Twenty years ago, a cluster of women prayed together, calling forth and releasing creative Christian artisans to their God-given destiny. Multiple other clusters were doing the same. Since that time, an explosion of Christian artists in multiple streams have risen to fame. They are surging to the forefront, using their gifts and talents to bring glory to God.
Though it might appear new, the Bible, which was written centuries ago, applauds the value of artisans. We find the most famous accounts during the building of the Tabernacle in the wilderness and Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem.
God set the ultimate example of creativity when He spoke all creation into existence. In six days, God created the most magnificent of diversity — from the expansive heavens to the most intricate of organisms. Each functioning in perfect harmony and design with all others.
“Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.”
It took Leonardo da Vinci sixteen years to paint the Mona Lisa. The construction of the Notre Dame Cathedral spanned two hundred years, beginning in the 12th century.
Creative artisans the world over understand the painstaking labor of transferring internal imagery to tangible results. Yet, our Creator God released each element with ease in spectacular fashion.
How daunting, as creative artisans, to reflect our Creator through architecture, sculpture, music, poetry, paint, and more.
Oh, how I wish I could have witnessed His awesome splendor expressed in every detail of creation — to watch as heaven and earth exploded with brilliant light and vibrant color and as life streamed out the darkness.
On Mount Sinai, God instructed Moses to release creative artisans: perfumers, weavers, tentmakers, metal and wood workers, jewellers, and more — each skilled to work in intricate designs.
“All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the LORD has commanded:”
Bible versions express this passage in different ways calling these workers “gifted craftsmen,” “skilled and talented,” “gifted artisans,” and even “wise hearted.” Moses called out artisans from within the vast community of several million people — young and old, male and female — releasing creative artisans into active service.
Even today, the complexity of the design would be difficult for craftsmen and artists to replicate even with modern technology. These sandalled artists came with meager tools. Yet, their creative genius pulsed within them to create a worthy dwelling for the LORD Most High.
Two men led the troop of creative artisans, Bezalel and Oholiab.
“So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the LORD has commanded.”
Every artist possesses the God-given “skill and ability to know how to carry out all” the creative processes. Yes, artists train and hone skills. They collaborate and construct. However, God imparts the “know how” to get it done.
David desired to build a temple for God — a place where God would permanently dwell. He possessed the right heart. However, his son, Solomon, would be the one to carry out the plans. David designed the details and gathered the material, making massive preparations. He commanded Solomon,
“You have many workers: stonecutters, masons and carpenters, as well as those skilled in every kind of work in gold and silver, bronze and iron — craftsmen beyond number. Now begin the work, and the LORD be with you.”
1 Chronicles 22:15-16
Early in the process, Solomon sent a letter to the king of Tyre requesting cedar logs for the temple. The king responded generously!
“I am sending you Huram-Abi a man of great skill . . . He is trained to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, stone and wood, and with purple and blue and crimson yarn and fine linen. He is experienced in all kinds of engraving and can execute any design given to him. He will work with your skilled workers . . .”
2 Chronicles 2:13-14
A foreign king sent his very best craftsman to oversee the work of the temple — a man “of great skill” or “endowed with understanding” who could “execute any design given to him.” Amazing! Huram-Abi, an otherwise unknown man, came prepared, trained, experienced, and ready to be released as one of God’s creative artisans.
The magnitude of the task was incredible. Tens of thousands of workers achieved the goal in seven years, building and preparing the temple for God’s habitation.
Finally, when all was ready, the musicians stepped forward, “dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres . . . accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets” (2 Chronicles 5:12) Can you imagine? I can’t! But there was more!
“Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: ‘He is good; His love endures forever.’ Then the temple of the LORD was filled with the cloud . . . for the glory of the LORD filled the temple.”
2 Chronicles 5:13
God refused to listen from far away. He joined the celebration, filling the temple with His Presence!
The solitary work of creative artisans gives the impression that their impact may be insignificant. I cannot image a world without music and the amazing diversity of creative expression.
Throughout the ages, victorious armies often confiscated works of art, stripping defeated nations of literature, paintings, sculptures, and artistry embedded in precious metals. Palaces, museums, and even private homes were ransacked of valuables.
The Bible tells how Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, went even further.
“The king of Babylon also deported to Babylon the entire force of seven thousand fighting men, strong and fit for war, and a thousand skilled workers and artisans.”
2 Kings 24:16
Nebuchadnezzar considered the skilled workers and creative artisans to be too valuable to leave behind. He wanted them working for him. He knew the incredible value and influence these creatives possessed.
Release of Creative Artisans
Babylon means “gate of god” (notice the small “g”). It represents a system opposed to the true God. The enticements of counterfeit systems hold many skilled workers and creative artisans captive. But we have passed the threshold of release of Christian artists in every creative domain. Their talents are exploding on to the scene, having a dynamic impact as they use their gifts and talents to bring glory to God.
Those bound too long under domes of silence are being released and finding their voice. They are being promoted to stages and platforms. Their God-honoring expressions are being amplified across the globe.
Creative artisans arise! Sing the new songs of the Lord to this generation. Write like you have never written before. Sculpt and design! Be released! This is your hour to shine, reflecting the creative genius of God. Pray together. Work together. Build together. Train together.
When Ezra returned from Babylon to rebuild the destroyed temple, he brought back the creative artisans. When Nehemiah returned to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem, he, too, brought along skilled workers. The captivity in Babylon was a season.
The season of captivity has ended!