Friday, November 03, 2006

One Night With the King

When last Wednesday I watched One Night With the King, I was struck by a series of parables. Biggest to me was that my God is King of Kings, which means the splendor of His court is greater than the Citadel of Susa. With marble steps, hangings, a tiered city, and the magnificent lion springing from behind the throne, my breath was taken away.

Next would be the butterfly effect. One act of obedience - or disobedience - can sway history. A king's insomnia changes the course of history. King Saul obeys half of a commandment, half a millennium earlier, as was his wont. Esther bravely enters the hall of the king. Still, that did not take her whole life to accomplish. Her courage took no more than a week.

Esther is compared to both David and Daniel. As Daniel refused the royal food in Babylon, she didn't adorn herself with anything except what her guardian gave her. David also declined taking Saul's armor to battle Goliath. She talks about David, saying his victory was not by fighting well, but by believing well.

The use of the story of Jacob and Rachel, one of the most curious stories in the Bible (which I might add the Thoenes just used in Fifth Seal), was especially effective in connecting the king's emotions to the revelation of Esther's heritage. Esther weaves the tale of Jacob and Rachel through the whole movie.

Esther was chosen by the king. In the Bible we aren't given any reasons. The king did what he wanted. God chooses His people. The Bible doesn't give any reasons. But God does what He wants.

King Xerxes was in the movie a man who deep down wanted truth and love, but in real life needed answers and someone to trust. Does that not resonate with you? In moments of worship we feel as though we could live on love and truth. Someone knocks at your door and asks you to do something hard, and suddenly you have questions. Who do you trust? How hard life is when you don't know that God is the ever-trust-worthy One!

Oh, how Esther prayed to God her Father! She sounded so humble and sincere, but also comfortable. Her prayers were familiar. The relationship she had with God (in the movie) was very real. She drew strength from it.

The lack of honor given to Mordechai for saving the king's life is reminiscent of our failure to honor God for His grace. No, we plot against Him instead.

When Esther answers the king about the value of love, "If it has a price, it is not love." I like those concepts.

There is a lot about democracy being biblically supported, with mention of Messiah (in a theatrically released movie!) who "will set all men free." "All men are created equal?" screams Haman to a violent crowd, "Are you equal to a slave?" He mocks the teaching of Judaism. His words might also sound familiar to students of American history.

My primary objection is costumes: I didn't receive one with the price of the ticket.

The queen is a night owl, preferring to walk and watch the city than to sleep. She reads, even having some Bible stories memorized. Children love to hear her tales. Esther lives looking forward, not back. She lives for others, but with joy, freedom, and penetrating insight.

To God be all glory.

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