Bezalel and Oholiab: artistry, craftsmanship, and pleasing and acceptable worship

In Exodus 31, we are given  a very unique insight into God's sovereignty over art.

Moses has gone up the mountain to speak with God and to be given the tablets of the Law.  A part of this Law contains two names: Bezalel and Oholiab.  Bezalel was a metalworker and Oholiab worked in tapestry.  God told Moses that he had given them their abilities for the purpose to build the Tabernacle and all of its furnishings.

Prior to this day, these two men had most likely begun their craft like we all do: green and terrible.  However, through their hard work and dedication (most likely, I am making a case from silence - but there is no indication of overnight divine success, rather that their wisdom, knowledge, and understanding were attained like all wisdom, knowledge, and understanding - through hard work and dedication), they achieved a level of mastery that was (again, most likely) unmatched.

Regardless, these men had the capabilities to make something that would be acceptable and pleasing to God by God's standards (which we can all agree are perfect), and those capabilities were granted to them by God Himself, for the purpose of building the Tabernacle and its furnishings.

What they did before and what they did after their work on the Tabernacle we do not know.  What we do know, undeniably, is that they had little to no input on the design of the Tabernacle and its furnishings.

In the chapter, God give extremely specific detail in the design of the Tabernacle.  He has a specific purpose for every image and for every detail.  God's design is flawless, and straying away from it would ruin the design, the meaning, and take glory away from God.

So how does this apply to us?  We are songwriters and musicians.  We have been given talent to steward, but how much freedom do we have?  Are we, like Bezalel and Oholiab, held to a specific design that we merely craft, or are we allowed to have our own voice in the matter?

Furthermore, if we believe God has given us a song to sing, does that in any way give our song a higher level of authority?

Hold up.

I can already see your response forming on that first question.  If we have a strict design, where is it? Of course we have freedom to write what we want. Right?

However, that second question is extremely important to ponder.  If God does give me my song - if I do work hard to write a message I believe He will find pleasing and acceptable - how authoritative is it?  Can God give me a song that is not authoritative?  If God doesn't give me the song, is it pleasing and acceptable?

Whoa. Right?

Ok, so this is what I believe.  I have friends that disagree, but this is where Scripture has led me.  The Psalms are our design.  Some of my aforementioned friends believe that the Psalms are sufficient for Christian worship and that is all we should sing.  I think that argument is valid, but I disagree.  I believe the Psalms are the blueprints for us to follow.  The Psalms contain the images and the details that add up to a pleasing and acceptable offering.  The Psalms are a sufficient guide for us to meditate on and digest so we can use our craft for God's glory.

God has given me a song, but that song is rooted in God's own Word, and the Psalms is where God has chosen to keep his catalog of divinely inspired and approved songs, through which we can gain wisdom, knowledge, and understanding for the specific craft of Christian songwriting.

So, when was the last time you read through the Psalms.  It has been a bit too long for me.

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