Telling the Story | Philip Ryken

Last Sunday I preached through plagues seven through nine. While moving through those passages, I essentially bypassed the first two verses of chapter 10, which preface the eighth plague:

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.

Exodus 10:1–2

I intentionally left these two verses alone because I intend to go to them this Sunday in discussing the purpose of the plagues. In the meantime, here is an extended quotation (longer than I prefer to read in a sermon) from Philip Ryken about how God made Israel’s salvation through the exodus into the the story that the passed down to their children and grandchildren.

The story of salvation became the song of salvation. Many Hebrew psalms refer to the exodus in one way or another, and several of them– such as Psalm 78 (vv. 42-51) and Psalm 105 (vv. 26-36) –make specific mention of the plagues.

The purpose of all this storytelling was to enable the children of Israel to know God as their Lord and Savior. The Israelites passed down the story of the exodus not simply because it formed their national identity or because it was part of a good education, but because it promoted the knowledge of God. The history of their escape from Egypt shaped their theology and their spirituality. Children learned the story in order to know their God.

We, too, have a story. We have something to tell our children and our grandchildren. It is the story of Jesus Christ, the Moses of our salvation, who brought us out of the Egypt of our sin. It is a true story based on the facts of history: his virgin birth, his virtuous life, his vicarious atonement, and his victorious resurrection. What a story! It explains everything a child really needs to know. It explains who we are: the people of God. It explains where we came from: a life of sin and misery. It explains where we are going: to live with Christ in mansions of glory. It explains who God is: the Father of mercy and love. And it explains why we are here: to glorify God by living for Christ.

For those who know the story, there is no more important task than telling it to others. The storytelling starts at home, where fathers and mothers have a duty to instruct their children in Scriptural truth. Children should learn Bible stories not only at church, and perhaps also at school, but especially at home. Any father not personally engaged in the spiritual instruction of his children is not doing his duty. Fathers and mothers who teach their children Biblical theology are handing down a priceless treasure. By telling them the story that will shape their lives, they are passing on the legacy of salvation.

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