Articles & Devotionals
God the Artist
Have you ever stood in front of a great work of art and just stared at it in wonder?
Art seems to be a universal quality of humans. Not that every person is an artist, I can’t draw a straight line, but that every culture ever studied has had some form of art expression. From the ancient cave paintings of animals, to the mosaics of the Roman world, to Michelangelo’s sculptures, or walls of Aztec temples, some expression of art has been found.
I read a recent article that discussed Rembrandt’s painting Nightwatch and that super high-resolution photos of it are available online. While I cannot travel to Amsterdam and gaze at the painting first hand, I now can use my computer to zoom in on the smallest detail of this masterwork and be amazed. People are astonished that the artist used four different colors of paint to create the effect of a twinkle in the eye of one figure. The figure of a dog, before was hardly notice, now can be seen with his collar and tag. Anyone can now gain a whole new appreciation for the artist’s genius.
But while I have never seen Nightwatch first hand, or gazed at Michelangelo’s Pieta’ in wonder, I am familiar with another artist and their masterworks. I sit in my back yard and wonder, “Why did God paint a cardinal with such a vivid red color?” Part of the answer is found in Psalm 19 when David tells us “...The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” While David urges us to look up into the night sky and have its beauty take our breath away, the same applies to the colors and flight of the small red bird that God so beautifully painted. But what does that mean?
Have you ever considered God as an artist? He values beauty in a flower, making the colors and shapes complex, vibrant, beautiful and infinitely varied. The birds are not just painted in beautiful colors, but are filled with music, each species singing a different song. He values the beauty of the giant mountains and the colors of the smallest insects.
But his greatest masterpieces are described using these words.
The cause of joy
These masterpieces from the Greatest Artist, the God of Heaven can be mine! I cannot hang the Mona Lisa in my home much less carry it everywhere I go, but what God has created can be mine every day.
(7) The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
(8) The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
(9) The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.
(10) They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
At this point the discussion of Psalm 19 often breaks down each word and thought and connects them back to a principle of behavior. Those are important lessons to learn, but like looking at the Rembrandt painting with a microscope, we lose something by not looking at the whole image. We might miss God the artist
God has told us to look at His works in joy and wonder. Jesus tells us to look at the birds and the flowers, (Matt. 6) and see how they illustrate the love of God. . The words, lessons, wisdom, warnings, all a true, beautiful, eternal and worth more than any work of art. The Word of the Lord is the masterpiece filling our hearts. We are told to use music (sing) to Him in praise and to sing to each other to teach, encourage and comfort one another with our voices.
God has given us art far more beautiful than any human artist could, and he wants each and every one of us to own, use, and share that beauty and joy with those around us. God the artist painted the stars of heaven and he painted a little red bird for me.