Exodus 31: The Resident Artist

I mentioned on Friday that I was experiencing a little bit of “Law Fatigue.” It’s not easy studying this stuff day after day! My life is difficult.

But hope remains! I think I may have reached the end of this section of the law. Having read Exodus 32 before, I know some juicy stories are just around the corner. Huzzah!

Cribs

So God has just spent the last several chapters laying out his plans for the Tabernacle. This is basically his sweet blinged-out pad where he hangs out with his people.

And he doesn’t want to fill that place with junk from Goodwill or Ikea. No sir. His stuff falls into the “fancy-schmancy” category, provided that your definition of “fancy-schmancy” includes “splattered blood is ok.”

God let Moses know how everything would be paid for, but he didn’t tell him who exactly would be building this stuff. I mean, it’s tricky! You gotta know how to carve wood, work gold, taylor a suit, cut gemstones, and make potpouri.

Oh, who will do this!?!?

Don’t worry. God has it covered.

Meet Bezalel

'Paint Brushes Close-Up' photo (c) 2010, Craig - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

While Moses was up on the mountain, probably wondering how his 80 year-old hands were going to make this stuff. God had called Bezalel by name.

Bezalel is the kid all the other art students hated looked up to.

This guy is a real renaissance man. Check out his profile:

. . . I have filled him with divine spirit, with ability, intelligence, and knowledge in every kind of craft, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, in every kind of craft.

Not bad huh?

And if you are wondering how he is going to do all that by himself, his skillful assistants are ready to put their hands to the hammers and their fingers to the filagrees.

Art Matters

If you haven’t read Alise Wright’s post on Exodus 26, go do it before reading the next section.

Back? Great!

Here is something I didn’t expect to find in Exodus: A man empowered by the very Spirit of God to . . . make art.

He isn’t a warrior. He isn’t a politician. He isn’t a prophet. He isn’t a priest.

He is an artist. And a damn good one at that. And his mission? Make God’s house look awesome. That’s it.

I can’t say for sure if he had such great skill before God called him or if God supernaturally endowed him with his gifts. Either way, this God values art. He values aesthetics.

Architecture tells a story. The Tabernacle is mobile. It is a tent. It has places you can go and places you can’t go. That means something.

Art also tells a story. The people will look at this Tabernacle, at the artwork and craftmanship and know something about God.

That He is beautiful. That he is creative. And that he is unlike anything they have seen before.

What else did you notice about Bezalel’s profile?

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10 responses

  1. Maybe I’m crazy, but the stuff I read around here could be in a book. You should pursue that if you ever have the time.

    As for the post, it was awesome. I love the way you modernize the text, i.e., stating his “profile” (like we have on Facebook or something).

  2. I think this is why I love Exodus so much, even though it can be dry, what with all of the law handing out and repeating at the end. Tucked in the midst of all of this is a call for artists. When the arts are so often marginalized in the Church, I deeply appreciate this.

      • Whoops, yeah, sorry. I should reword that, because the way I originally worded it was, as you pointed out, incorrect.

        This is the first time a person is said, in-Bible, to have been filled with the Spirit. Way before Pentecost. Bezalel didn’t get tongues or healing or prophecy or teaching . . . he got wisdom/understanding/knowledge (often included in “lists of gifts”), as well as metalworking/jeweling/woodworking/arts-n-crafts (typically left off of “lists of gifts”).

        It raises all kinds of sub-questions in my mind, which make too long a list for just a comment. But yeah. First “filled with the Spirit”.

  3. Ahhhh! Loved this chapter and post! I’ve been having a bad case of Law Fatigue too! This was a breath of fresh air! Loved how God points out that he designed B. with intelligence, ability, and craftsmanship… I feel like today we often times belittle our God given gifts, but God specifically designed him this way, to fulfill the purpose God had for him! He’s smart! He’s crafty! He’s super talented! Used this chapter to encourage a shy, super talented family member today to walk in CONFIDENCE that she was designed perfectly and for a purpose by her Father! Thank you, Moses, for this perfectly timed encouragement!!

  4. Thank you, Brother!

    Ever since the Reformation, it seems, artists have kinda’ gotten a bum deal with ministry. As one gifted with artistic ability and a clear call to ministry, it has taken me a LONG time to figure out what the heck I’m supposed to do with my talents. I’m pretty sure I’d be a lot further along ministering with the talents God gave me if there’d been a little encouragement from the Church. We need to hear more of this stuff! We need more encouragement to be PROUD of the talents Dad has given us! Thanks for the post!

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