Spiritual Artificers

Bezaleel and his assistants took the rough-hewn members of the Tabernacle as they were brought, and by their patient and ingenious care, design and labor (e.g. Ex 31—NC), they gradually developed and perfected the character of each, till they were formed finally into one glorious and harmonious whole.

The important place given in the Word to the mention of these artificers may suggest to all who know and serve the Lord a consideration of the great value and importance of their work; and not only to those whose sphere of work is public and prominent, but as Peter says, “As each man hath received the gift, even so minister the same to one another” (1Pe 4:10). If there is by grace a faculty, there is also a responsibility. We are all given the care of the characters of “one another” (Phl 2:4). We are called to be careful artificers in human souls, so to care for, study and help one another as that the impression of the divine purpose shall be wrought out in each according to his position and capacity.

What work this is! There is nothing more important in the universe. How infinitely more important than all the carving and sculpturing in literal wood and stone could ever be, how important so ever it were. It is the spiritual artificer who had most right to say, “Art is long though life is short.” When Michael Angelo was told by a friend that some finishing touches that he had been weeks in giving to a statue were only trifles, he replied that all these trifles constitute perfection, and that perfection is no trifle. When told he worked slowly, the great artificer merely replied, yes, but that he worked for a long time.

The artificers of the Lord work for a long eternity: as eternity exceeds time, so does the work of the spiritual sculptor surpass the physical, but, alas, so does not his sense of the importance of his work, it is to be feared. Mutual soul influence is hourly going on everywhere for good or evil whether we recognize it or not. Let each consider whether the influence he is exercising on other is of Bezaleel or Beelzebub. Is the form we are carving to be a Galatea or a Frankenstein; to be animated by the spark from heaven, or the fire of hell?

Let us consider, too, that to exercise an influence for evil on one human being for a moment has a baleful effect that can perhaps never be cancelled, nor can it be compensated for by beneficial influence exercised on other, however large (being desirous of spiritual growth will not be hindered, but can only be delayed—NC). John Newton, who wrote hymns to centuries ago of such strength and grace that millions of Christians still sing them with great blessing—that men used to say he never could forget nor cease to sorrow for the bad effect of his own conduct on a young shipmate of his in his early days.

“So let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works” (Heb 10:24). Let us make it a matter of consideration, of thought, of effort, of design: endeavoring to produce in each the impress of God, the semblance of Christ; not using the same tools and methods with each, but having care as to what is appropriate. Nor let us be discouraged if some are more difficult to form than others. Beech and oak are much harder to work than deal, but the result is worth the extra labor. If there be knots in the wood—or eccentricities in the character—the patient and able artificer can often turn these to adornments by careful treatment. Who would not prefer walnut wood to pine? If there be a discipline implied in all this, well, then if the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness: here again, to be beautiful one must needs suffer.


—J C Bayley





If you like the teachings I’ve been sharing, I would strongly recommend viewing—as often as possible—the “None but the Hungry Heart” daily devotional by Miles J Stanford (also in book form). It contains the core of all the teachings of the materials I send; and it’s a one-of-a-kind source of spiritual growth and encouragement! The selection for this article is from May 11:


5-11. RELIANT REST

“NOT BY MIGHT, NOR BY POWER, BUT BY MY SPIRIT, SAITH THE LORD OF HOSTS” (ZECH. 4:6).

Our Father allows us to be independent until by that means we come to know our own weakness and need. “Strength is always the effect of having to do with God in the spirit of dependence.” -MJS

“Some say, ‘I want to feel that I am strong.’ What we need is to feel that we are weak (weak in self but strong in Christ—NC); this brings in Omnipotence. We shall have a life of feeling by-and-by in the glory; now we are called upon to lead a life of faith. What believer but knows from the experience of the deceitfulness of his own heart, that, had we power in ourselves instead of in Christ, we should be something. This is what God does not intend.” -J.N.D.
 
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