I walked into my favorite theater last night solo with an eagerness in my spirit to watch the pages of Exodus unfold on the drama of the big screen. I was early mainly because I was kid-less and had time to purchase the essential Diet Coke and popcorn before taking my seat.
The story of freedom from captivity of the Hebrew slaves because of the might of God visibly displayed and the significant use of Moses stirs my affection for the Book. I needed God’s might to free me from the captivity of sin and now that I am free, my deepest desire is to lead others to that freedom.
I sat as impatient as ever through the 23 minutes of previews waiting for what my eyes were about to behold. When the movie finally began I found myself literally sitting on the edge of my seat. Let me start by saying, I absolutely believe in the infallibility of scripture. If it is located in the pages of the Bible, I believe it absolutely took place or will take place. God has proven Himself to me too many times not to believe in its inerrancy.
Ridley Scott’s Exodus, like all movies, took creative liberty. It does not represent all details of all the events that are located in the pages of the Bible. It does represent the details that are important that we know because the ones that are in Scripture are given for specific reasons.
This movie, in my opinion, gave a great representation of the bondage of the Hebrew people. It also gave a good representation of the idol worship that took place amongst the Egyptian people. The plagues were well represented as the Egyptian people suffered as a result of the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart. The scene with the angel of death (the last plague) was well displayed in a very dramatic way as the Egyptian firstborn children were killed. The basic story line was kept pretty close to the plot in the Bible. After all the events in the Bible don’t need to be exaggerated too much.
Despite the good, there were many misses to the sacred story. The way the plagues took place and began were influenced by an alligator fight, definitely not in the Scripture. Moses only approached Pharaoh twice during the plagues and one was in the stable. This representation is false. God told Moses to “Go to Pharaoh” many times in the text. The plague of darkness was left completely out. Pharaoh put families to death by hanging for not turning Moses in to him. Again, creative liberty at its finest. Still, even with these “misses,” I found Exodus to be a much better than the movie Noah.
However, there is one major grievance most Christians will have with this movie. When Moses is supposed to be speaking to God, he speaks to a little boy. At one point Moses mentioned that the little boy was a messenger for God, but the exchanges between Moses and the child are weak at best and do not in any form represent how God truly spoke to Moses in the text. God didn’t have a messenger to speak for Him – God can speak for Himself. The boy never quoted scripture from the actual text in Exodus and the conversations that the two had were weird. I want to make it known that God directly spoke to Moses in the burning bush and it is represented here:
Exodus 3:7-10 (NIV)
The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
Clearly you see that there was no little boy speaking on behalf of the Lord. God speaks to Christians regularly and personally just as He did Moses.
The scene with the parting of the red sea was magnificent. There were hundreds of thousands standing at the foot of the sea, and it seemed like they were all going to perish. Then God moved the water back so they could cross over into Canaan, the Promised Land.
The movie captured the hesitation of the Hebrew people. They desperately wanted freedom and knew if they didn’t move forward they would perish, but they hesitated in crossing over into freedom.
As I watched this unfold, I thought about many of the women I encounter each day through my ministry and perhaps even some of you reading this article. You staring at the Red Sea that God has parted for you and yet you can’t seem to make the step to move forward to freedom.
I want to challenge you to take that step. Freedom from sin, addiction, lust, drugs, whatever it is has been cleared by God Himself in your life through His Son, Jesus. Move forward. In Exodus 14:15b, God says, “Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.” That message is for you today, go forward, it’s time to leave the bondage behind and embrace freedom.
I am so glad that movies about these biblical stories are being made, I just wish they were more accurate. However, unlike some movies that have come before it, Exodus stays closer to the spirit of the text. If Christians understand that the film is loosely based on the biblical story, they should have no problem supporting it and seizing the opportunity to discuss our faith in culture.