Devotion: ‘Willow’ and babies on the river

Willow. Babies Floating Down the River.

A baby of some importance is set afloat on a makeshift raft and sent down the river, hoping for someone kind to take the child for protection from evil, powerful people. Are we talking about Moses or the child in the movie “Willow?” Actually, we’re talking about both.

In the classic 1988 fantasy, an unlikely hero arises to protect a baby girl, Elora Danan, whom prophecy says will bring about the downfall of an evil sorceress, Queen Bavmorda. To prevent the prophecy from being fulfilled, the queen tries to imprison all pregnant women. Elora Danan’s mother is executed and the midwife is captured after setting the baby adrift on the river.

Willow Ufgood is from a race of dwarves. The farmer (Warwick Davis) and his children find the baby. A sorcerer sets Willow and a small band on a quest to turn the child over to the first Daikini (full-size humans) they encounter. They find Madmartigan (Val Kilmer), a roguish mercenary swordsman who sets off on a series of both heroic and hilarious misadventures with Willow and Elora Danen.

Willow and Madmartigan grow as characters while helping the baby fulfill prophecy.

Like Elora Danan, Moses was placed on a makeshift raft as an infant. He came onto the scene years after Joseph had brought his people to safety in Egypt. A new pharaoh arose who knew nothing about Joseph and enslaved the Hebrews out of fear—the Hebrews had greatly multiplied, Exodus 1 tells us. As conditions worsened for the Hebrews their people continued to grow in numbers. Pharaoh told the Hebrew midwives to kill the boy infants they delivered, but they disobeyed Pharaoh because they feared God.

Moses’s mother hid him in a raft on the riverbank; his sister observed the hiding place, as Exodus 2 tells us. Pharaoh’s daughter and her maids found Moses, and the royal family hired a Hebrew nurse. Surprise! The nurse was no other than Moses’ mother. Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him when he grew older and named him Moses, “Because I drew him out of the water.”

Moses grew up to become one of the Lord’s greatest servants. He was able to carry out God’s plan because his family and midwife obeyed the Lord instead of the government.

Jesus cares a great deal for children. In Matthew 18, Jesus held up children as model disciples, telling adults to have faith as a child and warned us to treat children well.


Matthew 18:4-6—Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.


  • Why do you think God cares so much for children? Pharaoh would have killed Moses just because he considered the Hebrew child’s existence an inconvenience. God, however, had other plans for the man this young child would become. Would part of God’s concern for children be due to His knowing their potential? One of my favorite stories in the Bible is when God calls out young David to become king of Israel despite David’s father low opinion of him.
  • Since God cares greatly about children, what does that mean for the way we society treats them? Do you believe we will have to answer to God one day for what we do or do not do for children?

(Editor’s note: This is one of a number of devotions I wrote for a book proposal that never took off. I will share a few of the devotions on this blog. The book was to have been a devotional that shared a biblical insight from a sci-fi or fantasy movie, TV show or book. This devotion is an excerpt from my chapter on the movie, Willow.)

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