EXODUS 10: WHY DO GRANDPARENTS TELL STORIES?
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heartand the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them 2 that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord.”
Walter Brueggemann says "Grandparents are antidote to the amnesia grandchildren too readily practice." How so?
My Grandma D told stories about the Dust Bowl. Dust blew into the house, couldn't be escaped. They wet towels for the window sills and below the doors. They got bronchitis. Babies and vulnerable older people died from the effects of dust.
Why did Grandma D tell those stories. What is the role of grandparents telling stories? Brueggemann says grandparents do three big things for the grandchildren:
- They tell the family lore and give us identity.
- They tell us who our extended family members are and connect us so we're no misplaced or alone.
- They, hopefully in non-authoritarian ways, show us by their lives, stories, and connections give us moral expectations, telling us what it means to be a family member.
Yahweh tells Moses the purpose of the plagues is to give the grandparents stories to tell--dramatic stories! And the purpose of the stories is "that you may know that I am the Lord."
Grandparents tell stories so we know God is God and we are not. That's our identity and God's in a nutshell that we must be reminded of in these stories of Exodus.
God who hardened Pharaoh's heart and brought plagues to give us stories so that we would know that you are the Lord! Keep reminding us of the importance of these stories, teach us how to tell them faithfully so that we may live faithfully.
What would it feel like to share a story from Exodus 10 with a co-worker, family member, neighbor? How do we get the Bible off the pages and into our lives? An action step today is to start imagining this first, before trying to do it. If you've not ever shared a story with someone from reading the Bible, maybe you could start with just telling someone you are reading the Bible and the stories are very interesting. Maybe they'll ask you some questions.
Greg Taylor preaches for The Journey. Greg's wife, Jill, teaches math at Broken Arrow High School and Tulsa Community College. Greg and Jill have three adult children, Ashley, Anna, and Jacob. Greg is the author of many books, including his latest co-authored with Randy Harris, Daring Faith: Meeting Jesus in the Book of John.