Sunday December 17th
Sometimes you can really benefit from a name change. Here’s one suggestion for you. Instead of referring to your bathroom as "the John," (as in I have to go to the John) start calling it "the Jim." It sounds way better when you tell people that you go to the Jim several times a day.
In Exodus chapter 6, we are going to see a lot of names, plus God is going to give Moses a new name to know him by:
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for under compulsion he will let them go, and under compulsion he will drive them out of his land.” 2 God spoke further to Moses and said to him, “I am the Lord; 3 and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, Lord, I did not make Myself known to them.
God had already revealed Himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob using the name God Almighty. The Hebrew words for that name are El Shaddai. But now here in Exodus God has revealed to Moses that not only is His name El Shaddai, but it is also Yahweh, which simply means “I AM”. In the Old Testament we see this name is always translated as LORD, because the name of God was considered too holy to even pronounce out loud.
Now God is going to remind Moses what it means for Him to be the “I AM”, the covenant-making God:
4 I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they sojourned. 5 Furthermore I have heard the groaning of the sons of Israel, because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant. 6 Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. 7 Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the Lord.’” 9 So Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage.
What we are reading here is basically God’s reply to Moses’ complaint and question back in chapter 5 verses 22–23 - Then Moses returned to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have You brought harm to this people? Why did You ever send me? 23 Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done harm to this people, and You have not delivered Your people at all.”
Moses’ frustration was based on the fact that he was doing everything that God told him to do, but things were getting WORSE for the Israelites, not better.
Did you ever feel that way?
But God tells Moses, “I haven’t forgotten my promises or my covenant. I have a plan to rescue and redeem my people.”
That word redeem refers to paying a price or a ransom. Israel was going to be redeemed, or bought back from Egypt to be God’s own people, his treasured possession.
So despite Moses’ frustration, God tells him it’s time to get back to work:
10 Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 11 “Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the sons of Israel go out of his land.” 12 But Moses spoke before the Lord, saying, “Behold, the sons of Israel have not listened to me; how then will Pharaoh listen to me, for I am unskilled in speech?”13 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, and gave them a charge to the sons of Israel and to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt.
When God tells Moses to renew His demand for Israel’s release, Moses reverts to his same old excuses – “Nobody listens to me. I’m not even any good at speaking.” But God seems to basically just ignore him. “Yeah, whatever, just do what I told you to do and stop whining!”
As one commentary points out:
“The discouragement of Israel and Moses shows that the deliverance must be God’s work completely.”
The point is - it doesn’t matter that the people won’t listen. It doesn’t matter that Moses can’t speak very well. It doesn’t matter that Pharaoh has a hard heart.
God is going to accomplish what He has set out to do!
This next section is one that we might tend to gloss over as we read through this chapter. Verses 14 through 25 are essentially a list of names:
14 These are the heads of their fathers’ households. The sons of Reuben, Israel’s firstborn: Hanoch and Pallu, Hezron and Carmi; these are the families of Reuben. 15 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel and Jamin and Ohad and Jachin and Zohar and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman; these are the families of Simeon. 16 These are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations: Gershon and Kohath and Merari; and the length of Levi’s life was one hundred and thirty-seven years. 17 The sons of Gershon: Libni and Shimei, according to their families. 18 The sons of Kohath: Amram and Izhar and Hebron and Uzziel; and the length of Kohath’s life was one hundred and thirty-three years. 19 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to their generations. 20 Amram married his father’s sister Jochebed, and she bore him Aaron and Moses; and the length of Amram’s life was one hundred and thirty-seven years. 21 The sons of Izhar: Korah and Nepheg and Zichri. 22 The sons of Uzziel: Mishael and Elzaphan and Sithri. 23 Aaron married Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab, the sister of Nahshon, and she bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 24 The sons of Korah: Assir and Elkanah and Abiasaph; these are the families of the Korahites. 25 Aaron’s son Eleazar married one of the daughters of Putiel, and she bore him Phinehas. These are the heads of the fathers’ households of the Levites according to their families.
What is being established here is that God has not forgotten His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This seemingly random list of names is actually a genealogy, or family tree, that starts with Reuben, Jacob’s oldest son, then proceeds down to Simeon, the second son, and so on down the line to Levi’s descendents.
And Levi’s genealogy establishes the link to Moses and Aaron, showing that they are descended from the priestly line.
The final verses of this chapter are a repeat of God’s command to Moses and Aaron and one more repeat of Moses’ same old tired excuse!
26 It was the same Aaron and Moses to whom the Lord said, “Bring out the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their hosts.” 27 They were the ones who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt about bringing out the sons of Israel from Egypt; it was the same Moses and Aaron.
28 Now it came about on the day when the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, 29 that the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “I am the Lord; speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I speak to you.” 30 But Moses said before the Lord, “Behold, I am unskilled in speech; how then will Pharaoh listen to me?”
Keep in mind that God’s real demand is what is being stated here. What He is looking for is not permission from Pharaoh for the people to take a temporary leave of absence for three days to worship God in the wilderness. That’s what Moses asked for the first time he spoke to Pharaoh. But God is looking for a definitive once-and-for-all freedom for his people from slavery in Egypt.
So let’s go back to one of the opening themes to this chapter:
God is a faithful God and He is unchangeable.
Malachi 3:6 says "I am the LORD, and I do not change.”
Hebrews 13:8 says
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
So God doesn’t change, but sometimes His name changes.
Think about that.
When Moses declared the freedom of the children of Israel’s to Pharaoh, he had to proclaim it in the NAME OF HIS GOD. But it wasn’t in the name of El Shaddai, God Almighty, it was in the name of Yahweh, the great I AM!
A new challenge, a new situation, required God to reveal Himself by a new name.
And this isn’t the only time that God does this. He reveals himself to Abraham as Jehovah-Jireh, the God who provides. He reveals Himself to Hagar as El Roi, the God who sees me.
Look at this scenario from the Book of Psalms chapter 24 verses 7 to 10:
Lift up your heads, O gates,
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
That the King of glory may come in!
8 Who is the King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O gates,
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
That the King of glory may come in!
10 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory.
Do you see how the people were asking to know God in a new way, by a new name? They even asked this question several times, “Who is this King of glory?”
And then they answered their own question with a new revelation about who God is – “The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory.”
That phrase “The Lord of hosts” is actually the name “Yahweh Saboath” which means “God of the armies of heaven.”
And if you look at what this knowledge of God by a new name “God of the armies of heaven” did for the people of Israel, it says it allowed them to do what? “Lift up your heads”!
Maybe their heads had been hanging down because of their circumstances. Maybe they were feeling defeated.
But they were able to lift up their heads when they knew that the “God of the armies of heaven” was on their side!
In the same way, we must always remember to proclaim the NAME OF JESUS AS WE CONFRONT OUR ENEMIES!
1 Samuel 12:22 says:
For the Lord will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the Lord has been pleased to make you a people for Himself.
Psalm 20:5 says
We will sing for joy over your victory, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners.
Proverbs 18:10 says
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe.
‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
And again in Romans 10:13
for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
But just like Moses, and just like the children of Israel, sometimes we need a fresh revelation of who Jesus really is – a “new name” for Him in a sense.
And it’s really not that surprising to think of Jesus as having more than one name.
In Isaiah 7:14 we are told:
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.
Is that Jesus’ name? Absolutely! Look at Matthew 1:23
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”
His name is Jesus, but He is also “God with us”, Immanuel.
Go back again to Isaiah 9:6
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Those are all names of Jesus – He is our Wonderful Counselor, and Mighty God, and Eternal Father, and the Prince of Peace.
He is also the Lamb of God, the Word made flesh, the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Son of David, the second Adam, the bread of life, the living water, the good shepherd, and the Light of the World.
When you need Jesus, ask yourself this question:
What aspect of Jesus do you need to have and encounter with?
Of course it’s perfectly fine to call upon the name of Jesus, which means “God’s salvation”, but do you need a Wonderful Counselor in a difficult situation? That’s Jesus’ name too.
Do you need the Light of the World in the midst of a dark situation? That’s Jesus’ name too!
Think about this. When you know someone casually, you general know them by one name, the common name that everyone knows them by. Maybe it’s Bob or Tom or Mary.
But when you get to know someone in a deeper way, you might find out that they have other names too, possibly a nick-name that only their friends and family know. Maybe they are also known at Butch, or Boberino, or Tiny.
When you can call them by that new name it is a sign that you have drawn closer to them.
Do you want to draw closer to Jesus? Learn to relate to him by each of the names that define how magnificent He really is.
He is Jesus the savior, Jesus the Lord, Jesus the Word, Jesus the Light, Jesus the Lamb, Jesus the Prince of Peace, and even Jesus the great I AM.
He wants to reveal Himself to you in every possible way. There is no name for Jesus that He will keep hidden from you if you continue to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. Friends want their friends to know them intimately. And Jesus wants to be your best friend!