Monday, January 25, 2010
The Book of Eli
Set in the post-apocalyptic future after a major world war that the characters describe as "the flash", the scenery is filmed in a sepia tone, very bland grays, blacks and whites, which perfectly portrays the mood of the story. Sorrow, Loss, despair. This is not a "feel good" type of movie, nor is it a romance, not is it a action movie. This is a movie about destiny and the Bible. This is a movie about the battle between good and evil, darkness and light.
Denzel Washington plays Eli, a man who has heard from God. God showed Eli where the last remaining copy of the Bible was buried and then instructed him to take it west. Eli is so convinced that he has heard from God that he immediately obeys and begins on a harrowing journey that will last him the rest of his life. A journey in which he will suffer from thirst, hunger, and the violent acts of men. We meet Eli 30 years into this journey. He has almost reached his destination. We soon discover that along the way, during those 30 years, Eli has made a habit of reading the Bible every night. We see hints of his knowlege of the Holy Scriptures when he quotes passages from the Bible at opportune moments. We see that he is moral man who hates violence and refuses to polute himself with the things of the world. He has a peaceful strength and confidence about him that draws people.
But Eli is no whimp. When attacked by those seeking to do him harm or steal "The Book", Eli defends himself with great ferocity. He is a mighty warrior who dispatches the enemy with so much skill and strength that he leaves people in awe. But where does his strength come from? Might I suggest that it springs from his conviction and belief that he is doing God's will and that God has promised him that he will make it. Dare I also suggest that his strength comes from his knowlege of the Bible, for in those 30 years, he has no doubt read it over and over multiple times.
I must admit that throughout the film, I was tempted to believe he was a mighty warring angel. But I was glad to find out he wasn't. He was just a man, just a human, like you and I. Like Moses or Abraham, or Joshua or David. Just a man, but a man with a firm faith, a deep conviction, and the power of the Word of God on his lips and Holy Spirit in his heart.
The villian in the movie wanted the Book Eli had so much, he spent years looking for it. When asked by one of his henchman why, he said "Because it's a weapon." He couldn't have been more right.
Maybe I'm reading too much into this story, but it left a deep impact on me. It gave me a glimpse into the spirit realm and into the power of one person who knows God and knows His Word. And it also convicted me. They treated this one Bible so reverently, so preciously, it brought me shame. Even the bad guy when he finally got his hands on the Bible, kissed it and held it to his bosom. Do we do that? Do we cherish the Word like that? Or do we toss it aside after church only to find it in the same place next Sunday? When we open it to read, is it more out of obligation, or are we desperately hungry to read its precious words and hear from God Himself?
Might I offer you a challenge? One I intend to take up myself. I'm going to read my Bible more. Not just a couple of chapters a day.. I'm going to leave it open on my kitchen counter and every time I pass, I'm going to stop and read. And I'm going to start memorizing it too. As much as I can. I'm going to look at the Bible as a doorway into the house of God where I can meet with Him and hear His voice. I'm going to cherish it. I'm going to fill my spirit with its Words. Why? What else is more important? The church needs to wake up! We all have such a short time here. I want to be an Eli, an Elisha, a David. When you stand before God, what you did with His Word and His instructions is the only thing that will matter.
(Warning: This movie is rated R and has some bad words and lots of violence. Please do not let that deter you. Please, Christians, do not avoid this movie because of that. Its message is too good to pass up. And I, for one, hope that Hollywood makes many more movies like this!)