So God created man in his own image… Genesis 1:27 (ESV)
See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. Exodus 31:2-5 (ESV)
As we open the treasure trove of God's revelation to us in the Scriptures, we find, in the first place, God creates. Through and in and for His beloved and eternal Son, He creates/has created all things, in heaven and on the earth, visible and invisible. What can it mean, then, that we are made in God's image, if not at least that our inventive imaginations and the irrepressible desire to make things are fundamental to our human nature? In addition to our clever minds and immortal souls, God has blessed us above the animals with two key features: hands capable of the most intricate manipulation of objects and tools, so as to work out our designs in the physical world, and voices capable of the most diverse and subtle articulations of sounds, whereby we can speak and sing our minds to whomever has ears to hear.
Bezalel is a name alien to most people today, but if we desire to worship God and honor Him with our lives, we would do well to understand the heart of God revealed in this man's calling. Having given Moses extensive instructions regarding the institution of worship—Exodus 25–30 covers the dimensions and materials of the Ark of the Covenant, the tabernacle and its furnishings, as well as the vestments of priests and the rite for their consecration—God called Bezalel to translate all these verbal instructions into wood, metal, stone, textile, and space. Called by name (his name means in the shadow of God), Bezalel was filled with the Spirit of God, not to prophesy or preach, but to work as artist and architect and craftsman. And God made his work the unique seat of His glory for many generations.
As we live out our calling as God's image-bearers and vice-regents in creation, using the gifts and faculties with which He has endowed us, it is a godly desire that our works should be beautiful and good and true. For when the One whose image we bear looked upon all that He had made, “behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31). The artist, crafting an expression of reality with deliberate attention to rhythm and line, consonance and dissonance, color and texture and shade, honors and reflects our Father, the Creator.
As you pray today, let us, as the Church, seek the restoration of God’s ways in Arts and Entertainment:
Pray that as Christians we will remember the place of art in our calling to know and make known the beauty, goodness, and truth of God.
Pray that believers will use whatever talents the Lord has entrusted to us to bring Him glory and further reveal that glory to the world who does not know Him.
Pray that God will raise up many others like Bezalel who will craft the things of Heaven here on Earth.
Ministry Fellow, Christian Union at Yale
Selected Resources to Explore for a Cultural Revolution in Arts & Entertainment
ARTICLE: Why should we care about the arts? by Richard B. Hays
Christians should be attentive to the ways in which the character of our community is shaped by the imaginative spaces we inhabit, says the dean of Duke Divinity School.
BOOK (176 pages): Refractions by Makoto Fujimura
A collection of essays, thoughts, and prayers from award-winning artist Makoto Fujimura, Refractions brings people of all backgrounds together in conversation and meditation on culture, art, and humanity.
VIDEO (10:50): FolkPsalm
Charles Pettee and FolkPsalm perform psalms and other Old Testament Scripture set to folk and bluegrass music. In this video, Pettee talks about his spiritual journey and the creative process of presenting old texts in a new way.
BOOK (568 pages): How to Succeed in Hollywood (Without Losing Your Soul) by Ted Baehr
This practical guide shows Christian screenwriters, actors, producers, directors, and more how they can use their faith to change the culture of Hollywood and mass media entertainment by using their God-given talents to make significant creative contributions to the entertainment world.