Work + Rest = Refreshment


In the previous five chapters of Exodus, God provided Moses specific instructions about each of the items involved in constructing a tabernacle where God would be worshiped. Lamps, bowls, tables, oils, and garments were all commanded, and each in exacting detail. But who was going to get all of this done? I can hear Moses now. “Build tables? Sew curtains? I’m just a sheep herder! And what do I know about crafting silver and gold?”

  • Have you ever been given a huge task that seemed too big for you? How did that make you feel and what did you do?


31:1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, 5 in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you: 7 the tent of meeting, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is on it, and all the furnishings of the tent, 8 the table and its utensils, and the pure lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, 9 and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin and its stand, 10 and the finely worked garments, the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, for their service as priests, 11 and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense for the Holy Place. According to all that I have commanded you, they shall do.”
12 And the Lord said to Moses, 13 “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. 14 You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. 16 Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. 17 It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’”

18 And he gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Make a list of all the ways God gifted the craftsmen. Have you ever considered that the arts require the gifting of God and the Holy Spirit?
  2. What do you learn about God by his provision of artisans for the task?
  3. In verse six God said, “I have given to all able men ability.” What has God given you to provide for the worship of God, and are you using it for God’s glory?
  4. What are the reasons that the Sabbath is so important (vss. 12-17)? How did God demonstrate the importance of keeping the Sabbath?
  5. What is the purpose of the Sabbath, according to verses 15 and 17?


In this passage God gives work, and rest from work. Neither is more sacred than the other. Both are given for our good and God’s glory. When we work with all the skill, knowledge, and wisdom God gives, we are given the opportunity to honor God and fulfill his purposes. Our work matters to God. But, lest we begin to live as though what we produce defines who we are, God calls us to rest. Rest puts our lives in proper perspective and returns God to his proper place as ruler of our hearts. Rest is a declaration that we depend on God and trust in God. The invitation is to work in the power of God and rest in obedience to God. The result is God’s praise and our refreshment.

  • Talk to God about your gifts and the work that God has given you.
  • Ask God for the refreshment that comes from service and obedience to God.