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The Fourth Counter-Example: Bezaleel and Aholiab

The fourth counter-example I present is found in Exodus 31:1-11, a passage so remarkable I cite it here in full:

1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: 3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, 4 To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, 5 And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. 6 And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee; 7 The tabernacle of the congregation, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is thereupon, and all the furniture of the tabernacle, 8 And the table and his furniture, and the pure candlestick with all his furniture, and the altar of incense, 9 And the altar of burnt offering with all his furniture, and the laver and his foot, 10 And the cloths of service, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest's office, 11 And the anointing oil, and sweet incense for the holy place: according to all that I have commanded thee shall they do.

My deepest thanks to Patrick Oden who, in chapter 9 of his book "It's a Dance: Moving with the Holy Spirit", pointed out that this is the first text in the Pentateuch where the words "the spirit of God", ruach elohim, appear.  The passage speaks of the Spirit giving wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and workmanship in the green mark-up.  While Aholiab is named as his immediate assistant and number two in the task of doing the work, the phrasology God uses is that Aholiab, and all the wise hearted in whom He put wisdom, is that they are given to Bezalel.  Moses' understanding of this passage, given in Exodus 35:30-35, expands on this:

30 And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the LORD hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; 31 And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; 32 And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, 33 And in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work. 34 And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. 35 Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.

The presence of the Spirit within Bezalel and Aholiab not only amplified their technical skill and ability to devise cunning work, but also enabled them to teach others as well.  Their position within the creative community of Israel-In-The-Wilderness was the same as that of Solomon within the community of the Wise of Israel-In-The-Land: not only skillful workers capable of great works themselves, but the leaders and teachers that faciliated others in their creative efforts.  

I will quote briefly from page 199 to 200 of Mr. Oden's book where Melissa, a Preacher's Kid who fled from her father's church because her artist's soul was not being fed, explains what is happening in this passage (emphases mine):

"So Luke," Melissa continues, "this is the first time the Spirit of the Lord comes down on a person and what happens?  Healing?  Prophecy?  Flashes of lightning?  Nope.  Nothing like that.  Nothing like anything my dad would say are acceptable spiritual gifts in the church.  The Spirit came down and they started sewing, and sculpting, and carving.  Doing all sorts of other works of art."

"Creativity," I say.

"Yes!" she replies, "Very good.  God is an artist....  I mean, some churches get so excited about tounges and the wild stuff.  But this first time, Luke, its about art.  Art for God.  Art commissioned by God.  He's the great patron, the one who inspires and pays, all because he seems to like meaningful things.  We think of God as totally pragmatic, like some executive businessman keeping his eye on the bottom line or whatever.  God is this Lord.  Sometimes practical, oftentimes lavish.  He's God, not a CEO looking for salvation profits."

Lest someone try to blunt the import of the Spirit's work in the building of the Tabernacle by stating that Joseph and Moses had to have been empowered by the Spirit of God as well, I want to point out that it is Pharaoh who declares that Joseph has the Spirit of God, not God or the Genesis narrator.  It isn't until Numbers 11 that we have God shifting (not giving) some of the Spirit that is upon Moses onto 70 elders for the purpose of helping him manage the people.  That two of them who were not present got some of that Spirit and were prophesying elsewhere in the camp is evidence that the spirit was indeed of God, but there is no explicit statement before this by God or the Exodus narrator that Moses was given the Spirit of the Lord.

The real import of these passages is the fact that the Holy Spirit chose this incident and this time to explicitly reveal His presence and the fact that He is given by God.  The first time we are told the Spirit of God was present and active was at the Creation scoping out the chaotic mess.  The second time He shows up, He publicly announces his presence, and declares that his mission is to inspire and empower a group of artistic laymen.  A great philantropist may anonymously donate huge sums of money to various worthy causes, but it is the cause on which he puts his name that tells us which of the many he supports is truly the most important to him

I consider that the above four counter-examples have effectively refuted the validity of the restrictive form of "all truth".  I will now discuss some aspects of this "leading" unto all truth that are pertinent to this Stage.

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