Gods and Kings may yet turn out to be another holiday turkey. Critics are already slamming it for being too long, too predictable, and badly acted. If Noah taught us anything last spring, it was that Hollywood has the capacity to suck all the joy and most of the truth out of any biblical story! But if you plan to catch the movie when it releases in a couple of weeks, here are four indisputable truths you should watch for.
1. The most amazing miracle in Exodus is the life of Moses, not the parting of the sea! It took God just about 12 hours to create a path through the sea for the Israelites, but he had already devoted 80 years to developing Moses and bringing him to that unforgettable moment. The Great Liberator was born to slaves who had no civil rights; should never have survived his basket boat ride past the hungry crocodiles and clumsy hippos in the Nile River; and ultimately managed to defy the most powerful political leader in the ancient world and wreck the national economy as well. He alone was able to meet with the invisible God face to face. Compared to the life of Moses, the spectacle in the Red Sea was just theater.
2. Moses was not a showman and did not want to lead this parade. When God came calling with a starring role in the drama of redemption, Moses politely asked to be excused- twice. The man had always demonstrated a heart for underdogs and oppressed people, but he also had an explosive temper and enjoyed solitude. Plus he didn’t enjoy public speaking! It’s because he was so ill-suited to lead an uncooperative nation on foot through a blistering desert, that his success could only reflect the amazing power of the One True God.
3. The plague that turned the Nile to blood was not caused by natural forces. Skeptics and movie directors have suggested dozens of scenarios which might have logically turned the Nile red. Gods and Kings envisions the historic waterway was flowing with blood after a battle. Other researchers have imagined the river filled unexpectedly with crimson colored algae or the spillover of mud from a flood to the north. But Exodus explains that even water already stored up in pots and basins also turned red.
4. God wanted to write a story that would reveal his unrivaled power and could be told and retold for centuries. He literally hardened the Pharaoh’s heart on several occasions so that the king would not surrender before the final act was done. In our world where man-made wonders and historical high points are routinely eclipsed and forgotten by the next generation, the story of Exodus continues to be retold, celebrated, and dramatized over and over again just about 4,000 years later. That was the plan!
Enjoy the movie, but don’t forget to go back and read the book. And lift up the cross!