Show me Your glory, I pray.
Moses said to the people, “Remember this day on which you came out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, because the LORD brought you out from there by strength of hand…You shall tell your child on that day ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ It shall serve for you as a sign on your hand and as a reminder on your forehead, so that the teaching of the LORD may be on your lips; for with a strong hand the LORD brought you out of Egypt.”
Exodus 13:3, 8-9
Have you, like the ancient Israelites, ever felt trapped in a “house of slavery”? Have you ever battled habits, addictions, or other unhealthy behaviors? Have you experienced the joy of being set free?
From today’s scripture we learn that God does not want the liberating journey of the Exodus story to be forgotten. It is a story God wants every generation to tell: “This is what God did for us by His mighty hand!” The Mishnah, which is a collection of the sayings of ancient rabbis, commands, “Every generation must regard himself as having been personally freed from Egypt.” (Mishnah, Pesachim 10:5) They based that command on the Lord’s command in today’s scripture: “On that day you tell your children, ‘I do this because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.’”
Of course, this command does not mean that each generation was physically present in the Exodus journey from Egypt, but it does mean that it is a story that is true for every generation. That is because the Exodus story is a story about the divine-human relationship, a story about God and us. So God intends for us to read the story not only as a true historical event, but as a metaphor, a map of our spiritual journeys. The outer journey of the Exodus mirrors our inner journeys. It is the wondrous, ongoing story of God redeeming His people. Sue Monk Kidd writes in When the Heart Waits about re-reading the Exodus story as our personal story:
“I read it not only as a chronicle of salvation history, but as the story of an inner journey taking place within the landscape of one’s soul. Egypt, wilderness, and promised land are comparable to interior states of being… There is first a movement of separation, then a holding environment where transformation happens, and finally an emergence into a new existence.”
One of the great privileges and delights of being a parent, teacher, coach, and mentor is that we get tell our story to the next generation. That means we get to tell, warts and all, how God delivers us from our Pharaohs, our bondages, through some tough wildernesses, onward towards the Promised Land!
- Are you seeing any similarities between your life story and the Exodus story? If so, what are they?
- What do you want to say to God about what you are seeing in your life story?