“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.” Exodus 20:4a N.I.V.
There is no explanation for it, that urgent need within the artist to create. Art, especially these days, comes in many different methods of creation and presentation. But, today let me skip the whole” what is art and what is not” side of artistic expression for what woke me one morning this week was the question, “What does God’s Word say about art and the artist?”
Disappointingly I found no direct scripture speaking to art or artists other than the craftsmen called upon to build the tabernacle under Moses. (Exodus 25 through 28) Here God called upon those skilled in sculpting, dying, architecture, wood work, tailoring, embroidery and those with abilities to work with precious metals and gems. Reading the description of this sanctuary my artistic eyes imagine the beauty it possessed.
Music, literary works and dance are also mentioned in worship to God. The Old Testament holds some of the best poetry I have ever read in just the books of Psalms and Ecclesiastes. So I have no doubt the talents, gifts and craving to create comes from God. After all, is there any greater artist than God Himself whose creation in turn inspires us to create?
In the reference material I read on art in the Bible it was noted that Israeli artistic contributions from Biblical times is mainly literary works. The Bible itself an example of these works. The very reason for less preservation or mention of other artistic endeavors may very well be Exodus 20:4a quoted initially on today’s blog.
Whether your artistic medium is paint, thread, gold, stone, wood, egg cartons or words it can be used to glorify God. If our artistic products can bring just one person to think of God when they read, hear, experience or see them then are those artistic talents not used by God? I think so.
Giving others a glimpse of God through my art is what I pray for. There was a time when writing, music and crafting was my dream, my passion. Those things didn’t fit well in the professional business world, although I was always blessed to be able to be a bit creative on every long term job I had but one. So I stopped making art as often and sometimes for long stretches of time because my physical energy was consumed by a career. Fortunately, one blessing my unplanned disability retirement has brought is the time to be creative a lot more often.
No one but me and God may ever appreciate my creative expressions but it is a lot more” me” than forcing myself to be the shaped peg the work environment needed me to be! Art and the talent to create it are like all of our abilities in all areas of life, we can use them for God or not. That free will God gives us allows us that option. As for me, I think I will be…
Coloring for Jesus!