Day 36

Building the Tabernacle

Exodus 36:1-38, Matthew 27:50-51, Hebrews 9:23-28

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: Exodus 36:1-38, Matthew 27:50-51, Hebrews 9:23-28

“God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.”

This is a popular saying among Christians that, like most popular sayings, is both true and not true. It’s true in the sense that God has a generous track record of calling unlikely, untrained individuals. Shepherds, prostitutes, and unlearned fishermen have all occupied significant roles in the story of God.

However, God also has a track record of calling very equipped people. Moses was raised in a palace under the leadership influence of Pharaoh. The prophet Elisha was discipled by the great prophet Elijah. The Apostle Paul was an expert in the Law, having studied and trained in it since childhood. And Bezalel, Oholiab, and the other builders of the tabernacle were “skilled,” possessing all the “wisdom and understanding to know how to do all the work” (Exodus 36:1).

These different stories capture the paradox of calling, which consists of two seemingly conflicting truths:

On the one hand, God always provides what we need for the task. Whether it’s talent, training, or a handful of loaves and fishes, God’s provision is sufficient for His purposes. We can trust this to be true, and it should instill us with confidence and peace.

On the other hand, we are not sufficient on our own. Moses was trained to be a leader, but he could not summon down plagues. Paul knew the Law, but he relied on the Holy Spirit to deliver understanding. And although the artisans possessed both the talent and the instructions to build the tabernacle, there was nevertheless a lot they didn’t know. They didn’t know what the cherubim should look like. They didn’t know the precise designs of the curtains. They were given a rough sketch, a partial vision, and then expected to construct the rest in faith.

That is the tension of calling. God provides us with more than enough (v. 7), but not so much as to free us from dependence on Him. The secret to managing this tension is guarding the focus of our call, which is Christ alone. When we make our calling about us, we swing between insecurity and pride; between fears about our insufficiency, and a greedy clamoring for fame. But when we remember our calling is about Christ, both our inabilities and abilities are granted an appropriate amount of weight.

We see this balance in the building of the tabernacle: skilled workers, equipped with enough, relying on God for the rest of the vision, and doing it all for the glory of God. They had what they needed, but they never stopped needing God. Our own callings should look the same. We can step into God’s purpose, radiating confidence, while humbly pointing others to the source of it: our all-sufficient Savior.


Sharon Hodde Miller is a writer, speaker, pastor’s wife, mom, and she holds a PhD on women and calling. She blogs at, and is the author of Free of Me: Why Life Is Better When It’s Not about You.

Post Comments (52)

52 thoughts on "Building the Tabernacle"

  1. Jessica McCreary says:

    Grateful for this reminder!!! ❤️❤️

  2. Churchmouse says:

    Jesus “removed sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” One and done.

  3. Debi says:

    I had always thought that Bezalel and Oholiab were unskilled in what God was asking them to do? It seems like their appointment to the job in Exodus 35 indicates they were filled with ability in every craft they would need to accomplish? So by the time we get to Exodus 36, they are indeed skilled, but only because they were given God’s spirit? It is cool that they were used by God in this way and got their names recorded in Scripture. What an honor!!

    1. Bee says:

      This is how I read it too.

    2. Bessie says:

      I’m not sure you will see this, Debi, but I was reading that it is believed that Bezalel is the grandson of Hur. Hur was one of the two men who held Moses’ arms up during the battle. Hur, it is believed, was the husband of Miriam. I thought that was interesting.

      1. Debi says:

        Interesting, Bessie! I will have to go and investigate that!!

  4. Adrienna Purdy says:

    My husband and I have recently taken a step forward to become foster parents. We truly believe we are called to this, however, we find ourselves thinking about our own skills (and lack of) in this area. This is a beautiful reminder of where our calling comes from and who will provide what we need to live it out.

    1. Kara says:

      I’m so excited that you are answering this call! My husband and I fostered for 10 years until we adopted our 2 amazing kiddos through fostering last summer. It is not an easy calling, but I can truly say that God gave me peace that surpassed my understanding regularly and I can’t fathom what our lives would be like if we hadn’t answered His call!

    2. She Reads Truth says:

      We’re praying for you and your husband during this time and the steps ahead! -Margot, The SRT Team

    3. Holly Andler says:

      Like she said in the reading that that statement is true and false. The foster care journey is something we definitely felt called too but needed and still need lots of teaching, mentoring, experiences, etc. However, showing and sharing God’s love is something only God can equip you to do. So, don’t be too hard on yourself because God will fill in the blanks for a lot of the journey but do as much prep work as possible. Read books, find a seasoned foster family to buddy up with, ask lots of questions, and let go of expectations. Its a wild ride!

  5. Abby says:

    I’m a teacher and so is my husband. A random person yesterday said we were saints! I quickly said no we’re not but stopped short of giving glory to God in an authentic way. I want to be able to give God glory for the calling and work he has given us.

  6. Allison says:

    Thank you for this whole series. Through the whole thing I often read the passages in Exodus and think, “what will be pulled out of this today” And it is always relevant and unexpected and true and life giving. Thank you for taking tough, at times tedious to read passages and pointing us to Christ! Happy Monday ladies!

    1. Helen says:

      I keep thinking the same thing. It is amazing how excited I have become about reading the passages and seeing them come to life.

    2. Rhonda says:

      That is me too!

  7. Karen says:

    Thank you so much for this lesson. Sometimes I forget that although God may have blessed me with a talent or gift, He does not expect me to use it on my own but to rely on Him to work through me using that talent. It is a good reminder to take our focus off self and rely on the One who can work through us.

  8. Rebecca Leek says:

    I have a performance coming up for a care home. As I practice I think to myself this is for God’s glory; sharing our God given musical skill with people who need some joy in their lives. I focus on showing God’s love for them through the music. When I do that, I have noticed I play better! I really do! I stop feeling nervous or any kind of self judgment and the music comes easily.

    1. Natalie Mann says:

      That is beautiful Rebecca!

    2. Willonda says:

      Rebecca, same here. I am apart of a praise team and sometimes I focus on getting this note right or how I look or a variety of things that do not matter. But I have found that when I focus on Jesus, all words are sung right and I don’t care how I look while I’m praising Him.

    3. Emily Sheaffer says:

      Rebecca, I can totally relate. I am a pianist and I find when I spend the time leading up to playing worshipping God my abilities and talents flow out of me then when I try to handle the nerves on my own. It’s about worshipping Him alone and when I enter that time already worshipping God is able to use me to show His love to others

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