In the early 1990s, motivated by an ongoing dispute with his record company, the singer / songwriter Prince adopted an unpronounceable symbol as his name and became ‘The artist formerly known as Prince’. The change in his name reflected a new stage in the management of his artistic career. Later on, he changed his name back to Prince, the person he had always been, and his back catalogue at the time of his death contained work under both his original name and his alternative name. The singer never changed, but the titles he used reflected different parts of his life during which different purposes were being served.
In today’s Bible reading, we see God presenting himself by a different name to Moses. This doesn’t mean that his fundamental being changed; that he became a different God. It is simply a reflection that he was revealing a new side of his nature to Moses that he hadn’t previously disclosed to the patriarchs. He says in verses 2 and 3, “I am the LORD. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them.’ Abraham, Isaac and Jacob knew God as El-Shaddai, the all-sufficient God Almighty. God continued to be El-Shaddai, but to Moses, he was also the LORD – Yahweh, I am who I am. The patriarchs knew God as the author, but not the finisher, of the promise he made. Moses was to experience God not just as the God of the long-held covenant to give his people a land for their possession, but the God who actually fulfilled his word! The patriarchs knew the promise; Moses saw the manifestation. The use of God’s name Yahweh marks the start of a closer relationship between God and his people and a journey defined by miracles, signs and wonders, as the LORD brings his people out of slavery!
In verses 6 to 8, we see seven ‘I will’ promises that God lays before Moses as he affirms his rescue plan for the Israelites. The wonderful thing is that these pledges are prophetic, so in addition to the obvious intent that applies to the exodus of the Israelites at the moment in time that God is speaking to Moses, there is the assurance of the future deliverance from bondage of the whole of humanity! God is speaking into the present and the future and the message is the same! Moses is a type of Christ. God works through him to rescue the Israelites, foreshadowing how he would work through Jesus, his own son, to rescue humankind.
1. I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians
2. I will deliver you from slavery to them
3. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgement.
4. I will take you to be my people
5. I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians
6. I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
7. I will give it to you for a possession
God will bring the Israelites out from under the burden of slavery and through Jesus he would bring us out from the burdens of Satan. He would bring us salvation – freedom from the weight of our sins!
God will deliver the Israelites from slavery to the Egyptians and through Jesus he would rescue us from bondage to Satan. He would deliver us from the hold sin has on our lives.
God will redeem the Israelites with an outstretched arm – with the rod of Moses, also called the rod of God – and with great acts of judgement – plagues upon Egypt. Jesus would redeem us with outstretched arms on the cross as he paid the price for us with his life. Judgement would be passed on the kingdom of darkness and death would be defeated.
God will take the Israelites to be his people; through Jesus we would be adopted into God’s family.
God will be their God, and they shall know that he is the LORD their God. Through Jesus we would draw close to God and he would reveal himself to us.
God will bring his people into the land that he swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. Through Jesus, the land we would receive is abundant life.
God will give the land to them for a possession; through Jesus we would receive our inheritance of eternal life.
Today, let’s thank God that his prophecies for humanity have already come to pass through the finished work of Jesus on the cross and celebrate that we are saved, delivered, redeemed, adopted, enjoying revelation of God and living in the fullness of his love and eternal life. Amen.