The Daily Office | February 27, 2018
Psalms 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125
Psalms 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131
Exodus 6:2-13 (14-30), 7:1-7
Collect: The Second Sunday in Lent
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
In Exodus 6:2-3 God says: “I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name ‘The LORD’ I did not make myself known to them.” This sounds strange in English because “The LORD” is not a name, it’s a title. English Bibles (following earlier translations) insert “The LORD” in place of the name because many Jews and Christians, out of reverence, prefer not to utter it.
But regardless of the language or translation you are reading, God’s statement is simply not true in any modern sense. If God did not make himself known to Abraham by his name, why does Abraham so often call God by that name? It wasn’t that the patriarchs didn’t know the name, but rather that God had not yet revealed the true meaning of the name.
In Exodus 6:7 God says: “You shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has freed you from the burdens of the Egyptians.” They already knew the name, but they would only understand the meaning of the name when he had delivered them. If you want to know what God’s name means, look at what he did in the exodus. That is how he wants to be known.
It seems that God wants us to view the core of his identity as the one who liberates the oppressed and judges evil. The prophets often record the phrase “then you will know that I am the LORD” when talking about God’s future judgment of evil and deliverance of the oppressed. If we want to be in relationship with God, “liberator” or “redeemer” must be one of the primary ways we think of him.