Monday, February 25, 2013

Video Review: What's in the Bible? Vol. 5 - Israel Gets a King!

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Entertaining and educational at the same time
Cons: None at all in this volume
The Bottom Line:
Covers lots of ground
While still teaching repentance
With funny puppets

Tale of Three Kings

Phil Vischer is continuing his whirlwind tour of the Bible with volume 5 of What's in the Bible?  Using puppets, he's trying to put the familiar stories of the Bible in the broader context of the God's redemption plan.  It's an ambitious project that seems to be working.  Israel Gets a King! finds us looking at I and II Samuel as well as the first part of I Kings.

As always, there are two half hour programs on this DVD.  The first looks at I Samuel, the reign of King Saul and his time chasing David.  The second hour goes through the reign of King David and his son King Solomon.

As always, these shows are filled with great fun.  Captain Pete (a pirate), sings songs from his new (slightly leaky) submarine.  The story of Saul chasing David seems to involve Star Wars.  We get quite a few jokes as characters interact with each other.

But the entertainment never gets in the way of learning.  This disc tackles the doctrine of the trinity, pretty heady stuff for the elementary age target audience.  It does keep the audience in mind when it comes to some of the more serious things like David's adultery with Bathsheba.  The story is told, but in a way that won't make parents uncomfortable.

As I said, these videos focus on the big themes and not on retelling individual stories.  For example, Samuel in introduced without talking about his childhood.  He is simply introduced as a prophet who God used to anoint Saul and later David.  Saul's disobedience to God's commands are discussed in general, and Jonathan hardly merits a mention.

Obviously, there is a lot of stuff they leave out.  They have to if they are coming to cover so much ground in one hour.  However, they do a great job of picking out the important parts and weaving together an important theme.  Obviously, we're traveling through Israel's history and introducing key figures.  But the focus on Saul, David, and Solomon allows them to really focus on responses to sin.  They leave us with a challenge about how we will respond to sin in our lives.  Will we make excuses like Saul?  Will we pretend everything is normal like Solomon?  Or will we repent and turn from it like David?  Maybe it is because of some stuff I am going through personally right now, but I had never quite thought about these kings and their response to sin in quite this way.  Yes, I'd heard about David plenty of times, but contrasting him with the other two made his repentance stand out even more.

So Israel Gets a King! is another entertaining and educational chapter in the What's in the Bible? series.  It will entertain everyone while also putting some familiar stories in a greater context.

It leaves us with just one question.  Exactly how does one flunk chapel?

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