IN GOD’S SHADOW by Scott Wesley Brown

I want to tell you about one of my heroes from the Bible. Not your typical sort of hero like David or Paul, but one whose name is rarely mentioned, let alone heard have. His name was Bezalel and he was an artist.
He wasn’t a singer or instrumentalist, but an artist whose resume' should be the benchmark of anyone who desires to serve the Lord through their gifts, musical or otherwise.

As I look at my journey of over 30 years in Christian music ministry beginning back during the Jesus movement, this is the standard to which I have aspired (or prayed that God would help me aspire to!) This is what echoes in my heart every time I feel the world (or Christian Music) squeezing me into it’s own mold of driveness and success.

"And Moses said to the people of Israel, 'See, the Lord has CALLED BY NAME BEZALEL the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; AND HE HAS FILLED HIM WITH THE SPIRIT OF GOD, WITH ABILITY, WITH INTELLIGENCE, WITH KNOWLEDGE, AND WITH ALL CRAFTSMANSHIP, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze,/ in cutting stone for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft. AND HE HAS INSPIRED HIM TO TEACH, both him and Oholiab the son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan. Ex.35: 30

There are several distinguishing benchmarks here in Bezalel's calling;
Being called by God, being filled by God with His Spirit, being filled with ability, intelligence, knowledge and all craftsmanship Inspired to teach.

One of the questions I am asked most often by aspiring young musicians and singers is "how do you make it?" What I think they mean is "how do I get going and get my songs out there?" Seminars on Christian worship music draw thousands of hopefuls each year. But there often seems to be a sense of “driveness” in their pursuit.

I don't believe I've ever been to a conference without someone handing a CD demo to me, urging me to give it a listen or to pass it onto someone in the industry. They almost always say, “God has called me…”

But what does it mean to be "called", especially as an artist in ministry or a worship leader. Today the worship side of the Christian music industry is where all the big sales are and many are jumping on the bandwagon who may or may not be called to be "worship leaders". Of course we are all called to worship. But there is a distinction between a worshiper and a worship leader in the same sense that we are all called to evangelize but not every one is called to be an "evangelist".

Genuine leaders operate out of a sense of calling, not out of a sense of drivenness. The writer George MacDonald has said somewhere that “real Christian leaders are people who are moved at God's pace and in God's time to God's place, not because they fancy themselves there, but because they are drawn."

The call to leadership in ministry must be a higher, more scrutinized call than a common call to a career in music. Just because someone is a great guitar player or singer doesn't immediately qualify him or her to be a leader. Character is the foundation, which upholds all the skill and artistic abilities.
The fact that Bezalel was "called by name” indicates a closeness with God. The Lord knew the character of this artist because he had taken him through the process. Process is often more important than product. Putting the product before the process is like putting the cart before the horse! Karen Lafferty, my good friend and worship leader before worship was cool has said, "Our recordings should be the fruit of our ministry, not the seed of it".

Knowledge, wisdom and understanding were the fruit Bezalel bore from the process. He just didn't pull it out of his hat one day. This is why the author emphasizes that Bezalel was “filled with the Spirit of God”. It’s interesting that the first person in all of Scripture described, as being filled with the Spirit of God, is an artist. That’s cool!

This is the arena that the Lord has allowed me to dwell in for so many years. I can easily lose focus and begin concentrating more on my gifts than on my call, and then more on my call than on the one who’s calling me. Getting all of this out of focus is what gets me into trouble.

What is God’s chief focus anyway? Is it the development of our gifts or the impact of our ministry? As important as our gifts are, God’s number one goal for us, and that for which He predestined us, is that we would be “conformed to the likeness of His Son”. (Rom. 8:29) And this is, as Paul states throughout the first chapter of Ephesians, “for the praise of His glory!” A hint to us worship leaders! We minister in that tension of being on stage or upfront where everyone can see us, yet our responsibility is to point them away from us to Christ! Hence the Baptist's statement "He must increase, I must decrease" (John 3:30)

This is what Bezalel not only reflected in his own life, but in the lives of those he was inspired to teach. Bezalel’s legacy was not only the tabernacle he was commissioned to build, but also the lives of those he discipled in both “art and heart” for the praise of God’s glory!

By the way, the name Bezalel means “In God’s shadow”. That is where I want to be!

Views: 19

Comment by Junjie on October 2, 2008 at 9:04am
Great article! What you've written here is food for thought... :)
Comment by Michael Cornett on October 3, 2008 at 5:20am
Great blog, great insight, excellent points and very inspired. It's easy to see why God has used you through the years, because you stay focussed on Him. We each need to be, not just willing but empty vessels, for him to use as He sees fit. I've always been so driven, I guess it was the way I was raised with such high expectations. It took me getting sick and not being able to do anything for a long time, to realize that it wasn't me taking care of business all those years, but the Lord was preparing me to be able to turn to Him to fulfill all my needs. I'm a better person and christian, because of the suffering I went through for so long. Now I can see that my talent is incidental to my relationship with God. He doesn't care so much about what I actually accomplish, for He's more concerned about what I'm trying to accomplish. It's more about the heart and the intentions and motivations we are chasing after. We all want to save the world, but it starts by saving one person and that person is me. From me, I can move on to someone else, and then another and another.
Comment by Scott Wesley Brown on October 3, 2008 at 3:16pm
Thanks for your kind words and your great insights as well.....
Comment by Scott Wesley Brown on October 14, 2008 at 3:27pm
James, Thank you for your response. I have several thoughts. First of all I think that anyone in the Christian music ministry whether it be leading worship in a local congregation or touring should have the heart of Bezalel. I am not against promoting songs but the success we should strive for is "heart" success. One thing I learned in all my years in the "industry" is that the music business is unfair. This goes for both secular or Christian music. There are many great artists and songs that will never get heard while others who may not even be as good are discovered and promoted. It's just the way the world works.
But as Christians we have a higher calling. We are not called to be "successful" but to be "faithful" no matter where God places us. This is the struggle we all face, especially if we think more comercially.
I think I hear your heart and your frustration. I share that, now that I am no longer with the big labels. But I have to remind myself what the ultimate goal of my life is about and that is to cultivate a strong relationship with Christ. Let me know if this answers any of your questions.
Comment by Kevin Watkins on August 7, 2009 at 4:41pm
HI Scott. Great to come across your posts here.......I actually saw/heard you back in the late 80's before I became a Christian, when a Christian friend dragged me to some church basement in our area up here in Canada....where I bought your "All My Best" **cassette**!:-)...still have it actually:-)......and now...some 20 odd years later, I've been leading worship in my church (that started in 88') for the last few glad to have come across this site and found a great leader to read/listen to.........thanks for your "In God's Shadow"'ve actually reinforced the reason's I've made some of the choices I made in the past:-).....Blessings to you and yours........


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