Many months have crawled through the calendar since I last saw a movie that so deeply touched me, challenged me, convicted me, and inspired me as The Book of Eli has tonight. I’m visiting friends in the Chicago area (again!), where I lead the youth group for a couple of years. Today a few of us went on a 12-mile canoe trip down the Fox River, and we all had a great time. Nate, the sixteen-year old I was in the canoe with, and I had a great mix of goofing around and having serious discussions. One thing we brought up was Scripture memory, and how powerful it is while fighting temptation. I was encouraged, no doubt, by our dialogue. Nate suggested that we watch the Book of Eli after we finished our canoe trek. I had heard good things about the movie, so I eagerly awaited show time…
Since I am highly recommending this movie, I promise I will not spoil the plot for you. The basic gist of the film is that the US had been obliterated by nuclear war. During the fallout, all of the Bibles had been burned, except for one. The main character, Eli, was given a directive from the Lord to carry this last copy of the Word to a specific location, all the way on the west side of the United States. Eli, played by Denzel Washington, had been walking for 30 years after the explosion. Single-mindedly, he walked across the country, facing rebels, cannibals, thieves, and other elements of darkness, focused solely on accomplishing what the Lord had commanded him to do. In addition to carrying the hardcopy of the Bible, Eli had committed to memory the ENTIRE Bible, in case he somehow lost the book.
Two major thoughts crossed my mind this evening while watching this movie. First, if my Bible were the last one on the planet, if I had to rely on the Scripture I had memorized for an entire lifetime, would I have enough? Would I recall enough of the Word if, somehow, my Bible was taken from me? Would I have God’s words so thoroughly “hidden in my heart” that I would still be spiritually fed any time I brought them to the surface? Would it be enough for a feast?
Second, how single-minded is my vision? I have goals, dreams, desires… most are good. However, if everything was boiled down to the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust, would I be capable of carrying out whatever my Father asked me to do? Would I be so concerned about my material possessions, my status, my needs, that my obedience would have constant competition? How about now, before any disaster strikes?
I am not saying these things out of a beat-up-Brandon frenzy. Not at all. These two thoughts are borne of a desire to draw closer to my Savior. I know my propensity to wander. I am aware of my tendency to get distracted. I can see my short-sightedness. In my weakness, God makes me strong. As I’ve been growing in my walk, it is becoming easier for me to acknowledge my failures and my shortcomings. Although I still try to buck the notion that I’m needy, I am. I am in constant need of the saving life of Christ. I am so grateful that He has made Himself available to us through His Word, through His Holy Spirit. I share my thankful heart here that He gives us what we need, all the time.
Psalm 119:9-11, 15-16
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping your word. I have sought You with all my heart; don’t let me wander from your commands. I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You…..I will meditate on Your precepts and think about Your ways. I will delight in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.”