The Value of Creativity: Lessons from Bezalel and Oholiab  

It can often seem that little value is placed on the talent of creatives. The education system in England ascribes little value to the arts, prioritising EBacc subjects in secondary school and diminishing the weight of subjects such as dance and drama. After the pandemic, 83% of musicians were unable to find regular work. Now, one in three artists in the UK believe that they will be unable to sustain their work in the creative industry. 

But regardless of what the world might say about the arts, creativity is a gift from the Lord – one that He values and treasures. If you have any doubts about this, let me talk you through the story of Bezalel and Oholiab and we’ll see where you stand then! 

You may – quite understandably – be wondering: who? They are easy to miss, tucked between the Golden Calf and the Ten Commandments in the latter part of the book of Exodus, and many will skim past their names without note. But these two characters give us a valuable insight into the value that God places in creativity. God chooses Bezalel to be in charge of creating furnishings for the Tabernacle, and appoints Oholiab to help him do so. Although easily overlooked, we can take three key lessons from their story:

  • Creativity is a gift from God 

We first meet Bezalel and Oholiab in Exodus 31, where the Lord says 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. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, to help him.”

God filled Bezalel and Oholiab with the knowledge and skills they needed to complete the task of furnishing the Tabernacle. He gave them the skills of setting stones and wood working to create the items, as well as the creative insight to make them beautifully. 

The ability to create is something that God has gifted to us, so we should use it!

  • Creativity is God’s choice for us

God didn’t fill Bezalel and Oholiab with this creative wisdom for no reason – He did it so they could make all the things He commanded them to. The Lord had given Moses specific instructions about how he wanted the design of the Tabernacle and ark of the covenant. 

God didn’t need to give these creative skills to Bezalel and Oholiab – we are talking about the same God who created the entire universe. He could have whipped up the Tabernacle with a click of his fingers. But he didn’t, he chose to use these two men to create it for him. He wanted them to be able to use the talents He had given them to glorify Him. 

In the same way, God wants us to use our talents to create things that glorify him. God doesn’t need anything, He could create anything he wanted, yet He chooses to work through us. 

  • Creativity is for anyone

Bezalel was from the tribe of Judah, Oholiab was from the tribe of Dan, and yet they worked side-by-side on the furnishings for the tabernacle.

There is significance in this seemingly simple fact – the tribe of Judah was one of the most important tribes, and the tribe of Dan one of the least. The tribe of Judah were known for their righteousness, and the tribe of Dan for their lack of faithfulness. Essentially, these two men came from opposite ends of the social spectrum, and yet God gave them both his gift of creativity, and used both of them to create the furnishings for the Tabernacle. 

Likewise, it doesn’t matter who you are or where in life you come from, you can use your creative skills to glorify the Lord.

So, today, on the International Day of Creativity, do something creative, and use it to glorify God! Whether you want to draw a picture, write a poem, bake a cake, sing a song, knit a square – whatever it is that you feel inspired to do, your creativity has value to the Lord.