The names of God #3: Jehovah

The names of God #3: Jehovah                  Exodus 3:14, 6:3

The name before us in these verses is the name Jehovah. It is revealed now, 2500 years after creation. It is important to see that this additional piece of information about God is linked with what is already known of Him. Cp 6:2-3. The names Elohim and El-Shaddai belong to Him as well. The same God is in view but identified by multiple names. Each name highlights one particular facet of His character and Being.

The revelation of the name Jehovah and its significance was itself part of a process, revealed over time to Moses, at the burning bush and then in the early days following his return to Egypt.

I  THE ORIGIN OF THE NAME.

  1. The verb ‘to be’. The name Jehovah is linked to a participle form of this verb and indicates the One who is, or as it is stated in 3:14, He is the I am. The simple force of this name emphasizes the existence and being of God.
  2. He is what He is. This expression indicates the timeless, unchangeable, personal nature of God. He is ever present, and therefore eternal. He is eternally what He is presently. Cp Mal 3:6. He is a personal God—not an abstract, impersonal force but One represented by I.

II  THE PRIMARY ASSOCIATION OF THIS NAME.

  1. His covenant promises. As the Lord reveals this name He speaks to Moses of the covenant made with Abraham. Cp my covenant, v4-5, swear, v8
  2. National significance for Israel. This name is the guarantee of what God has promised to Abraham in terms of a national identity and inheritance. Cp 6:4-8. It meant rescue from the Egyptian bondage they were currently under. The covenant meant the commissioning of a deliverer. This name and the covenant it represented, was Moses’ authority to act as he did. There are also long-term implications, v4, Acts 7:5. This name and its significance is the reason why Israel still exists, Mal 3:6.
  3. Gospel implications. The promises God made to Abraham were gospel promises. The term redeem 6:6 and the promise to make them His people, v7 are gospel vocabulary. Cp Gal 2:16.

III   THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF ITS REVELATION.

There are two parts to the revelation of this great name.

  1. The substance of its meaning is revealed, Ex 3:14. The episode of the burning bush is the backdrop to this truth being revealed.
  2. Fiery holiness, v2, 5. The God of glory appears in person in the form of fire and speaks to Moses. It is the name of a God to be feared exceedingly. Moses indicated that fear in the demeanour he shows, v5. Cp Deut 28:58.
  3. A non-destructive revelation. The bush was not burned. Here is a display of the mercy and grace of God to meet with men.
  4. On the brink of God showing His power in Egypt. It was a time of despondency for Moses. He had been disappointed and felt disillusioned. The revelation of this name and all its covenant implications was designed to encourage him to wait on the Lord working.

 

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