in 91, I believe, and the second in 93.

I will only mention some obvious facts as I skim through this portion:

1) this command to Moses follows the command concerning the Holy Oil and the Holy Incense. As I mentioned back there:

The Lord give specific instruction concerning both the oil and the incense. He told Moses that both were holy and could only be used in the manner prescribed by Him. With both the oil and incense the Lord was to be honoured, but God could only be honoured if the oil and incense was made and used according to His word. God tells man how to please Himself, and then God gives man the grace to please Him. "Nothing comes to God but what comes from him." MH In other words, God can only be pleased as man obeys His word in the power that He, the Lord, provides. Human nature would sure say otherwise.

And the Lord does the same here with the building of the tabernacle. He tells what will please Him, then He calls individuals and equips them to do what is pleasing in His sight. The NT defines this as Grace, the desire and the power to do God's revealed will, Phil 2:13.

Thus Exo 31:1-11, gives us a clear picture of God's grace at work.

2) the Lord calls by name the ones to serve Him.

3) The Lord assigns each person his specific task in the kingdom work. The Lord has work to do, so He provides those to do the work. Obviously, those He calls, He qualifies.

4) v. 6, the Lord is the One Who raised up help for Bezallel.


5) v. 6, contains an important statement: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom... Regardless of the context of this statement, it applies throughout the Scriptures, as well as throughout all time. If one is wise hearted, the Lord placed the wisdom there.

6) wisdom is according to the word of God.

7) wisdom and strength is to enable the individual to do all that the Lord commanded Moses, vs. 6, 10; not to do what is pleasing in their own sight.

8) A few thoughts from Keil:

To "call by name" is to choose or appoint by name for a particular work (cf. Isa xlv. 3, 4)... Filling with the Spirit of God signifies the communication of an extraordinary and supernatural endowment and qualification, "in wisdom," etc., i.e. consisting of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and every kind of workmanship, that is to say, for the performance of every kind of work. This did not preclude either natural capacity or acquired skill, but rather presupposed them; for in ver. 6 it is expressly stated in relation to his assistants, that God had put wisdom into all that were wise-hearted. Being thus endowed with a supernaturally exalted gift, Bezallel was qualified "to think out inventions,' i.e. ideas or artistic designs. Although everything had been minutely described by Jehovah, designs and plans were still needed in carrying out the work, so that the result should correspond tot he divine instructions.

It is all of the Lord, and what a marvelous God we serve.

Vs. 12-17, the sabbath. (I took a message and mailout from this next portion about the sabbath. I rearanged it there quite extencively.)

Even though the sabbath was not a new commandment, it had already been enforced in Exodus 16 at the giving of the manna and given with the ten commandments in ch 20, the Lord gives the sabbath instructions to Moses here again. The instructions in chapter 16 were not as detailed or as harsh. In 16, Moses only strongly fussed at the violators; here the Lord instructs Moses cut off the violators. Then the Lord defines what He means by cut off: he shall surely be put to death.

Then, in Numbers 15:32, a man was put to death for dishonoring the sabbath. He sinned presumptuously, and Moses had just warned the people about presumptuous sin, vs. 30, 32. The man despised the word of the Lord, and he had to be dealt with as a willful despiser of God's law.

There will be great emphasis upon the sabbath as we go along, so we will go ahead and cover it in some detail now.

Sabbath, of course, means rest, and all the sabbath (rest) laws of the OT spoke of the rest to come in Christ Jesus, Hebrews chapter 4. The OT sabbath laws cannot be separated from Hebrews 4.

The sabbath:

1) Instituted by God, Ge 2:3, And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

2) Grounds of its institution, Ex 20:11, For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

3) In the OT, the seventh day was observed as the sabbath, Ex 20:9-11,
Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates: For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Exo 31:15, my sabbaths ye shall keep... The requirement speaks specifically of the seventh day, and the requirement for honoring that day is because the Lord set it aside, not because man set it aside.

4) The sabbath was not made for God's benefit, but man's, Mark 2:27, And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:

A) God's goodness in commemorated in the sabbath, particularly His goodness in delivering His people from their bondage in Egypt, De 5:15, And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and [that] the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.
B) God's favour in giving to His people His holy sabbath is compared to giving them bread and water in the wilderness, Ne 9:14, And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant:

C) God's kindness is shown in His appointing the sabbath, Ex 23:12, Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.

D) it is interesting that one of the signs of God's judgment against a land is their disregard of the sabbath, La 2:6; Ho 2:11.

5) the sabbath was/is a sign of the covenant, Ex 31:13, 17. Notice the location of Ex 31:13: it follows vs. 2-11, and the specific call of the men to do the glorious work of the tabernacle. There are some reasons for the specific mention of the sabbath at this point:

A) Lord tells us here that no matter how honourable or great one's work might be, it is no excuse for violation of the Lord's sabbath. If anyone should have been exempt from the sabbath, these men should have been; but they were not!

B) the Lord just told Moses who had been specifically called by the Lord, the skills the men had and what those skills were to be used for. Thus, the sabbath reminds man that the Lord is the One Who calls, the Lord is the One Who gives skills and abilities, the Lord is the One Who makes one's way prosperous and makes the works of man's hands prosper. When one refuses to honor the sabbath as the Lord commanded, he says that he does not need the Lord and that he, man, can work all things out himself and he can prosper without God.

Though these men had great natural and supernatural skills and abilities in the "trades," were supernaturally empowered to do marvelous works which would cause all onlookers to marvel, their honoring of the sabbath confessed that they were no more than servants of the Lord of the sabbath doing the will of their Lord and Master. Their honoring of the sabbath told everyone that they were prospering in their occupation because of God's hand upon them, and not because of any skill which they had.

C) honoring the sabbath is an obvious sign between God and His people which tells the world whose side the people are on and who they are depending upon for their daily bread.

Exo 31:15, honoring the sabbath recognizes that prosperity comes as a result of the blessings of the Lord, not as a result of hard work. I know many people who have worked very hard, yet they have no prosperity. God determines who will prosper and who will not.

Thus, when His people keep the sabbath, they are showing the world that they are covenant keepers, and that they are depending upon the Lord of the covenant to supply their every need.

6) the sabbath was to be perpetually observed, Ex 31:16, 17. See below, Christ and the sabbath.

Some things concerning the OT sabbath:

1) Servants and cattle were required to rest, Ex 20:10; De 5:14.

2) No manner of work to be done, Ex 20:10; Le 23:3.

3) No buying or selling was to be done, Ne 10:31; 13:15-17

4) No burdens were to be carried, Ne 13:19; Jer 17:21.

5) Works concerning religious service were lawful, Nu 28:9; Mt 12:5; Joh 7:23.

6) Works of mercy lawful, Mt 12:12; Joh 9:14

7) Necessary wants may be supplied, Mt 12:1; Lu 13:15; 14:1

In the OT, the sabbath is called: 1) The Sabbath of the Lord, Ex 20:10 Le 23:3 De 5:14; 2) The Sabbath of rest, Ex 31:15; 3) The rest of the holy Sabbath, Ex 16:23. Yet, in the NT, Christ is called The Lord of the Sabbath, Mr 2:28, Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

Observe Isa 58:13, 14 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, [from] doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it].

1) Isaiah calls the sabbath God's holy Day, and tells us that His people honour their God by observing it. They observe it by not doing their one pleasure on the sabbath, and find delight in the Lord. When God's people delight themselves in honoring what the Lord honours (the sabbath), the Lord will bless them. (Cf. Ps 118:24.) One of the signs of revival was the OT saints renewing their observance of the sabbath, Ne 13:22.

2) The Lord pronounces His blessings upon those keeping the sabbath, Isa 56:2, 6.

The wicked's attitude toward the sabbath

1) as described in Nehemiah 13:15-22. Vs. 15, 16, the wicked see the sabbath as just another day of work and to carry on business as usual. Thus they profane, or pollute, it by treating it as a common day. (Cf. Isa 56:2; Ex 20:13, 16; Ex 22:8.)

Observe the reason why the ungodly treat it as just another day to buy and sell, Ne 10:31, And [if] the people of the land bring ware or any victuals on the sabbath day to sell, [that] we would not buy it of them on the sabbath, or on the holy day: and [that] we would leave the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt. The people of God do business with them, and Nehemiah contended with the nobles of Judah for allowing the Jews to trade on the sabbath. (Cf. Nehemiah testified against them, or spoke strongly against the desiccators of the sabbath, Ne 13:15, 20, 21.)

A) Exo 31:14, it is holy unto you... It does not say that it is holy unto the pagans, but it does say holy unto you, God's people. We cannot expect them to regard it as anything other than just another day to make money, but if God's people would honor it, they would have no money to make.

B) Exo 31:15, holy to the Lord... We need to regard holy that which the Lord regards as holy.

2) they mock, La 1:7

3) they see it as a restriction from doing their own thing, Am 8:5.

4) they ignore it, Eze 22:26

5) at times they pretend to be zealous for the sabbath if they can see a benefit for themselves, Lu 13:14; Joh 9:16.

6) God's wrath is clearly revealed against those who disregard the sabbath, Ex 31:14, 15; Num 15:32-36; Neh 13:18; Jer 17:27.

Christ and the sabbath:

He observed the OT sabbath, for He had not yet died to fulfill it, Lu 4:16. Furthermore, Christ used the sabbath to teach for the same reason the first preachers did: the synagogues were where the Hebrews were assembled, Lu 4:31; 6:6.

The NT and the sabbath.

Observe that the following three NT references to the sabbath take place at the very beginning of the gospel of Christ going forth; the gospel went first to the Jews, and the Jews assembled in their synagogues. Thus, if the gospel was to go to them first, the preachers had to go to the places the Jews gathered, the synagogues on the Jewish sabbath.

1) Godly worship was observed, Eze 46:3; Ac 16:13

2) The Scriptures were read, Ac 13:27; 15:21

3) The word of God was preached, Ac 13:14,15,44; 17:2; 18:4.

Thus, the first preachers of the new church, (until the destruction of the Hebrew nation, 70 AD), found their ready made congregation in the Jewish synagogues. The promise was that the gospel would go to the Hebrews first, so the preachers went to where the Jews were: the synagogues on the old Hebrew sabbath.

The change from the Hebrew day to the Lord's day

The new church did not reverence the old Hebrew sabbath, which celebrated the first creation; rather, they met on a new sabbath, the first day of the week which celebrated the new creation in Christ Jesus,

John 20:26, And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: [then] came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace [be] unto you.
Acts 20:7, And upon the first [day] of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
1 Cor 16:2, Upon the first [day] of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as [God] hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

Furthermore, the first day is called, not the sabbath, but the Lord's day, Rev 1:10.

Christ totally and completely fulfilled the OT sabbath

The key transitional verse from the OT sabbath to the NT is Matt 5:17, 18, Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

1) the sabbath spoke of the heavenly rest to come in Christ, Hebrews 4. All of He 4 deals with the true Sabbath, the rest in Christ. Just reading through this chapter clearly tells us that Christ replaced the OT sabbath.
Because the OT sabbath spoke of the complete rest in Christ, the OT punishment was very severe against those who violated the sabbath: they destroyed the picture of the total and complete rest that would come in Christ. He did all our work for us which was required to please the Father and enter into eternal life.

V. 18, forty days are complete and Moses in ready to take the instructions of the Lord back to the People. The Lord gives him two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God. The stone tablets spoke of the "imperishable duration of these words of God." The tables were written on both sides, so it would not have taken a very large tablet to contain "the 172 words of the decalogue, with its threats and promises (ch xx 2-17)..." The two tables had the same thing on each. This was a covenant-law; therefore, each party of the covenant was to have a copy of the law. Evidently, one copy was to be kept in the ark, and the other copy where the people could see it.