Show me Your glory, I pray.
Then he led out his people like sheep,
and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
He led them in safety, so that they were not afraid;
but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
Do you have a favorite story? Perhaps a story your mother told you to help you drift into sleep. Maybe a story you read in school, watched in a movie, learned from a song, or one shared by a friend. Native American folk wisdom teaches: “Tell me a fact, and I will learn. Tell me a truth, and I will believe. But tell me a story, and it will live in my heart forever.”
The Exodus story lived in the hearts of the Pilgrims, inspiring them to leave the old world for the new. They read themselves into the Exodus script, imagining that God delivered them from despotic bondage, crossing the Red Sea of the Atlantic, journeying through a wilderness to the Promised Land of freedom.
Similarly, it was a story inspiring both Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson to propose the image of the Exodus for the Great Seal of the United States. Although another design for the Great Seal was chosen (see the backside of a dollar bill), this demonstrates the power of the Exodus story on the nation’s founders. Later, the civil rights movement looked to the Exodus redemption for inspiration and guidance. Martin Luther King Jr., like a modern day Moses, rallied people, declaring:
“I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.”
(Speech on April 3, 1968, Memphis, Tennessee)
The psalmist picks up today’s scripture to read his times in the light of the Exodus, urging parents to tell it to their children: “We will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might and the wonders that he has done” (Psalm 78:4b).
How about you? What inspires you in the Exodus story? What might you want to tell others about your story?
- Popular Christian spiritual writer Henri Nouwen said that our best gift to the world is our story. How do you think you might gift others by telling them your life story? What might people learn of God, grace, and love, by hearing your story?
- Who specifically might you gift with your story?