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. YvonneBonnie Delgado says:

    Wow, this is really speaking to my heart. So many times I heard God pointing me in a certain direction and it’s feels right until I take my eyes off him and all of a sudden the abilities I had seem so difficult at use. Thank you Lord for your mercy and grace and never leaving nor forsaking me.

  2. Marie Brown says:

    Loved the reading this week. When I first read about the Tabernacle, I thought it was boring, but now I can see how it relates to life in general. Fascinating and uplifting.

    1. Rhonda says:

      Agreed! It’s amazing of how reading it on your own, it’s easy to just give up or skip over with out seeing it’s relevance! I love how this study has made me absorb Exodus in a whole new way!

  3. Amy Daily says:

    Reading all three of these passages together- it is all Jesus! All the gospel! The imperfect picture of the heavenly reality- created by human hands with God‘s direction… showing the eternal reality of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the heavens and the sacrifice and our redemption- love.

  4. Rhonda says:

    I often wonder too, what’s my calling, shouldn’t I be doing more….something that brings lots of Glory to God, and everyone knows it!!! BUT, you know what, maybe it is in the simple things that I AM doing, like being a Godly wife, raising my child up in a loving home and being an example to him, telling my grand-kids about Jesus. Being helpful when I can, just smiling at people through out the day. It doesn’t seem like I am doing anything BIG, but maybe this is just where I am meant to be right now. Grow where you are planted, even if it doesn’t seem like you are doing big things for God, do your best, and make the best you. And maybe he will use me for something else BIG, if not, I will continue to make the little things in my life count!

    1. Deborah Craytor says:

      That’s a great approach, Rhonda!

    2. Bessie says:

      Rhonda, I feel exactly the same way. Thank you for putting words to it. I try to be faithful to what God has given me to do and to keep alert to what He may call me to do along the way.

  5. Kristin L says:

    Wow, I need to spend time soaking in these last two paragraphs. Thank you for challenging us in these truths.

  6. Janice says:

    Thank you for this today, I constantly question my motives, “am I doing this for my glory or His?”

  7. Kate Wells says:

    Wow!! What a powerful truth. I so often get caught up in the day dreaming about what Gods calling for my life will look like. What will I look like to myself and to other people. Will I receive recognition for it. And it’s insidious how those thoughts creep into your mind. When it is all about God, it always has been all about him. The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. My gifts come from you Lord and are for you. I lay everyone of them at your feet today Lord and humbly as that you use them and my life to serve you. In Jesus name, Amen.

  8. Ronda Slay says:

    @Sharon Hodde Miller … such good stuff! Thank you.
    I’m about 5 years into retirement after 33 years of giving myself to caring for people with cancer “like I would want me momma cared for”, as my life Calling. After enjoying the initial down time and getting through some health issues, all the while wondering what God has for the next chapter of my life, these words are encouraging, edifying and confirmation …. the focus of our Call is CHRIST Alone.
    “Skilled. Equipped with enough. Relying on God for the rest of the vision. Doing it all for the glory of God. Our All-Sufficient Savior!”

    1. Rhonda says:

      Wow…33 years of caring for other people, in their most vulnerable state….what a gift!! Congratulations on your retirement, and thank you for caring for those in need!

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