December 22, 2022
“So Moses summoned Bezalel, Oholiab, and every skilled person in whose heart the Lord had places wisdom, everyone whose heart moved him...”
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“So Moses summoned Bezalel, Oholiab, and every skilled person in whose heart the Lord had places wisdom, every one whose heart moved him, to come to the work and to do it.” Exodus 36:2
There are differing views on Judaism and its relation to art. We are well aware of modern Jewish visual artists, such as Chagall. One would be hard-pressed to examine film or television credits without noticing a strong Jewish creative presence. But what of ancient Judaism?
Often, the opinion is held that there is no significant visual art in Biblical Judaism and that the Jews lacked the aesthetic sense. This is mainly due to the influence of the Second Commandment, which prohibited idolatrous sculpture and other three-dimensional art.
Defenders of the Jewish artistic mindset could say that Judaism was determined to lift the God idea above the sensual and represent the Divine as Spirit only. It could also be said that art was not Israel’s calling. Whereas Greece’s legacy was Beauty, Israel’s mission was Righteousness.
But when it came to building His tabernacle and temple, God didn’t call the Greeks. He enlisted, of all the nations at His disposal, the Hebrew artists.
It is reminiscent of what the Lord told Zerubbabel through the prophet Zechariah concerning rebuilding the temple. “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by strength or by might, but by my Spirit says the Lord of Hosts.” Zechariah 4:6
In addition, Zechariah tells Zerubbabel:
“For who scorns the day of small things? These seven eyes of the Lord, which scan throughout the whole earth, will rejoice when they see a plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” Zechariah 4:10
What is the lesson? God has “equipped & called” YOU to work in His Kingdom. Tasks have been designed for you specifically. Furthermore, the Lord’s delight is when you respond with faith and enthusiasm. We must all work, but completion is not determined by our strength, might, or creativity. God’s guidance and favor towards His “faithful” ensures our success.
The highest artist is not the greatest master in self-expression but in self-control: The one who forsakes all & everything to follow the Lord.