Good morning my friends,
As I am studying early history and even looking at geography with my students I am finding it fascinating to see how societies organized themselves. From the very beginning our societies placed value on craftsmen and artisans. These were people who could invent, build, design, and fashion raw materials into things that were pleasing to the eye. Craftsmen are still highly valued to this day, but maybe more so by some than others.
Knowing this is very much in my fore thoughts I found it interesting that the Spirit would point out this passage this morning:
‘Then the LORD said to Moses, "See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts- to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you.’” (Exodus 31:1-6)
Eezalel, Oholiab and many others were given the skills by the Lord to be able to make the things that the community or society of Israel required. Suddenly these people were able to work with precious metals, were given the knowledge to cut stones, could work in wood and any other material that was necessary. These were skills and abilities that God gave to them.
It is sad to see that we have allowed the world to take over much of this while we have neglected it. The church is good at music but not as skilled as it was from many years ago. We make good choruses but gone are the years of the great symphonies. What of the great artists; the painters, sculptors, photographers, playwrights? What of the great architects? Our churches are dull and boring. Absent are the great works of art, the incredible designs, the rich colours. Now we have boxes that we worship in.
Some or perhaps most people would say that the church is not a building. Amen! I agree 100%, but neither are we told to strip our lives of everything beautiful. From the beginning God has inspired man to great things. He has been the inspiration behind most of the Masters and any of the great works that we value today. Does God not raise up the craftsmen any more? In this age of technology have we left behind the value of beauty? Did God intend for us to ignore his great works of art? Do we not feel inspired to great things as we look at his handy work? Do we not have that deep desire to express the deep things in us that words cannot touch? Has God really intended us to set aside the aesthetics of life? I do not think so.
I think we have gone down the wrong path, misguided by wrong understanding. I think we have allowed the busyness of life and society to strip us of the aesthetics that bring so much pleasure to our soul. I think we have allowed the garbage that passes as entertainment to desensitize us to that which is true beauty. When is the last time you sat quietly and simply listened to Mozart? When is the last time you read a great classic like The Pilgrim’s Progress? When is the last time you visited the museum of art or took in a theater production? When is the last time you watched the sunset or the sunrise, or sat by a mighty river or a quiet lake? When is the last time you read a poem or perhaps written a poem?
Our God loves beauty and he birthed in us an appreciation for beautiful things. He birthed in some of us the ability to fashion things into beauty. We should encourage these people. We should value them. We should splash our world in colour, music, and things of great worth that celebrate our God. God gave us the craftsmen so let’s enjoy them.