Uri: Light in the Darkness
While cataloguing the genealogy of Bezalel, the Architect of the Tabernacle, we’ve exposed a stunning family history, filled with astoundingly audacious men and women.
His great great grandfather, Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, abandoned his household, history, and homeland to join the Israelite nation, before their freedom.
His great grandmother, Miriam and her mother, Yocheved, may have been the midwives who defied the Pharaoh of Egypt’s order to genocide the Israelite baby boys but instead spared and hid them like Moses.
Bezalel’s great grandfather, Caleb, overcame possible racial discrimination and served as the Tribe of Judah’s scout into the Promised Land, believing so intensely in God’s ability to help them overcome the giants that he challenged the ten fearful scouts and demanded they take the land immediately.
Bezalel’s grandfather, Hur, understood that daring stands are not limited to the battlefield, as the Battle of Rephidim would have been lost if Hur and Aaron had not supported Moses’ arms as he held the Staff of God. Hur also recognized that bravery is not only displayed against your enemies, but sometimes in opposition to your own people as we see in his attempt to stop the making of the golden calf, which led to his possible murder.
Bezalel’s father displayed a unique kind of valor, Uri was a shining light during one of the darkest moments of the young Israelite nation’s history.
Israel was at its lowest point after the creation of the golden calf and the murder of Hur (ref. [Midrash (Rabbinical commentary on the Old Testament): Tanchuma T’zaveh 10:10]). Moses prevented the obliteration of the entire Israelite population from God’s Righteous Wrath, but Moses still shattered the original set of Commandments when he reentered the camp. The Israelites were forced to drink the ash of the ground idol, subjected to a massacre by the Levites, and struck by a plague, decimating the people (ref. Exodus 32). God’s judgement was heavy upon them and there was still the lingering threat that God would “consume them” before they made it to the Promised Land.
It is during this episode we are introduced to Uri, as the father of Bezalel, and as the son of Hur.
Uri’s name is unique amongst the list of Bezalel’s ancestors as it is only mentioned five times (Exodus 31:2; 35:30; 38:22; 1 Chronicles 2:20; 2 Chronicles 1:5) and each time Hur is associated with his father’s name Hur.
As we’ve seen in previous articles, names were extremely culturally important as they marked how you were seen by the community and exemplified how you would be remembered. Constantly labeled “son of Hur” is important to understanding Uri and what his name means.
Hur’s name described a dark jagged hole where snakes liked to hide. Uri’s name is most often translated as “light” or “fire” and when coupled with his surname “ben-Hur” (meaning son of Hur in Hebrew) we begin to seen a poetic explanation of his role in the Exodus story.
Uri ben-Hur’s name meant light in the cave/pit/dark place.
Uri’s name is also prophetically symbolic of what happened next.
When Moses returned to Mount Sinai to engrave the second set of commandments, he made a special request from God: Moses wanted to see God’s Glory (Exodus 33:18).
Because not even Moses would be able to see God’s face and live, God devised a special plan in order to bless His Prophet. God would first place Moses in the cleft of the mountain, cover Moses with His hand as He passed, and then uncover Moses so he could see the trailing of God’s Glory.
In the pitch black darkness of a mountain cave, Moses was not frightened that God would abandon him permanently, but looked with anticipation, for the Glory, God would reveal, at the right moment.
Afterwards, Moses came down with the new tablets in hand and his face shined radiantly from even the limited exposure to God’s Glory.
It is right after this point that construction on the Tabernacle, by Uri’s son Bezalel, begins.
In many ways, Moses’ trust in God’s Promise, while in the cleft of the rock, pales in comparison to Bezalel’s previously listed ancestors. Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, left his free people and married an Israelite slave, praying for God’s Deliverance, during their harshest treatment by Egypt. Miriam and her mother defied Pharaoh, the most powerful person in the world, stopping Moses’ murder and possibly an infant genocide, at mortal danger to themselves. Caleb would later stand up against his fellow scouts to petition that Israel take the land from the giants, an unpopular position which would further isolate him from a population suspicious of his mixed-race background. Hur took on a supportive role to Moses when glory on the battlefield was available and may have lost his life challenging the creation of the golden calf.
All these characters feared God and trusted in Him when it was hardest, believing that His Promises would come to pass, knowing that God was on their side.
However, Uri’s promise that his son Bezalel would be the architect of the Tabernacle was now in question, as God was threatening to destroy Israel. After his father Hur’s murder, Uri could have doubted whether God was on his and his family’s side. With the deaths of thousands of people all around him from massacre and pestilence Uri could have thought his very survival was uncertain. But, like Moses in the blackness of the cleft of the mountain, Uri waited with readiness for God’s Glory to appear.
Because of the threatening shadow around him, Uri’s extraordinary fiery faith shines even brighter.
Through several successive generations, each step displaying their own daring devotion, despite the overwhelming circumstances they faced, God used His People’s unique talents and courage to establish the foundations for His Tabernacle as a place where His Spirit could dwell amongst them. The Holy Spirit’s Presence and Miracles will be seen in this new era and those who will be part of the PMT Campus, mirroring Uri, will serve as radiant lights contrasting the darkness.
Prepared by, Kent Simpson, Apostolic Prophet & Eric Sepulveda, PMT Administrator
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