FIRST POSTED ON 15 FEBRUARY 2019.
Shalom Aleichem and welcome to my Shabbat blog!
Earlier, we saw how the Third Day of Creation foretold the literal gathering of the floodwaters and appearing of the Dry Ground of a new world following the Flood.
Symbolically, it pointed to the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) through whom God brought forth His plan of salvation - the dry ground as it were on which we are rescued from drowning in the sea of sin and judgment, this dry ground being none other than Jesus our Rock of salvation.
But there was one more Kairos event that took place on this Day - the supernatural gathering of the waters and appearing of dry ground during the Exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Most of us are quite familiar with the Exodus story and how it symbolically describes our deliverance from bondage to sin when we accepted Jesus as our personal Saviour and Lord. But there is another and perhaps even more important observation - it was here that God first revealed His personal name.
Although God’s name (Yahweh) was first used in Gen 2:4, bear in mind that Genesis was written by Moses, whom God revealed His name to. Later on (Gen 4:26, 12:8, 13:4, 21:33, 26:25), we see the children of Seth, as well as Abraham and Isaac “calling on the name of the Lord” but we are told in Ex 6:2-3 that God did not reveal His personal name to them, not even when asked by Jacob after wrestling the whole night with God (Gen 32:29-30). It was only here, with Moses, that God revealed His personal name, and we are told the reason in Ex 4:22 - because “Israel is my firstborn son.” God saved the Israelites because He loved them as His very own. He saved His people not just to free them from their physical bondage but to restore their true identity as His children.
Reflections - Many seek God’s name for the wrong reasons, often for power or control, blessings or self-glory. Yes, we are told of the power found in His name alone - that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Joel 2:32, Acts 2:21, Rom 10:13). We can prophesy, drive out demons and perform many miracles in His name. However, when God proclaimed His name to the Israelites, it was because they were to be His children, His firstborn, who would carry His name to all the world. Likewise, when Jesus took on the name of God - “I AM” (Jn 6:35, 8:12, 10:9, 10:11, 11:25, 14:6, 15:1; see also Jn 8:58) - it was not to seek glory for Himself although He could have easily done so, but to do His Father’s will. God gave us His name in Jesus to let us know that we are His children.
It is this personal relationship that is the key to true discipleship. When we see God as our Heavenly Father, we are motivated by love and obedience, and His will and honour becomes what is most important in our lives. It was this love - love for His Father and love for us His brothers and sisters - that led Jesus to obey and do His Father’s will by dying on the Cross for us. Ultimately, it is God Himself who demonstrated true love to us His children. In Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son, actually the father was the true prodigal by His extravagant show of love to his prodigal son. But this was exactly what God did for us as Paul explained in Rom 5:8. Like the father who rushed out of His home to meet his unworthy son, “God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, [God left His home and came down to us as a human in Jesus and] died for us.” (Lk 15:20, Rom 5:8).
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