From the beginning God has desired a warm, close, personal relationship with mankind, but before we can be well acquainted with God we have to be introduced to Him.
During a recent Bible Study we discovered that early in the book of Exodus The Lord uses several methods to introduce Himself to Moses, Israel, Egypt and Pharaoh. I’m excited to share this discovery with you in hopes that it will help you become more familiar with your Creator.
God introduces Himself by giving His name. He has many names, but here He invokes a specific name. In Exodus 6:2-3 He speaks to Moses saying
“I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty [El Shaddai], but by My name LORD I was not known to them.”
God does exactly what we do when we meet someone new! We say something to the effect of “Hi, I’m Justin. What’s your name?” God’s many names tell us about His character just like many people live out the meaning of their names. The name LORD is a Hebrew name that you may be familiar with — it’s Jehovah, which means “The Existing One.” This name communicates God’s eternal nature and His self existence outside of time and space. As we learn and then understand the names of God, we have the opportunity to transition from simply being introduced to Him, to a deeper and more fulfilling relationship.
The second way that God introduces Himself in this passage is also in Exodus 6:3. He says ‘I know your forefathers, the patriarchs of Israel.’ In a way The Lord is saying ‘I know your relatives and they know me.’ Think back to a time when you met someone new and then quickly discovered that you had a friend in common — you most likely better related to your new acquaintance once you knew who they knew. Like minded people typically stick together, so we can better know God and what qualities He loves when we know who He calls friend, son or disciple. This is a critical point when we consider that true believers must be like God — after all the name Christian means “like Christ.” Revelation 22:14-15 clearly shows us that God plans to spend eternity with only those that are like Him. Consider that when we follow God’s followers we will really be following Him (see 1 Corinthians 11:1)!
The last way I noted that the The Lord introduces Himself in Exodus 6 is through His promised works. In verses 6-8 The Lord states 7 promises that all begin with the emphatic phrase “I will.” Then, in Exodus chapters 7-12 He begins to precisely fulfill His Word. Israel benefits from The Lord’s works while Egypt and Pharaoh are destroyed. The Bible is full of God’s deeds including how He creates (Genesis 1:1), saves (Mark 14:29-31), redeems (Exodus 6:6), illuminates (Psalm 18:28), frees (John 8:31-32), satisfies (Psalm 145:16), sanctifies (John 17:17), condemns (Romans 8:1) and much more! One the best ways to know someone is through their actions and when it comes to mankind, actions truly do speak louder than words. God expects us to know Him through His works just as we are known by our deeds.
During this study it struck me that in Genesis, God’s first relationships to men were more personal than they are in Exodus. In Genesis, God's relationships are mostly either God to one man or God to a single family. In Exodus we see the first time that God “introduces” Himself to larger groups, specifically Israel and Egypt. Later in the Old Testament we find out that His miraculous works at the Red Sea also introduced Him to the people of Canaan (Joshua 2:10-11).
The scriptures make it evident that we are responsible for being introduced to God, after all, more is required of those who have been given more (Luke 12:48). 1 Samuel 2:12 speaks about Phinehas and Hophni, the sons of the high priest Eli. It says they “were corrupt; they did not know The Lord.” Wow! These men were Israelites and Levites, they were priests of God, they surely would have been introduced to God’s Word and His works in Exodus, but they did not KNOW Him. Because they didn’t know who they were dealing with they paid the ultimate price — they paid with their lives.
It’s not enough to simply be introduced to God, we are to intimately know Him.
Assuming that you’ve already been introduced to The Lord, what investment will you make today to know Him more deeply? And how will your familiarity with God change your actions?
Additional verses about God's names include: Isaiah 9:6, Revelation 1:8 and Revelation 19:11-13.
Additional verses about relating to God include: Matthew 3:16-17, John 8:12-47 and John 15:14-15.
Additional verses about God's works include: Psalm 145:17-20 and 1 John 3:1-16