Friday, 31 January 2014

TFTD - 31 January 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

31 January 2014

Exodus 3; 4
Psalms 56; 57
Romans 9

"NEW NAME"

We have now moved on to read about the dramatic life of Moses. Exodus 3 is about his first real encounter with God at the burning bush. For 40 years he had been living as a shepherd in Midian after fleeing from Pharaoh when the fact he had killed an Egyptian became known. Now suddenly 'the angel of God appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush" [Exodus 3:2] We notice this is "the" specific angel that represents the Almighty; the rest of the chapter is written as if God himself is speaking. "Then the LORD (Yahweh) said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt … Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel out of Egypt." [Exodus 3:7,10]

One of the intriguing things in this remarkable conversation is the question Moses puts to God. "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you and they ask me 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?" Think about this question, why would Moses expect the people to ask the name of the God of their fathers? Well the word 'name' in certain contexts means reputation - such as when David 'made himself a name' [2 Samuel 8:13] and in some contexts in modern versions is translated it as 'became famous' and similar.

We think that Moses anticipates that the present generation of Israelites, having to some extent forgotten about the God of their forefathers would want to know about his reputation. After all, they were surrounded by the religious thought of the Egyptians and the legends about their gods, Osiris, Mont, etc and their reputations.

God answers Moses by saying, "I AM who I AM". How is that an answer? We note the footnote in the ESV and RSV versions give the alternative of "I will be what I will be" This is better, it directly relates to YAHWEH, which as the ESV footnote, states 'is here connected with the verb hayah "to be".' So God is saying, he is a God who becomes, he will establish his reputation by what he is going to do, not by legends of the past. We will see, as we read the Old Testament that this point is made quite frequently, for example, Isaiah 63:14 "so you led your people (through Moses) to make for yourself a glorious name" Those who follow the God of the Bible are expected to make for themselves a name, that is, a reputation that is pleasing to God - and at the end, that is at the climax of the ages, God will give them a "new name" [Revelation 3:12]
-------
- DC


Thought for the Day

31 January 2014

"From the Lord Jesus we know we can receive ... understanding. He has, however, given us of his love that we may share it, first with those who long to share it also, and second with those, our brethren and sisters, who need our help along the way. For, whilst wisdom may be the principal thing, it is nothing without understanding."

- John Mitchell
Understanding (1968)