I write Biblical fiction, but unlike most stories told about Bible characters, the stories in my first series (which takes place before, during, and after the Exodus from Egypt) are written from a first person point of view, and also from the perspective of an “outsider”—someone who is not an actual, historical character, but is along for the “ride”.
I have a number of reasons for writing this way, but chief among them is this: I wanted to imagine myself inside the world of the Bible. I wanted to walk a mile, or a few hundred, in the sandals of an Egyptian that went with the Hebrews, or a Hebrew midwife living at Mt. Sinai, or a Caananite woman whose family has been killed by the invading Israelite army.
We tend to, consciously or not, look at the stories in the Bible as dusty tales from long ago about people that have little to no connection to us, or our daily lives. But for those of us that believe the Bible is a literal, historical document I think it is important to remember that Moses, Miriam and Joshua were real people; with real emotions, real fears and real insecurities. They cried, they laughed, they sinned, they loved, they doubted. God did not choose perfect angels to lead his people, but fallible human beings.
The people that were led out of Egypt by Moses were real people, too. There were multitudes of fathers, mothers, children, grandmothers, grandfathers, sisters and brothers who had their own fears and doubts. They entered the wilderness following some guy who was rumored to be a murderer, said he talked with an invisible god who told him to challenge the most powerful man on earth with a shepherd’s stick, and then took them and their families into the desert with only a few days worth of food and water. Talk about scary! It wasn’t as if they could turn the car around and go back home if it didn’t work out, they were putting everything on the line.
The Bible is a unique document, a document that not only describes the past, but is also a prophetic document that describes the future—and things happening right now, in our own day. Since being in Covenant with Jesus allows us to be grafted into the line of Abraham, and therefore co-inheritors of all the promises in the Bible, our futures are written alongside Moses, David, Mary and Paul and all those who, by faith, are part of God’s kingdom.
This makes us Bible characters! Maybe our individual names are not written in ink there, but as part of the Church, we are there corporately, in black and white.
Take a minute to absorb that. You are in the Bible. This reality, for me, breathes new life into my understanding of the Word and how I choose to live my life.
I am sure at the time, Rahab the prostitute wasn’t thinking about how her actions would be written into a sweeping saga of faith one day, or that thousands of years later she would be venerated as a heroine. She was probably just thinking, Wow! This Yahweh is stronger than all my scary, baby-murdering Caananite gods, I need to get out of Jericho before he destroys my town! I need to submit myself to Yahweh to save my family.
This makes me wonder. If someday, a long time from now, someone were to write me into the Bible, what would they say about me? Would I be known as a woman of great faith, like Rahab? Someone who stood up for Christ in a lawless world, even at the cost of my life? Or would I be a Jonah? Someone who bucked against my calling and took the cowardly way out? How will future generations see us and what impact will we have made on them?
Let’s be honest. Every day is a struggle to be salt and light. And some days are harder than others. We are fighting a daily battle against the world, the flesh, and the Enemy. Aren’t you glad that the Author of your story loves you? That the Villain is vanquished? And that you know that your story has a happily-ever-after ending?
So, I wonder, when the final chapter is written, how will the Author describe me? How will he describe you?