Perhaps the message is that even the greatest leader has his place. He can lead in adversity, but he cannot live your life for you.
The Israelites' great sin, which condemned them to wander for 40 years, was to say, despite having all that they needed, "We're not ready. We can't do it. The challenge is too great."
King led the movement that produced the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, closing the door on legal discrimination in this country. But more than 40 years later, we still hear, "We're not ready. We can't do it."
Washington lobbyists and special interests are not to blame for single-parent homes, drugs, promiscuity, abortion and sexually transmitted diseases, high-school dropouts and the accompanying poverty. The conditions reflect personal decisions and can only be addressed through personal conviction and resolve.
The Israelites were warned about false prophets. In today's terminology, I'd call this anyone, be it politician or clergyman, who suggests that anyone but you can solve your own problems.
The greatest tribute any American, black or white, can pay to King is to embrace the traditional values and truths critical to live the free life that his work helped make possible.
By so doing, racial politics will finally end and righteousness will flow "like a mighty stream."