Does God value creativity and art? Today’s reading clearly shows that He does! Led by Moses, the Israelites’ most talented artisans did their very best creative work to honor God with the building of the tabernacle. While our imagination can be used for sinful purposes, as the people displayed when they created a golden calf idol, it can also be used for righteous purposes, as was done here.
Among his other leadership gifts, Moses was a skilled administrator who learned from his father-in-law (Exodus 18). The tabernacle project, however, required a different skill set. For the construction of Israel’s national worship center, God gave specific directions and specially gifted two men, Bezalel and Oholiab, with the artistic skills needed to lead the work (Ex. 35:30–36:7). Moses, Aaron, the priests, and Levites supervised the work in general, but these two artists and their team handled turning God’s instructions into physical reality.
Quite a few forms of art were involved: The artists and craftspeople sewed the priestly garments, including pieces that held precious jewels, one for each tribe. They built the altar of burnt offering, the altar of incense, the basin for washing, the lampstand, the table for the showbread, all the curtains, and of course the Ark of the Covenant.
Moses inspected the completed items in today’s reading. The key here is the people’s total obedience: “The Israelites did everything just as the Lord commanded Moses” (vv. 32, 42, 43). Our impressions of the Israelites might be negative, but they did have bright moments of faith and obedience as well. Many scholars see in verse 32 an echo of Genesis 2:1. The basic idea is that the events of Exodus represent a new beginning in God’s plan to redeem creation.
>> Your artistic skills can be used by God! Think today about the ways you can use your skills in writing, painting, drawing, cooking, or singing. How can you honor Him with these gifts?
Today we pray for the creative and artistic people in Your church. Raise up leaders who will affirm their talents and help them use their gifts to worship You and build up the body of Christ.