Posts Tagged ‘tabernacle’

Okay, I guess technically the first artist in the Bible is God, but today in my devotional reading, I got to Exodus 31, which tells us about Bezalel. If you haven’t read this chapter, as a Christian creative, you need to. As we read through the previous chapters, Scripture takes a break from the story of the exodus from Egypt to give us some very detailed instructions from God on how the tabernacle and all it’s implements, as well as the robes for the priests, incense, etc. are to be constructed. I can almost imagine Moses going, “Lord, I’m not an artist, how am I going to do this?”

Then in chapter 31, God answers the question. God fills someone with His Spirit and gives him gifts to create all that is required. This is incredibly good news for those of us in the church with a creative bent. As far as I can see, this artist, a man named Bezalel, is the first person listed in Scripture to be filled with God’s Spirit. His artistic, creative gifts, come from God, and, just as all good things do, so do yours. You might say we creatives have a Bezalel anointing, though I don’t want to push that too far. Instead, I want to look at something related to our call. God’s specifications for the Tabernacle were very exacting and He gifted Bezalel to meet those specifications. As discussed in an earlier post, there was still plenty of room to create within those boundaries, but the boundaries were very important.

If you go to the next chapter, we see the first recorded misuse of creativity by God’s people, the golden calf. This is the polar opposite of Bezalel’s calling. Here an image was made that not only had nothing to do with the Lord, but was specifically the opposite of what God wants us to do with the skills He has given us. People created in God’s image are not supposed to create gods that fit their image of what God should be. They had just seen God part the Red Sea, dispose of the most powerful army in the world at that time, and free them from 400 years of captivity. It’s only been a few days and already they’re making idols to lead them back to slavery. That’s the only thing an idol can do, enslave us and I think that’s the point.

There is immense freedom in living God’s way and we have immense creative freedom in God. He created us to create. The question then is what will we do with our freedom? Will we use it to honor God or turn away from Him? The best thing we can do with our creative freedom is to submit our gifts to the Lord.

When we are submitted to Him, we are truly free!

This morning in my devotions, I was reading Exodus 25 and I came upon the God’s instructions for the implements to be used in the Tabernacle. I am always amazed at the level of detain God gave Moses in these plans, so here’s a thought. What if we took these instructions and drew them. What would the finished piece look like? That’s the challenge for the week.

Exodus 25: 31 “Make a lampstand of pure gold. Hammer out its base and shaft, and make its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms of one piece with them. 32 Six branches are to extend from the sides of the lampstand—three on one side and three on the other. 33 Three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms are to be on one branch, three on the next branch, and the same for all six branches extending from the lampstand. 34 And on the lampstand there are to be four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms. 35 One bud shall be under the first pair of branches extending from the lampstand, a second bud under the second pair, and a third bud under the third pair—six branches in all. 36 The buds and branches shall all be of one piece with the lampstand, hammered out of pure gold.

37 “Then make its seven lamps and set them up on it so that they light the space in front of it. 38 Its wick trimmers and trays are to be of pure gold. 39 A talent of pure gold is to be used for the lampstand and all these accessories. 40 See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.

Verse 40 is the boundary. It has to be exactly as God described it. I think you’ll see something very important in this. Even with the parameters very clearly provided, by God no less, there is still room of creativity and maybe that’s the point. Sometimes the boundaries help us to know what us to do and give us just what we need to create something wonderful.

Happy creating, Share a link to your work in the comments.

Today in my devotional reading, I found myself in Exodus reading God’s immensely detailed plan for the tabernacle of Moses. I am always struck every single time I read this passage by how detailed it is. There wasn’t a lot of room for creativity on this project. God had a very specific way that He wanted everything done.

Here’s a video from that shows part of the plan.

Creativity is one of God’s greatest gifts to us, not just those of us who are “artistic” but for everyone who has ever faced a problem. In much of our lives when it comes to creativity, the sky’s the limit, but then there are other times. In these times we need to respect God’s boundaries and His plan first and foremost.

This is especially true of God’s Word. Anyone who has read more than one of my posts will know I am all about finding creative ways to present the Gospel to the world around us. I believe God has given us immense flexibility for creativity in this area and that He has given us immense creativity for this very purpose. To find new ways to reach people with the truth that can and will set them free. There is however one area where creativity is neither needed nor allowed and that is with the Word itself. It is the Word of God and God has given it to us just as He wanted it to be. We dare not do anything that changes the meaning of what He said. When we either add to the Word or subtract from it, we remove it’s power because it is no longer God’s Word.

God has a really specific way and a really specific plan. We deviate from the Word at our peril. In these times creativity has to take a back seat, we must surrender our will and our way and follow God’s plan to the letter.

Isn’t that what it means to submit our creativity to God?

In Exodus 26:1 God said to Moses “Make the tabernacle with ten curtains of finely twisted linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, with cherubim worked into them by a skilled craftsman. 2 All the curtains are to be the same size—twenty-eight cubits long and four cubits wide.[a] 3 Join five of the curtains together, and do the same with the other five. 4 Make loops of blue material along the edge of the end curtain in one set, and do the same with the end curtain in the other set. 5 Make fifty loops on one curtain and fifty loops on the end curtain of the other set, with the loops opposite each other. 6 Then make fifty gold clasps and use them to fasten the curtains together so that the tabernacle is a unit.

 7 “Make curtains of goat hair for the tent over the tabernacle—eleven altogether. 8 All eleven curtains are to be the same size—thirty cubits long and four cubits wide.[b] 9 Join five of the curtains together into one set and the other six into another set. Fold the sixth curtain double at the front of the tent. 10 Make fifty loops along the edge of the end curtain in one set and also along the edge of the end curtain in the other set. 11 Then make fifty bronze clasps and put them in the loops to fasten the tent together as a unit. 12 As for the additional length of the tent curtains, the half curtain that is left over is to hang down at the rear of the tabernacle. 13 The tent curtains will be a cubit[c] longer on both sides; what is left will hang over the sides of the tabernacle so as to cover it. 14 Make for the tent a covering of ram skins dyed red, and over that a covering of hides of sea cows.

Why did I read that passage? To remind us all something about God. These are just the first parts of God’s plan for the tabernacle from Exodus 26. The plan goes on for many, many pages and covers everything from the construction of the tabernacle to the undergarments worn by the priests. It is extremely precise. God has a specific way He wants it done and he expects it to be done exactly that way.

God gifted these two guys named Bezalel and Oholiab to do the work of creating the intricate art of his tabernacle. The Bible says of Bezalel “(God) has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts— 32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship. His talent and his abilities to create art are a spiritual gift, how cool is that? But look what it says in Exodus 36 1 So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the LORD has commanded.”

I spend a lot of time encouraging people to live very creative lives and to do very creative things and I believe with all my heart that creativity is a gift from God but I also believe with all my heart that God has a very precise plan for the universe. The best way for us to honor God with our lives and our art is to submit our creativity to God. When we do this we will truly be using our gifts as God intended. Make your creativity your offering. Give it to God and prepare to be amazed by what He creates through you.

Bible Reading Guide
An important part of following God is knowing what He wants and a great way to know what He wants is to read His Word. Follow this plan and you will finish reading the Bible in a year.
Exodus 27,28; Psalm 10
You can also download your own chart here.