My family and have been watching The Bible on DVD for the past couple of days. While many Christians were upset that it did not follow the Bible more closely, we saw it as an opportunity to help our children visualize the stories of the patriarchs, Moses and his battle with Pharaoh, and the life of Christ. The acting is quite good, and the quality of production is high. There are numerous differences from the text and mistakes in the presentation of ancient culture, but I see those as teaching moments where I can tell my family “how it really was.”
Last night we watched the episode dealing with the exodus from Egypt. Each time one of the plagues devastated the land, Pharaoh screamed No! to Moses’ request that the Hebrews be allowed to leave. My heart went out to those poor Egyptians over three thousand years ago who suffered catastrophe. Because of one man’s arrogance, millions suffered.
The Ten Plagues weren’t just warning signs or punishments. They were victories in divine warfare between the God of the Bible and the gods of Egypt. Every time God shows his superiority. Each plague reveals the nonexistence of the Egyptian deities. Despite the suffering that wracked him and his people, Pharaoh refused to yield. Do we find the same attitude today? I think so. In fact, I’m sure of it.
The Egyptians had a very different mindset than the Hebrews. So do many people today. Rather than worshipping God and recognizing his Son as Lord and Savior, many people insist on practicing the modern equivalent of idolatry. Consequently, crime is rampant. Some who prize wealth and possessions will steal in order to satisfy their hunger for material things. Those addicted to alcohol or mood-altering substances destroy their own lives in pursuit of the next drink or dose. Within each person is a furnace of pride, which, if left unchecked, is ultimately lethal. And too many of us have a gnawing emptiness in our hearts, because we have tried to fill that need for God with something other than him.
The gods of this world still call out for worshippers. And there is a steady stream of them. But it’s our task as Christians to help them see what—or better, who—will truly make them free.