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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Bitter and Sweet (05/28/09)

TITLE: Bitter Sweet Commandments
By Kathy Davidson
05/29/09


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One of my favorite movies is The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston and Yul Brenner. I remember as a child anticipating its broadcast each Easter. I loved the overblown, pageantry of the movie made by Cecil B. DeMille, master of the epic.

As an adult I realized why the movie was broadcast at Easter and why the Old Testament scriptures were so important for the Jew and for the Christian. The story of the "bitter bondage" of the Jews in Egypt and the "sweet" promise of the Deliverer was not only a reminder to the Jew of deliverance, but a picture of Christ on the cross.
The passing over of the Death Angel depicted with the serving of the Passover meal God's Deliverance in Moses for the Jew and for the Christian, Christ death on the cross as the sinless Passover lamb whose death delivers us from the bitter bondage of sin.

Bitter as defined by Webster states its definition includes, "acrid taste, hard to bear, causing pain, intense hostility or hatred, hard to admit or accept, and cynical". And what better word than bitter describes the characters, plot, and theme of the book of Exodus.

The Jewish slaves, Moses' family, bitter from the years of slavery at the hands of the Egyptians, bitterness in the form of hardness and pain.

The Egyptians, Ramses, Sethi, Nefeteri,
Cynically bitter, who or what is greater than Egypt? There is no chance of a "Deliverer", who is greater in the entire world than the Egyptian culture, the Egyptian kingdom.

Of course, the movie takes some liberties with the Scripture, yet it does bring to life the human conflicts that can occur when man puts himself on God's throne.
Moses leaves the comfort of Egypt and joins his people in bitter bondage. This decision leads to his killing of an Egyptian and to his bitter experience in the wilderness of his soul as he is condemned by exile. Ramses thinks that he is in charge of Moses destiny but it Moses led by God into the wilderness to find his true mission not his life in Egypt but his life as a shepherd. A shepherd was of all occupations, a one most despised by the Egyptians. The Egyptians were farmers and saw the shepherd and the sheep as death to his crops. Art and historical records show that Egyptians were prejudiced toward sheep, seeing them as unworthy of eating or for sacrifice to the Gods. From the throne of the Pharaoh, the golden staff of royalty, to the desert tent of Jethro and a wooden staff, the experience of Moses remains one of the true comeback stories of the Old Testament.

My husband was stationed in Germany during the Vietnam War. He tells the story of walking down the streets of Germany and seeing the chocolate pastries in the windows. He finally broke down and bought one. Expecting the high sugar content of the American pastry, he took a big bite and promptly spit it out. The German bakers use the bitter sweet chocolate and a lot less sugar to sweeten, they like the chocolate taste of dark chocolate, unlike the Americans who are used to the very sweet milk chocolate. He judged the pastry based on his experience, what he thought would be sweet turned out to be bitter, and as he stated a waste of his money. He threw the uneaten pastry in the trash. Ramses thought he was throwing Moses in the wilderness, the wasteland, to be beaten into the “dust from which he came.” But God had other plans for Moses life. He took the bitterness; a life turned terribly wrong from the palace of Sethi to the wasteland of the nomadic Jews and turned it into the sweetness of deliverance. Life can give us bitterness, but if we let God, he can turn the bitter sweet.

God the author of the reversal of destiny in the story of Moses we find the sweetness in God's will for Moses as the Deliverer. And what should we take from the bitterness of the Jews in bondage. That no matter who causes our sin bondage, ourselves, our circumstances, God stands ready with a Deliverer, Christ the true Passover lamb. “Oh how sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His Word…” Take Him as His Word.


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Sara Harricharan 06/04/09
I like the old version of the Ten Commandments too. It's much better than the new one.

I enjoyed this read and I never knew that about pastry. Hmmm, interesting to think of it as bittersweet. Good job!
Shirley McClay 06/04/09
Excellent opening... you hooked me in! It felt like it didn't have a strong flow to it.. kind of disjointed at times, yet I still thoroughly enjoyed it. I especially loved your pastry example!
diana kay06/10/09
good stuff! I liked the way you linked the film , the bible and a personal experience. I do think that this worked well. There was only one point when I lost the thread a bit which was the part when you talked about Egypt as I was not sure whether you were referring to modern day eygypt or the past. The addition of "ancient" before egypt or old testament egypt would just help the contextural flow.