I’ve been to a couple of movies this year that have been about God’s people. By God’s people, I mean people who have had a true experience of God in the way He reveals Himself in creation, His Word, His Son and our hearts. The best place to begin to open your heart to God’s story is to read the Bible with the guidance of the Holy Spirit to illuminate the story of God’s inconceivable love (yes, on every page of the Old Testament, made clearer if you start with the Gospels).
So, when you attend a movie on a spiritual topic written and produced by people who do not have the advantage of the wisdom of God, you can expect that they won’t be able to emphasize what a true believer knows to be vital. However, I receive great spiritual benefit when I watch movies and television shows through the eyes of God. I am utterly amazed that God’s truth comes through even if the intention was to discredit Him.
I viewed both movies Noah and Exodus: gods and Kings. Neither followed the Biblical accounts and both exposed the spiritual darkness of the writers, directors and producers. Ironically, the plague left out of the Exodus story was the darkness that fell only in the land of the Egyptians. Here are two great stories of redemption of a loving God for undeserving, despicable people. The true biblical accounts are cataclysmic overshadowing the intimate details of people’s reactions and story line. Both films depicted the cataclysmic events in truly artistic ways that aided my imagination towards accepting and remembering the events of the flood of Noah, the Plagues, the Red Sea crossing and defeat of Pharaoh. I wanted to see both films because of the trailers that alluded to these scenes so familiar from my reading but I had never seen on a big screen—the closest I could ever get to being there. These events were one time mighty acts of God. They are meant to be remembered. I wanted to conceive of them in a new light. Both films reduced the God of the universe to a pouty, punishing, unfair entity who held all the power and showed no love.
I had to tolerate the spiritual ignorance of the writers and directors. How could they get this right? Even if they were believers, it would only have been a human conception of words. Who can conceive of the work of God? I don’t attend movies to get true biblical teaching. I go to church for that. I attend movies to become motivated and inspired by a story. I like to leave not feeling that I have wasted my time. I liked that the movie helped me look at the real people who are foraging through a real experienced and a real God (in spite of the director’s personal beliefs). The hardship of slavery, the indulgence of kings, the confusion about figuring out God’s will, and the overwhelming task of leading so many people from a revolt to a new land; were brought out in this film. The religious and historical inaccuracies were abundant.
What I love most is that if the director understood his audience more, he would have definitely strayed away from depicting God as a little boy. God is never humanized by Jews or Muslims. He could have reached a wider audience without God made flesh. For me, God depicted as a young boy shows that the Exodus, this redemption story, was only a precursor to the true redemption that was planned. Jesus is the only way true believers see God in human form. This is only because God put Himself in human form to help us to see Him better which shows the full extent of His love. He revealed Himself as a grown man on a real cross bloodied by our sin.
You don’t need to see the film to know the God whose story it is; but if you do, watch it through God’s eyes or you will be totally disappointed. What can we expect from someone who does not fear (reverence and adore) the Lord? The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise (Psalm 111:10). What can we expect from the God whose story this is?