Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Exodus: Gods and Kings

  As with the movie Noah, which came out last year, I was greatly excited to see another movie based upon a story from the Bible.  Exodus is one of the most epic books of the Bible, and the story of the release of hundreds of thousands of Hebrews from bondage in Egypt has been one of the archetypal stories of human history!
  Of course, with most epic 21st century movies of this caliber there are the usual accoutrements of sweet special effects, dramatic music and compelling acting.  I loved this movie for all those elements.  But, this story is one where one of the most compelling character duels is the battle between the supposed gods of Egypt and the God of the Hebrews (Yahweh).
  I could wax on quite a bit about the details, but what interests me more is the theology presented, even though there are parts which deviate from the biblical storyline, it is worth seeing for two reasons.  First, yet again, Hollywood has handed Christians a theological conversation on a silver platter.  You don't have to work very hard to share your faith with a non-believer when they are seeing elements of your core story (the Bible) portrayed on the big screen!  It baffles me how some Christians can sit back and even boycott a movie like this or Noah when clearly you have a wide open door to talk about the God you believe in!  This is a great opportunity!
  The second observation is that this movie portrays faith more closely to the biblical witness than I have ever seen.  From the beginning Moses (played by Christian Bale) describes and lives out the faith of a believer as a wrestling.   In one of the earliest scenes he is talking with an Egyptian higher up official about the Hebrews, and he corrects the official on the name Israelite - it means they wrestle with God. 
  That is what faith is.  Faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, faith that continues with the life of Jesus Christ and continues through the Church today is a wrestling.  We wrestle with who God says He is, and how He operates.  We wrestle with His commands to Love Him, Love Others, and Love ourselves (and Love our enemies). 
  We wrestle with hope and fear, love and wounds, sin and grace.  We wrestle.  This movie talks about that a bit, but more than that, Moses lives it. 
  Watch the movie, engage the theology (how it talks about God) and then discuss it with friends.  There are people who need to know that our faith is deep and multidimensional.  Above all, there are people asking questions about the God we say we believe.  In order to share with them what our faith means, we too, need to be wrestling with God.  That is how we are shaped more and more into his likeness.

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