I LOVE the 1956 movie, The Ten Commandments, directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, and Anne Baxter! Seriously, one of my all-time favorite flix. But I’ve always wondered if it REALLY represented Egypt–historically, biblically, truthfully. Or is it purely good cinema?
The Good News Is:
A lot of that beloved film is historically–and BIBLICALLY–correct! Isn’t that nice to know? God bless those screen writers and Cecil B. DeMille for maintaining the integrity of their research and presenting a story that’s both entertaining and educational.
But when I re-watched the movie recently with my mom as “research” for my new book (tough assignment, huh?), I was surprised to see good ol’ Cecil emerge from behind the opening curtain to introduce the film. I’d forgotten his introduction–but it’s etched into my heart now.
Cecil’s Proclaimed Theme:
Cecil didn’t make me wade through scene after scene and act after act to discern the theme of his production. He stood right there at his opening curtain-talk and proclaimed the theme outright:
“Are men to be ruled by God’s Law? Or ruled by the whims of a dictator like Rameses? Are men property of the state–or are they free souls under God?”
Consider the world stage when this film released in 1956. Hitler had been defeated ten years earlier, and holocaust terrors were still fresh on minds and hearts. And in America, Mr. DeMille’s theme would have struck the heart of another struggle for human justice. Wikipedia lists 1955 as the genesis of the civil rights movement–a time when “free souls under God” would have resonated deeply with those striving for racial equality.
What Should My Book’s Theme Be?
As I considered the width and breadth, height and depth of this epic movie, I shook in my boots! What weighty matters would my little book address? Did Pharaoh’s daughter have anything profound to say to today’s culture?
World peace? Racial reconciliation? Balancing our nation’s budget? (Eeee-gad!)
These questions came, of course, after I had already plotted the whole story. I panicked, trying to fit into someone else’s mold. Trying to make the story what I thought it SHOULD be.
But What Did God Intend It To Be?
Of, course, I’ve learn this lesson years ago. And again. And again, and again. I must walk the path on which the Lord places me. But what if I don’t like my path? What if I want to be on someone else’s path? What if another path seems wiser, better, more productive? What if someone else’s path has bells and whistles and all that’s bright and shining?
Ugh. My path is mine because the Lord loves me and knows me better than I know myself. So, guess what? My theme isn’t the same as Cecil B. DeMille’s theme.
The theme for the story of Pharaoh’s Daughter came from the lesson you’ve just read–the lesson I must relearn from time-to-time.
We find our true identity in God alone.
I’ve discovered in God’s Word and through my research that our nameless Pharaoh’s Daughter had NO IDENTITY apart from the one, true God. She only became her true self when she became truly God’s.
What’s the Purpose of Cecil’s Movie?
Good ol’ Mr. DeMille not only divulges his theme in the beginning, he also tells us what they hoped to accomplish by producing this film. And in this Mr. DeMille and I totally AGREE:
“It was NOT our intention to create a story but to be worthy of the divinely inspired story created 3,000 years ago in the five books of Moses.”
Does that give you chills or what? The story was already lived out in real life, written down for history by Moses, and has now been told and retold for millennia. Can you imagine a Hollywood that didn’t just make a story to tickle your senses or waste a few hours of your life? Bravo!
What’s the Purpose of My Forthcoming Books?
My hope–my prayer–is that the Holy Spirit will use my stories of Moses (through the lives of Pharaoh’s Daughter and Miriam) to draw you back to His Word, the divinely inspired story, where God Himself can speak to you in person.
When Will The Moses Books Release?
Unfortunately, we’re all going to wait a while to see how God uses these books. Pharaoh’s Daughter and Miriam (neither book has been titled yet) will release in 2015 and 2016. So until then, grab a DVD of the Ten Commandments, and check out a wonderfully researched portrayal of Moses’s story!
Next week, I’ll tell you a little about the research process they used for the movie, and how it’s similar–and different–from my research.
Grab some popcorn, and enjoy Cecil, Charlton, Yul, and Anne!
- Is the 10 Commandments movie just good cinema, or does it show Egypt historically and biblically?
- Consider the relevant themes of the 10 Commands movie, and then ask: What Moses could teach today?
- Read Pt 1 of What I Love About the 10 Commandments, and share what movies impacted you spiritually.
- What movies have had a lasting spiritual impact on you? Why?