Friday in the Third Week of Lent

Exodus 35:30-36:1; 37:1-9

The Beauty of Holiness

Today’s passage of Scripture might leave some yawning.  Indeed, as you have noticed, we have skipped much of the passages which dealt with various laws concerning priests’ garments, the tabernacle, the lampstand, etc.  But we must recognize that every word of Scripture is inspired (2 Timothy 3:16), and all of it is for our edification.

It should not surprise us that, since worship is the most important thing God’s people do, God’s word should include much instruction about worship.  And much of this instruction concerns, uh, … well, furniture and sights and things.  Here, we read that God especially gifted Bezalel and Oholiab as craftsmen with skill in carving and cutting stones, in short, artistic design.  And they were to use this skill in beautifying God’s sanctuary.

This tells me that God cares about beauty.  Indeed, God is beautiful.  We tend to think that God is good and true.  But He is also beauty itself.  And for those who would say, “Well, that was under the old covenant,” I refer them to the Book of Revelation where heavenly scenes are filled with rainbows, crowns, altars, censors, flames, thrones, and so much more.  God cares about such things because He created them.  God made His creation to be used, and nothing in creation can be used to a higher good than when it is used in the service of the worship of its Creator.  And as our Lord assumed a body when he came to earth, and as he walked among the things of this world and was perfectly comfortable among them as their creator, and as one day even the earth itself shall be redeemed and restored (Romans 8:18-23), our Lord has sanctified all created things, and all things may be sacramental, that is, a means whereby God communicates His grace to us.

So, sanctuaries (holy places) should be adorned with beautiful things that enhance our worship of God.  I do not say that people can’t worship in a shack or in an open field.  But I do say that it appears both in Scripture and history that God has so created us that at some point, we construct a building, we set apart a place for worship, we adorn it with beautiful things (e.g., crosses, banners), at least as beautiful as we can afford, and we even set these things apart for special, that is, holy uses (e.g., baptisteries, altars, communion tables).  We are creations ourselves, and it’s hard for us to worship God without the aid of other created things.  And that’s okay.  May God give us more Bezalels and Oholiabs to adorn our sanctuaries, especially in a day that exalts function and practicality over sacrament and beauty.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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