Snapshots: Day 80
The Snapshot: “I have filled him …. to make artistic designs.” (Ex 313,4) Where people start getting overly super-spiritual, I love the thought that the first reference to being filled with the Spirit in the Bible is to enable a guy to be a great artist or craftsman! If only we could get less defensive about being filled with the Spirit (which we feel because we realise we can’t make it happen – we can only get thirsty and He does the rest) we could see Him as the resource that enables us to be great at whatever He gives us to do, and expect Him to bless our enabling to do it well: making pots, making tapestry, knitting, crocheting, making music, using wood, and so much more, and when we do, like the Tabernacle, it will reveal something of the glory of God with us.
Further Consideration: Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder. William Barclay once used this to describe how a person can have no music in their soul. He cited a man who took a friend to a great orchestral work and the man was very casual about it afterwards; the man had no music in his soul. He paralleled it with the person who can read the Gospels and be unmoved by the person of Jesus.
But I think this goes much further. How many, I wonder, gaze upon God’s creation with little appreciation? How many look at a piece of turned and polished wood with no emotion? Or look at a piece of art, whether it be a painting, a sculpture, a tapestry and so on? Yes music, and art for that matter, can convey the emotion of the composer or artist and sometimes there is a sense of angst conveyed, but what about the wonderful works created by those people not weighed down by life, people who simply expressed the wonder of what they feel about their materials? You don’t have to be an artist to appreciate a painting. And all these are gifts given by the God who is a Creator.
I find something strange about this verse today because it is God gifting a man so that he can make something beautiful. Now the Tabernacle could have been just a tent, but it wasn’t, it was a beautiful structure brought about by those who had been filled with the Spirit to do that. Now I think there is a danger in worshipping in a beautiful building (I worship in a modern beautiful building) and it is that you can get caught up with the building and not the presence of the Holy Spirit. But that is a danger that God is obviously not bothered about when it comes to creating the Tabernacle. It is to be a building that stands out. I am not sure about buildings that cost millions of pounds when there are poor people all around us, but I guess there is a happy medium, something midway that is beautiful but does not mean purses are left empty, unable to care for the needy.