“The Divine image is stamped upon every page [of the Bible]” wrote A.W. Pink. But in some places we see it more clear than others.
Let’s take a closer look at a couple of stories from our Bibles to see how God gave us His name and His commandments so that we may know Him.
In the land of captivity those whom God had called to be His, those whom He had led to Egypt about 400 years before, were now crying out for help. And we read (Exodus 2) that God heard their cries, remembered the covenant He had with them and turned His eyes to see them. God knew them and their circumstances. And what happened next? Yes, God came to make a way. In the midst of blind and mute gods, God saw and God spoke. He came to make Himself known because He loved them even when they did not even know His name.
In the next scene (Exodus 3) we see Moses, a burning bush and God. God speaks and Moses tries to figure out what is happening. But God, the Holy One, doesn’t let Moses try to find the meaning of the words he hears. Remember, God wants to be known, so He gives Moses instructions on how to approach Him. And so God speaks, “Take your sandals off your feet first, don’t come near yet!” And why did God speak these words specifically? Because God wanted to make it hard on Moses to draw near? No, God spoke because He wanted to teach Moses something about Himself: God is Holy and He establishes how we are to approach Him.
Moses listened the Word of the Lord and believed that God wanted Him to come and not be consumed by His holiness. And believing moved him to respond in obedience. By grace through faith the words God spoke to Moses that day become the threshold of their relationship. Moses now knew God because God knew him and loved him first.
God had a plan to set His people free and we see that He didn’t hide it from Moses, but communicated it to him. And in doing so, He revealed more of His character, including His name to his servant. God speaks so that we may know who He is.
“I AM WHO I AM.” God said, because He wants to be known by name. And now we will start seeing it more clearly; at every turn of the page in our Bibles, in every story from Genesis to Revelation how God wants His name, and all that His name represents and reveals about Himself to be known throughout all the ages and in every corner of the world. We read on and we see it here and there, God does all things for His name’s sake.
In Exodus six we have it recorded for us, God wants to be known as the God who frees and redeems His own people. He speaks again and again His words are clear, “I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgement. I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God.” He frees us, so that we may know Him as our God.
And so the story continues. Plagues come over the people who worshiped the gods whose names were powerless. And why did these plagues come? We don’t have to make up an answer, it is written. Yahweh wanted the Egyptians to know that He is the only true God. He wanted the Egyptians and His own people to know that the True God comes and saves His own.God made His purposes clear (Exodus 7-12), He was not hiding what He was doing here. God even commanded Moses to make sure that Pharaoh understands that in all this He is the One sending the plagues, the judgement, and that there is none other like Him in all the earth.
The Triune God reveals His purposes because He wants His name to be known and proclaimed in all the earth-
And the wilderness awaits and in the wilderness, where we are exposed to our fiercest hunger and thirst, we face temptation like the Israelites did, and we quickly forget our Creator, our Redeemer, the One who has a name and has called each of us by name. In the parched land we dare to break the silence and murmur asking, “Where is God?, Why is He hiding from us?” We quickly forget, like the Israelites did, that God never ever forgets His own. We think that God is like us, that He flees, that He hides from us. But even there God sees us, God hears us, God knows us and so He comes. And for the sake of His name, He comes to us like He came to meet His people in the wilderness. For the sake of His name, He will not break covenant. He has spoken, and we can be assured that His Word will never return void. So in the wilderness we remember the Words of the Lord. We take our Bibles and open them and read on. We meditate on what it is written when the heat is scorching in the day and the nights are freezing cold. We know it, is that or we will soon pass out.
When we steep ourselves in these stories, we can see how God has always come and spoken. He has chosen words to communicate to His people who He is and what His will is. In the Creation we can know God as our Creator, but nothing created tells us how to be saved. We can know God first as Creator and then, as we hear the message of the gospel proclaimed in the Scriptures, we can know Him, by name, as our Redeemer.
So let us take the Book of God and read. May we strive to know Him and make His name known!
Under His sun and by His grace.