Excerpt from Actor’s Devotional May 14th

Posted: May 26, 2009 in Devotionals

May14Simpsons McBain


Actor’s Devotional


“There is no class of people so hard to manage in a state, as those whose intentions are honest, but whose consciences are bewitched.” –Napoleon Bonaparte


Before he was the Governor of California, and before he the Terminator (an actual bankable commodity, Arnold Schwarzenegger was “Conan the Barbarian”.  The surprising thing about the (then) big budget film, it cost approximately 20 million dollars to make, was not that it cost so much as it was that there were no real stars in the film.  Of course it didn’t hurt to have character actors James Earl Jones, and Mako playing small but integral parts in the film, but by and large this was a movie cast that had very little experience.  The story is the prototypical hero’s tale.  Conan, as a little boy, sees his father and mother murdered by the evil wizard Thulsa Doom.  He is then shipped off to a labor camp where he is made to turn the “wheel of doom” that powers one of the wizard’s power plants.  When Conan turns 33, he escapes his bonds by being made a gladiator.  In this way he learns the art of war, and how to survive.  Armed with this new knowledge, Conan sets off to wreak revenge on Thulsa Doom.  Along the way he picks up 2 companions, Valeria and Subotai.  After they make a little headway into the kingdom of Doom, they are waylaid by a king who is the father of a princess that Thulsa Doom has under his thrall.  The king makes Conan and his companions promise to free his daughter in return for their freedom and his support.  But Conan’s companions, after they are freed, feel no compunction to go after Thulsa Doom, and so the barbarian goes after him on his own.  It is here in the story that Conan meets Akiro, who has been narrating throughout.  He is a wizard of the people, earthy in his wisdom, and fair in his judgments.  He tells Conan how to sneak into the temple of Thulsa, and Conan following his directions does so, only to be caught, mocked and sent into the desert to be crucified.  When he is almost dead Valeria and Subotai find him.  They bring him to Akiro, who nurses him back to health.  When he is better, the three companions again go to free the princess.  In this exchange Valeria (Conan’s woman) is killed, and he is understandably more vengeful than ever now toward Thulsa Doom.  In the end it comes down to Conan and Thulsa in one on one combat and just as Doom is going to finish off Conan, Valeria’s sword shines down from heaven, fulfilling the promise she made Conan that she will fight by his side even if she must come back from the grave to do so.  Thulsa is thwarted but not finished and he renews his attack on Conan, but Conan is infused with the power of those who have fallen before him, and he cuts the sword of Thulsa in half, stabs him mortally and finally decapitates Doom and throws his head into the flaming pit below.  There have been thousands of Dooms followers watching this showdown by torchlight, and when Doom dies, instead of rushing Conan, they seem to come to their right senses, throw down their torches, and walk off into the nigh… back to their homes from all over the country… wherever they might be.  It was on this day in 1982 that “Conan the Barbarian” premiered in American theaters.


How come this movie with no name actors was so popular?  I believe it was because of a principal we’ve spoken of before.  And that is the element of the story behind the story.  Conan works as a slave and becomes Sampson-like in physique, he is prepared for his position for 33 years, he is crucified in the desert, and he defeats the serpent-king.  These are all thrilling because they are portrayed so powerfully.  But the last parallel theme we see is that of the people themselves.  They had been enthralled for a lifetime by Thulsa Doom, but the moment his final defeat is made manifest, the people become clear headed again.  We see this same theme in the book of Galatians in Scripture.  Paul wants to know why, after they have all struggled so mightily and given up so much to prove that the gospel is true, why they would then give in to some new teaching now.  The Truth that they would’ve died for, that all sins are forgiven once and for all time by the sacrifice of Christ to those who believe he is real and call him Lord, has somehow become not as important.  The answer to the riddle is simple really… its control.  We want to believe that once we’re saved that now it is up to us to get ourselves to heaven.  But the writer of Hebrew makes clear, that if this is what we believe then we have no need of the Savior, and that there is no sacrifice left for sin. In other words, if we think we can deliver ourselves then he will leave us to it.  And Paul comes in like Conan brandishing the Sword of Truth to remind the Galatians.  God forgave us once and for all, and it worth dying for to preserve the integrity if that Truth… that doctrine. It is worth living a life of holiness and obedience for such a gift as well, not because it is commanded or compulsory, but simply to say… thank you God for loving me enough to forgive me in my blindness and for being mighty enough to finish what you’ve started. 


Galatians3:1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?


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