New Series: Bezalel and the Creative Spirit of God

Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.” (Exodus 31:1-5)

Here’s a mind-boggling truth to start your week: The very first person the Bible says was “filled with the Spirit of God” was not Adam or Eve. It wasn’t Abraham. And it wasn’t Moses. It was a creative named Bezalel.

On the surface, this seems startling. But I would argue that in singling out Bezalel in this remarkable way, God is simply reminding us of something He’s been saying all throughout time: creativity is central to who He is and who we are as His image-bearers.

After all, the very first thing God reveals about himself in Genesis is His creative spirit. Before He showed us that He was loving, holy, or just, God showed us that He is a God who works. A God who’s productive. A God who creates.

And of course, Jesus revealed this same creative spirit when “the Word became flesh,” spending 85% of his adult life as a carpenter, leveraging a skill set very similar to Bezalel’s.

What is God showing us through all this repetition? He’s showing us that work and creativity are not meaningless “fringe” things. They are central to who God is and who we are as His representatives in the world.

This means that while some (like Bezalel) may be “filled” with more of God’s creative likeness, all of us are creative because we are all made in the image of God. As Jen Wilkin says, “Even those of us who would not call ourselves [creative] recognize our ability to combine several average things into something above average. We take piles of data and turn them into pie charts. We take eggs, butter, cheese, and onion and turn them into an omelet. We are not creation-optional beings.”

All of us create, and in doing so, show the world what God is like. The object of Bezalel’s creative endeavors illustrates this well.

Bezalel was filled with the creative spirit of God in order to build the Tabernacle—a physical representation of “the universe the way it ought to be” with God at the center of it. The Tabernacle was essentially its own world, with everything pointing toward God. So when God called Bezalel to create the Tabernacle, He was inviting him to mimic God’s creation of the earth in Genesis, thus bringing glory to God by emulating His creative Spirit to others.

You and I won’t build a literal Tabernacle today. But as we go to work, let us remember that as we create, we are revealing the character of our great God. Let us allow that truth to motivate us to create with excellence as a means of most accurately reflecting our Creator.


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