Since the early stages of mankind, artists of the day have used imagery in their drawings to relate and preserve stories of their era. In countries where Cave Drawings have been discovered they have served as confirmation to other historical documentation. Drawings of floods, famines, as well as animals fleeing from fires are just some of the images explorers have uncovered over the centuries.
Since mankind has long recognized that artistic talents could draw images to record actual events, it is not surprising that Art would be created to depict the Heavenly Creator. Dedicated hands can take stones and create works that glorify God.
In Biblical times, the people of Israel were highly advanced in Literature, Music and Science, but were surpassed by other nations in the area of Arts. This is likely due to God’s commandment not to “make idols for yourselves; neither a carved image nor a sacred pillar shall you rear up for yourselves; nor shall you set up an engraved stone in your land, to bow down to it;” (Leviticus 26:1).
The Apostle Paul also warned against this in Romans 1:22- 23, “Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man – and birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things,”
It is quite probable that the LORD God was referring to images like the Golden Calf and Baal Gods that turned the people of Israel from true worship to that of idolatry. This commandment even caused confusion within Israel for when the children of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Mannasseh built a great impressive altar “as a witness between us that the LORD is God,” the other tribes initially accused them of rebellion (Joshua 22:10-34).
Anointed with the Spirit of God
“Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship. And I, indeed I, have appointed with him Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and I have put wisdom in the hearts of all who are gifted artisans, that they may make all that I have commanded you” (Exodus 31: 1-6).
God’s supernatural empowerment upon Bezaleel was for the purpose of making ‘artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship.
Bezaleel received a divine impartation for architectural design and engineering execution. God also appointed Aholiab to work alongside Bezaleel in addition to putting skill ‘in the hearts of all who are gifted artisans’. According to this verse, what artisans eventually produced with their hands was a reflection of something greater that God had deposited in their hearts. (From “Anointed for Business” by Ed Silvoso).
The anointing up Bezaleel and the artisans in stone, colours, design, and architecture was to build the Tabernacle of Moses, a place where the LORD GOD could put His name and His glory.
This is a template of the manner in which artists are to build the Kingdom of God. Their creative works are to be according to what the LORD has commanded and put in their hearts. When artists submit to the LORD’S leading, they can expect to receive all kinds of creative ideas and colours to complete a design which will contain the glory and spirit of the living God.
A prophet to the craftsmen
As a prophet to the Jewish craftsmen, Ezekiel used Art to portray the LORD’s messages. A truly gifted artist, he was a musician and singer (Ezekiel 33:32-33) who used mime and drama to act out riddles (17:2). The LORD instructed him to build a sculpture on a clay table to depict the upcoming siege of Jerusalem (4:1-3). As a writer he supernaturally received the date of the Babylonian siege against Jerusalem (24:1-3).
Jesus was an artisan
Matthew, a disciple of Jesus, in a reference to Jesus as the carpenter’s son, uses the Greek word Tekton. Tekton means ‘artificer, craftsman’. Mark, another disciple, quotes a similar reference which specifically refers to Jesus as a carpenter, a Tekton. Neither Joseph nor Jesus were simple wood-workers. They were craftsmen, carefully making implements of wood. Jesus was an Artisan who worked with his hands.
Jesus is the Master Craftsman who as the Word of God is full of all colour and design. As Christian artists prayerfully seek input from the Master Craftsman they can anticipate all kinds of new and magnificent works will emerge from the work of their hands.