I wanted to watch a movie last night, so I stopped at a Redbox and looked at dozens of movies, but nothing appealed to me. By a process of elimination, I settled for The Greatest Showman (which I had seen before and loved, but wasn’t eager to see again). It is a musical about the life of P.T. (Phineas) Barnum — founder of the Barnum and Bailey Circus. My wife and I watched it and were both (once again) very inspired by it.
The Greatest Showman shows how Phineas, starting out with nothing but boldness and creativity, built an entertainment empire that brought joy to multitudes. It also shows how he gathered and employed people who were considered misfits and freaks and created a loving community of equals.
After the movie I picked up my Bible and began reading Psalm 106 (where I had left off the night before). Suddenly I came to these words: “Phineas stood up and intervened, and the plague was checked.” I was blown away. What was the likelihood that I would rent The Greatest Showman and watch it that night (I very seldom watch a movie a second time and hadn’t rented a movie in many months)? And what where the odds that immediately afterwards I would pick up the Bible and see a verse about Phineas (P.T.’s name)? The odds seemed to me far too great to be a coincidence. So I began to ask God what I was supposed to get from the verse, the movie, and the timing.
Phineas is not mentioned much in the Bible, so I began to search the web to find more about him. I discovered that he was Aaron’s son and the third high priest of ancient Israel. I found out that his name in Hebrew means oracle or prophet and that he was very bold and passionate about seeking to follow and obey God.
Our society seems to be plagued by many things — mass murders by active shooters, widespread natural disasters, an opioid epidemic that is killing 42,000 Americans a year, depression and other mental health issues, racial issues, political hostility and unkindness, soaring medical costs, etc. Perhaps it is time for boldness and prophetic intervention in our society. But what does that look like? Maybe we need the intervention of a Phineas movement (a spiritual awakening of some sort) to stop the plagues.
If you have any serious ideas about what this might mean, please leave a comment. I’m praying for clarity, direction, and revelation.