In Exodus 5:22-23, Moses questions why the LORD has called him to deliver Israel from Pharaoh. In Chapter 6, the LORD answers his question by reaffirming His Name,
“I Am the LORD (YHWH). I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD (YHWH) I did not make myself known to them…” (6:2-3).
If we think backwards from the New Testament understanding of Lord, we might go away with a faulty understanding of “Lord” as “master, boss, ruler.” However, the proper way to understand the New Testament’s usage of the word is to begin here in the Old Testament, where LORD is God’s name.
When reading the Bible, it is important to notice and understand the repetitions:
1. (6:2) “I am the LORD” – The God who appeared to the patriarchs and established His covenant with them.
2. (6:6) “I am the LORD” – The God who will act on behalf of Israel to liberate them from Egypt with deliverance and redemption.
3. (6:7) “I am the LORD” – The God who will not only bring Israel OUT of Egypt but INTO the land he swore to their fathers.
Moses’ experience thus far has been one of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. He knows YHWH, but he needs to know without a doubt that YHWH will make good on his promises. I believe this passage is one of the most important passages in YHWH’s disclosure (revelation) of himself in the Bible.
By this disclosure, 1) Moses will know and trust YHWH’s plans and ultimately surrender to that plan, 2) Israel will also recognize that YHWh–God Almighty (El Shaddai)–is God and not Pharaoh. This God acts to deliver and liberate whereas the other acts to oppress and enslave, 3) Pharaoh will recognize that YHWH is God Almighty through His Almighty acts of judgment on behalf of His people.
Up to this point, Moses has been on a journey of discovery about God’s nature and character. That knowledge of God which has been built up through personal experience of Him will translate into a life of full surrender of His decreed purposes for the redemption of Israel.
Much like YHWH’s disclosure of himself to Moses in chapter 3, chapter 6 builds on that revelation. In chapter three, YHWH makes three statements about himself in his initial revelation to Moses: 1) “I have surely seen the affliction”, 2) “I have heard their cry” and 3) “I have come down to deliver” (3:7-8). In chapter six, the same tone is taken when YHWH further develops the revelation of His purpose to Moses:
1. (6:4) “I established my covenant”
2. (6:5) “I have heard the groanings of the people”
3. (6:6a) “I WILL bring you out from the burdens”
4. (6:6b) “I WILL deliver you from slavery”
5. (6:6c) “I WILL redeem you”
6. (6:7) “I WILL take you to be my people”
7. (6:7) “I WILL be your God”
8. (6:8) “I WILL bring you into the land”
The personal pronoun is intentionally emphatic. YHWH wants there to be no doubt that all this will be by HIM, in HIM, and for HIM. His purpose is that Israel will know that YHWH, her God, is El Shaddai–God Almighty.
Therefore, in your life today whether you are a parent, a child, a son, a daughter, a student, an employee, or a boss, how do you want to see God as ALMIGHTY? Is there time in your life to recognize Him who is El Shaddai?