Today I am launching my first guest post!
Randall Flinn is the Founder and Artistic Director of Ad Deum Dance Company.
To read more about Randall and Ad Deum, click here.
LES: This piece is something of a departure from what I typically share with you here, but I trust Randy’s ability to hear from the Lord in a truth-bearing way and I respect his faithfulness in writing this. What Randy has written very much dove-tails with my foundational beliefs about the role of Believing Creatives (Christian Artists and Craftsmen, including writers and photographers). I believe that God continues to speak to His people in the prophetic voice, and that often it comes through our artists and craftsmen. I believe that one of the roles of cultivating Beauty is to literally defend us against evil and deception.
I also believe in the reality of spiritual warfare. I believe that our faithfulness in being obedient influences dimensions and outcomes of spiritual reality. Cultivating virtue, character, fruits of the spirit, like the skills and craft of cultivating goodness, truth and beauty, are strong defenses against the strategies of our foe. We may not see externally how it plays out but real influence is made of everlasting significance by our obedience or lack thereof. Jesus talked very plainly about spiritual warfare, and history – as we know it now – coming to a conclusion. Each of us, whether believer or unbeliever, are flesh and spirit. No matter who we are, we live every day of our lives in two realms. Spirit and flesh. Every day. This is fact and truth. It does not make us safer or saner to resist acknowledging both sides of that reality. It only makes us less effective and lose opportunity to influence in ways we are created to. May your ears be open to what the Lord might say to you and may you be blessed in the listening.
The Craftsmen Are Coming!
by Randall Flinn
“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 manner of workmanship –
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).
Terrorism, wars, natural disasters, pestilence, human slavery and human sacrifice are increasingly on the rise in our modern “civilized” world. If education, technology or politics held the potential for healing the earth then we should all be free and safe and living in global peace by now. So for now, we still abide in this present dilemma, we are not free and we are not safe and humanity’s peace is far from being perfected. Our liberties, our securities, our defenses have failed us and day by day become weaker and unstable. The whole earth is shaking and losing its balance and it doesn’t seem too long away that we shall surely topple on our side, if not fall flat on our back.
We need salvation and we need deliverance that goes beyond human means. There must be a deep cry from our hearts for mercy and grace. We must look up from earth towards Heaven and call upon the Almighty God whom our culture has denied and turned its back to. As the whole earth moans with birth pains waiting to be delivered and made new once again, it calls to the children of faith to rise and take their positions as salt and light. It calls us to engage our world and remove the stones that stand in the pathways of righteousness. It calls to the Believer craftsmen, the Bezalels’ among us (Exodus 31), to take their place on the stages of this life, creating and performing redemptive acts and displays of grace and truth.
Craftsmen (skilled artisans, artists) of God, hear this prophetic call and summons from the Angel of the Lord: “Then I looked up and there before me were four horns. I asked the angel who was speaking to me, “What are these?” He answered me, “These are the horns that scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem.” Then the Lord showed me four craftsmen. I asked, “What are these coming to do?” He answered, “The horns are those nations that scattered Judah so that no one could raise their head, but the craftsmen have come to terrify them and throw down these horns of the nations who lifted up their horns against the land of Judah to scatter its people.” – Zechariah 1:18-21
This second vision of the Prophet Zechariah is divided into two parts: (1) The four horns (vv.18,19); and the four craftsmen (vv.20,21) The horns represent four strongholds and physical/spiritual dominions and powers that the Book of Daniel refers to as the oppressors of Israel, namely Babylon (Iraq), Medo-Persia (Iran), Greece (Syria) and Rome. The horn is a symbolic image of power and authority, comparing it to an animal whose strength is in its horns. It is significant to note that for every horn (vv. 18-19) that has displayed its oppressive control and pride, there are equal numbers of “craftsmen” of God that are standing ready and capable to cut off the horns and render justice to free, restore and rebuild what God has set forth.
It is vital to note that the four craftsmen were called to social justice and works of redemptive action. The righteous acts of the craftsmen would terrify the spiritual principalities and powers that were opposed to the rebuilding of God’s kingdom through their own acts of pride and wickedness. The craftsmen were agents of God, called at such a significant and crucial time in history to do spiritual warfare against four major strongholds (principalities and powers). They were summoned by the Angel of the Lord and called not only to tear down the strongholds, but to also rebuild. As the enemy was coming in like a flood, they were to rise up redemptive standards to lead the way to the reformation of God’s plans and purposes. Their duty was to help restore the nation to the ways of God and rebuild the temple of the Lord as a place of glory to His name.
May we ponder the fact that many “craftsmen of God” would be sent forth by the commissioning of His son. Twelve apostles would be called, appointed and anointed to tear down strongholds and speak of the redemptive power of Christ. Paul would be called to proclaim the power of His resurrection, the four Gospels, perhaps also representing the four craftsmen, would be written and the church of Jesus Christ, his people being built up as living stones by the Master Craftsmen/Carpenter himself, would flourish and carry His Word throughout the earth. A new temple would be built up, the temple of the Body of Christ, and the Spirit of the Living God would reside with power within those who believe and trust in Him.
Craftsmen of God, His servant artists, give heed to what is written, for it is for our admonishment in these fragile times. Know who are whose you are! You have been washed and made clean in the blood of Christ (read Zechariah’s vision of Joshua the High Priest). You have been summoned and called for such a time as this. Creation has awaited you to make your mark upon the arenas of this world. Do not busy yourselves with vain works nor be lulled to slumber in these dark times. Arise and shine for your Light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!
Seek the Lord; hear the voice of the Good Shepherd. You are His workmanship, created for good, relevant and redemptive works, that God has ordained from the creation of the world that you should be called to and walk within. Have a walk worthy of your calling. Let His Word dwell in you richly. Study to show yourself approved and put on the full armor of God! Fight the good fight and do not grow weary in well doing. Press towards the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Take up your mantle and tear down the horns of injustice, deception and pride. Take up your towels as well and wash the feet of soiled and broken humanity, even that of the bruised bodies of your fellow servants. You are a priest to God, set apart for this hour. Hear the voice of the Lord you His craftsmen and go forth with His treasure in these earthen vessels.
Pray, preach, prophesy, proclaim and perform to His Glory and honor. It is no longer your rod, your gift, your talent, your craft. It is the rod of God lay down at His altar and surrendered, restored to you as an instrument of His peace and vessel of His glory. The craftsmen of God are coming indeed, be sure of this, the time and season has come. You may be one of them if you are willing to broken, blessed and distributed to those with great hunger and need. It is God who calls and commissions the craftsmen. Without His power and spirit at work within them, they could never accomplish the mission on their own.
The craftsmen “have come to terrify them (four horns) and throw down these horns of the nations.” They are the not military warriors; they are the liberator-skilled artisans, filled by God with great gifting to grind the horns to powder and to help build a holy habitation.
My thanks to Randall for the countless ways he contributes to the richness of the creative community and his willingness to share this piece with us.