by John Reiss
CGG Weekly, April 28, 2017
"The great leader is seen as the servant first."
Robert K. Greenleaf
In Part One, we learned about Hur, the son of Caleb, a Jew whom Exodus 17:8-13 records as helping Aaron hold up Moses' hands to secure a victory against the attacking Amalekites. The Bible tells us little more about him. We can gather from Scripture's terse wording that he did his small job well and faithfully, providing an example that we can all emulate, most of us in the church being "regular Joes" who do our parts in service to God behind the scenes and without fanfare.
The next time Hur appears in the Bible is in Exodus 24:14. Again, the mention of him is almost in passing, but as Moses is about to climb Mount Sinai with Joshua to receive the Ten Commandments, he tells the elders, "Wait here for us until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur are with you. If any man has a difficulty, he can go to them." Clearly, Moses trusted Hur to be able to solve any problems that might come up during his absence. After this, Hur disappears from God's Word except for a couple of references in relation to other people.
The story of Aaron's failure to control the people in the incident of the Golden Calf (Exodus 32) is familiar to readers of Scripture. When Moses returned after forty days, carrying the tablets of the law, he questioned Aaron and severely punished the idolatrous, unrestrained Israelites for the raucous festival that they were having—but no mention is made of Hur, who was ostensibly second in command. Where was he?
The Bible does not record that fact, but tradition says that he was murdered after he courageously stood against the people's demands to make the Golden Calf. He evidently stood boldly for God, perhaps even alone, not even Aaron coming to his defense. Likewise, we must stand up for God, by ourselves if need be.
Shortly thereafter, Exodus 35:30-35 records God's blessing on Hur's grandson:
And Moses said to the children of Israel, "See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of artistic workmanship. And He has put in his heart the ability to teach, in him and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and of the weaver—those who do every work and those who design artistic works.
Deuteronomy 7:9 promises that God will bestow His favor on the descendants of His obedient children to a thousand generations. Our faithfulness now has an everlasting effect on the well-being of our offspring. Could it be that God chose Bezalel to build the Tabernacle because of Hur's loyalty to Him?
Bezalel (whose name, by the way, means "under the shadow [protection] of God") certainly knew of his grandfather's service, seeing that Hur gracefully worked in the shadows while others received the accolades. When God later selected him to be the general contractor to supervise the Tabernacle's construction, Bezalel directed the artisans who designed, built, and decorated the portable house of God, and again, the Bible says little in praise of him. Like Hur, he silently slips out of the biblical narrative once the Tabernacle was finished (except for brief mentions in I Chronicles 2:20 and II Chronicles 1:5 that add no new information about him). His grandfather's example of humble service undoubtedly led him to be the kind of man that God could use in this great commission.
The example that Hur set can be the example that we leave to our children and grandchildren. By our proper conduct, we show God's way of life, not just to our families, but also to our fellow Christians, our friends and acquaintances, and even those we meet on the street. In this way, we are all leaders of a sort, and each of us has an important part to play in God's work. As Baptist minister Alan Carr writes, "As we do the little things God gives us, we are telling all those around us that God's work is important in every detail."
We each have a part to play in the Body of Christ. God has placed us in His church to do His work, and He tells us in several places in Scripture that He will judge our works individually (Romans 2:6; 14:10-12; II Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 2:23; etc.). In the church, not everyone can preach sermons, work in the office, write articles, sing special music, or play an instrument in praise of God. But as Hur's example shows, we can all glorify God by remaining faithful on the occasions, be they large or small, when we are given the opportunity to serve.
When Mary of Bethany was criticized by some for pouring costly oil on Jesus' feet, He says of her sacrifice, "Let her alone. . . . She has done a good work for Me. . . . She has done what she could" (Mark 14:6, 8). In this vein, Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909), an American author, historian, and clergyman, wrote, "I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something."
Indeed, insignificant as it may seem, we can do something. We can certainly learn from Hur's example of faithful service: Do what we are asked to do, remain faithful to God, expect no accolades, and set a good example for others. God will be sure to turn our good works and example into blessings.