This past week, Dr. Collins, my biblical studies professor and a mentor in faith, died. I trekked through Egypt, Jordan, and Israel with him, tracing the steps of the saints who had gone before us. In the Sinai, (then) 65-year-old Dr. Collins hopped up the mountain crags with the energy of a school boy to view a newly discovered inscription: “Behold, the furnace of Oholiab!”, written in a script that was a cross between hieroglyphics and Hebrew letters. At that point, I had not heard of Oholiab, one of the artisans mentioned in Exodus. But Dr. Collin’s excitement and love of biblical archeology stuck with me. The ground at the foot of this mountain also showed evidence of metal smelting. Here was proof that said “Oholiab was here.”
This fall, I was searching the Scriptures to learn more about worship and the arts, and I encountered Oholiab again. Exodus 35 says: “See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel… 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts. 34 And he has given both him and Oholiab… the ability to teach others. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers.”
Four cool things about this passage:
#1. God gives the artists their SKILL. How awesome is that? As a musician and a writer, HE is the source of my abilities. Therefore, I cannot take pride in MY skill, because HE gave it.
#2. God wants His artists to use their ability for His Kingdom. Back then, it was to make the Israelite’s house of worship, the Tabernacle. And now, the artist’s skill should be used for the Church, for HIS honor and glory.
#3. God wants artists to TEACH their skill. We need to be instructing the next generation or those who want to learn. Sometimes, it may look more like mentoring.
#4. Oholiab and Bezalel didn’t work alone. Neither should we. We should surround ourselves with fellow God-following artists in our field to encourage each other, not compete with one another.
So, Dr. Collins, your life and legacy of serving the LORD are as lasting as Oholiab’s. Your work and passion for God will live on, testifying “Dr. Collins was here!” in the hearts and minds of those you impacted–and this blog page as a digital mountain inscription.
Please leave your own “inscription” about Dr. Collin’s impact on your life as a comment. How has he influenced your life and your walk with God? If you did not know Dr. Collins, perhaps there was someone else who has made a lasting impact on your life you’d like to share?
For Dr. Collin’s Obituary click: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/berkshire/obituary.aspx?n=oral-collins&pid=162420682#fbLoggedOut
I love biblical archeology. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks, Michael. I always appreciate your blog AND your comments:)