I was born the year that Cecil B. DeMille released his epic, star-studded movie “The Ten Commandments.” Needless to say it was a few years before I actually saw it. I don’t remember the first time I watched it, but I’m sure it was on television and that means I saw it in black and white. It made a tremendous impression on me. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that it shaped what I believed about the Bible.
I didn’t realize for a long time that Moses was not a fabulous public speaker with a big booming voice – just like Charlton Heston. But Exodus tells us that Moses was not a good speaker at all. He probably had some sort of speech impediment. He even tried to use this as an excuse to God for why he was not the one who should be sent to Pharaoh to demand the release of the Hebrew slaves. God insisted he was the one to go but that he could take his brother, Aaron, with him to do most of the actual talking.
My favorite character in the movie was, and still is, Yul Brenner as Ramses the Pharaoh. Actually, for a while he is Pharaoh Jr. until he father dies and leaves him the job. In the movie Pharaoh Jr. and Moses grew up together in the palace and were both friends and rivals (especially for the affection of Ann Baxter as Nefretiri who is not mentioned in Exodus.) I thought Yul Brenner made a fabulous Pharaoh. He was regal and commanding. And when he issued a royal order he would conclude it with, “So let it be written, so let it be done.” I’ve always wanted to say that after issuing a command. Okay, I have said it.
Today’s reading was Exodus 20: 1-17. You guessed it – the ten commandments. I honestly can’t read or hear these commandments without thinking of Cecil B. DeMille, Charlton Heston, Yul Brenner, and Anne Baxter. But once I do get past this drama in VistaVison and Technicolor, I am amazed.
I am. God’s name. God’s existence. I am the Lord your God and you shall have no other gods before me. If we were truly able to keep that one commandment we wouldn’t need the other nine or the 603 other laws listed in the Hebrew scriptures.
You shall have no other gods before me. I am the most important thing/person in your life and you should not be worshiping anyone or anything else. Come to me and bring yourself – all of yourself, all you have, all you are, all you think and do. Come to me and lay it before me for my use.
The more I try to do this, and let’s be honest I am only successful part of the time, the more at odds I find myself with the world; with other people – even people who claim that they believe this too. For some reason a lot of people believe it applies to me more than it applies to them, or maybe they just don’t understand how it does apply to them. Yes, God is asking for everything. All of us. Imagine what the world might be like if even a few more of us understood and laid it all down before God.