“Exposing the Exodus”
What’s in a Name? – (Chapter 6 Verses 1-9)
God continues the conversation (v2). He is graciously seeking to lift the gloom and the mistrust of his servants. It can make a big difference when we consider who it is who is speaking to us. Our enemies speak differently to us than a friend does. God is our best friend, and he is not against us (Romans 8:31). And of course, it makes a big difference how we respond (James 1:19). We can hear God’s voice but not listen. How much we would save ourselves if we only heard him and took heed to his counsel. The more we were controlled by the voice his Holy Spirit, the less we would be controlled by sin (Galatians 5:16). God declares his name and thus reveals himself to Moses (v3). Moses, Israel, and we ourselves, are being taught little by little about God. The Bible is an unfolding self-revelation of God. There are times we think we know, but we don’t, and times we are not ready to know (John 16:12), but later he comes and teaches us again, and we learn and the light dawns. Here is an example, these are things Moses has already been taught by the Lord back in chapter three, the Lord repeats them because Moses and we ourselves, need to know them. When trouble looms we need reminding God is still God. The name Jehovah (v2), was a name already known by the Patriarchs, it is used several times in Genesis. But not the special and full significance. Sovereign Lord, El Shaddai etc. There is a big difference in knowing a person’s name or the sound of it than knowing the person himself, and knowing him more fully. There are many people who know and use God’s name in the world today. But it is dead capital, it has no meaning whatever to them. A sound without significance.
The Patriarchs knew God more as Elohim, the omnipotent, almighty One. But now Moses is being given more understanding, more light regarding the character, the being of God, what he is like. Yes, he is the Almighty, with the power to create and destroy. But he is also Jehovah, the faithful covenant Lord, unchanging, constant, unwavering in his purpose, fulfilling his eternal counsel. He is the redeeming Lord who is committed to fulfilling his covenant promise to his people. He is in their midst for that very purpose. Therefore, it is vital that his people grasp the significance of this revelation of his name. So that we know what he is like, the one who can be trusted, whom we can trust and commit our souls to. It is only then we can face the trials, the storms and tribulation of life as pilgrims in this vale of tears, with calm and assurance. Things may get nasty, sin may rage, the world, Pharaoh’s and Satan too, may be arrayed against us. Things may seem to be out of control. But we know they are not. Because we know that Jehovah, our faithful covenant-keeping God is on his throne, and rules constantly, utterly faithful to his elect, unwavering in his pledge to deliver us. What did Israel lack here, trust, faith? By his word God here seeks to build their faith. This is the very reason he has given us his word (Romans 15:4). That we may have an unwavering constancy of trust in him our Lord, Jehovah Jesus! Get a handle on my name God says, understand who I am, the world, its rulers are ever in a state of flux. But with the Lord you have stability, dependability. Not a one word of all he has ever spoken will ever fail (Joshua 21:45).
(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)