Once again, I was pleased with the portrayal of the events in Part II of the series. All were very consistent with the record we have in the Bible. While some of the drama is speculative, I did not find any of it to be out of line with what we might expect, given the specific accounts of the events recorded in the Bible. Also, once again, much of the details of many of the events are left out. But that is understandable given the enormity of information the Bible gives us. The series would have to me much longer for all these things to be portrayed. Over all, I believe what is presented is sufficient to do justice to the account in the Bible without altering or changing the record in any way. This is a good thing, and unusual I believe, when it comes to TV presentations or depictions of events in the Bible.
The account of the exploits of Joshua, in particular, the battle to take Jericho were very consistent with the text of the Bible. It was interesting that the implication was made that what brought the walls of Jericho down was an earthquake of sorts. While that may or may not be true, I think it was made clear that it was God who cause whaever to happen to happen. In other words, the power of God brought the wallls down. Whatever means He used really doesn't matter. He could have used nothing but the power of His word and/or His hand. God doesn't have to use "natural" means (earthquakes) to do His will, be can if He chooses to. The point is, the destuction of the walls of Jericho was a miracle. God did it.
I was intrigued by the stature and size of Joshua. He wasn't very big and physically impressive as I had always pictured him in my mind. But that's ok. These things don't matter to God. What matters is our faith in Him and our faith in His promises and power. And Joshua clearly had that kind of faith. I was a bit dissappointed in the protrayal of the "Captain of the Lord's Army". I believe this to be another Theophony in the Old Testament, that is, a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. They did portray it this way in Part I when the angels came to Abraham about Sodom. One was clearly Jesus Christ. But it didn't seem they took the same position in this event. This appearnce to Joshua is probably my favorite passage in the entire book. The message is so powerful here. While Joshua seems to be worried and is trying to figure out the strategy he needed to employ in order to take this seemingly impregnable city, Jesus Christ appears to him and simply tells him to take off his sandels for he is on holy ground. In other words, Joshua was not to be concerned with how to win the battle, he was just to humble himself before the Lord and go to battle. The Lord would fight the battle for him and the Israelites. I just wish this was made more apparent in the presentation.
The account of the life of Sampson was also significantly consistent with the text of the Bible. For me though, the whole thing seemed a bit small. Due to costs of production, I'm sure that it was not feasible to create a picture of the size of these events, but given the descriptions in the Bible it just didn't seem big enough. Case in point would be the last event of Sampson's life when he pushed the pillars of the temple down. The temple just seemed too small and the number of people in the temple at the time seemed small as well. But nonetheless, the description of the life of Sampson, both with it's triumphs and failures, was pleasingly accurate.
I know probably many had questions about the ethnicity of Sampson as portrayed. Was Samson a black man? I personally don't think that matters. Samson was probably not black since the Bible tells us that his parents were from the Israelite tribe of Dan. But as with anything, the color of skin does not matter. It's about the condition of the heart. And the condition of Samson's heart was portrayed consistently with how the Bible portrays it. He was at times a man used mightily of God when his heart was right with God. But when he allowed his heart to be lured into pleasing himself and his flesh, he failed miserably. I've always thought Samson's life is a great example of opportunity lost and a gifted life wasted. Even though he achieved great victories in his life, there were great losses as well. Even though his final triumph over the Philistines was a great and powerful one, Samson lost his life in the process. It seems he could have done so much more for the Lord had he been more obedient. I think it's a powerful lesson for Christians today.
I was extremely pleased with how Saul was portrayed. It was very consistent with how the Bible portrays him, a very self centered man, willing to obey God (in most cases partially so) so long as it didn't interfere with his plans and his ambitions. His relentless pursuit of power and position eventually led him to turn on his own family and reject the will of God, especially as it pertained to David. In the end, he chose to kill himself instead of accept the consequences of his disobedience, yet the forgiveness of God and God's will for His life. This was all extremely close to how the Bible describes him and the events surrounding his life. Another lesson for Christians to heed.
Again, the events of the life of David as prtrayed are very consistent with the descriptions in the Bible. I was especially appreciative of the fact that David's adultery was portrayed as it was, disobedience to God and, therefore, totally inexcuseable. No attempt is made in the presntation to soften what David did or give reasons that would absolve him in any way for what he did. David committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband, Urriah. Amazing that a man so blessed of God would be this disobedient, yet this is consitent with the sin nature of any man if not kept in check by yieldedness to God and His Holy Spirit. The consequences for David were severe and justifiablely so. His reign as King was never the same after this, according to the Bible. But the grace of God comes through as well in the forgiveness that David receives from God and the promise of another son who would rule Isarel after him, Solomon. Sin is horrible and the consequences are hard and lasting. But God's forgiveness and grace are available to those who humbling acknowledge their sin and turn back to God, no matter what the sin is. Again, this came through in the presentation making it very consistent with Scripture.
Another good night I believe for "The Bible" series. Part III is this Sunday night, March 17th, on the HIstory Channel. Try to watch it if you can and look for my blog on it next week. Continue to pray that God will use this series in the lives of many people to drive them to His Word, the Bible. And as a result, many come to truly know the God of the Bible through His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. God bless.
Pastor Chuck Jarvis
Valley View Community Church