So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it you have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.
God addressed Moses questions about the past by talking about the future. God was not looking back to deal on the past. He looked forward. Judgment began at the house of God but now it’s Pharaoh’s turn. Pharaoh served God’s purpose to discipline his people for their sins and Pharaoh will let them worship their God. In fact, Pharaoh will do more than let them go. He will drive them out of his land. This will not be the first time a Pharaoh had driven God’s people out of his land. Pharaoh told Abraham to take his wife and leave after he experienced great plagues too.
And God spoke to Moses and said to him: I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord I was not known to them.
God wants us to know him. In Israel’s deliverance, God added revelation to the revelation he had already given Abraham. He added knowledge to the knowledge they already possessed. They knew him as God Almighty, but they did not know him as Lord. God is greater than one generation. The revelations given to each generation do not void the knowledge we have already acquired. Knowledge added to the knowledge we already possess gives us a clearer picture of who God really is.
1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; ….
Don’t be afraid to add another part to the parts you already possess about God. Moses generation received a part Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did not have. You and I have a part that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses did not have. We have the name Jesus and the mystery his appearing revealed. They only knew him as the prophet who would come, they thought as a conquering king.
Deuteronomy 29:29 NKJ
The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
What ever God reveals about himself belongs to us and to our children that we may obey God’s law. God’s intent in coming to Egypt was more than deliverance. Before he left everyone knew that “He is Lord”.
First God told Moses “by my name Lord I was not known.” Than he said I am here because I remembered my covenant. You will be delivered from the Egyptians and,
I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God…
Not only will God deliver Israel, they will know who is Lord. Moses told Israel what God said, but they were so miserable they don’t want to hear it. It did not matter to God whether they wanted to hear it or not. His mind was made up to deliver them and he is not leaving until it’s done. God told Moses to schedule another meeting with Pharaoh, but Moses objected saying:
…The children of Israel have not heeded me. How then shall Pharaoh heed me, for I am of uncircumcised lips?
Bear in mind Moses wrote this after it happened. Probably during the forty years they wandered in the wilderness. Before Moses recorded God’s answer to his question, he included a genealogy that identifies the family Moses and Aaron came from. If you are not careful, after you read the genealogy it appears Moses moved onto a new subject. It’s not a new subject because the same question was repeated followed by God’s answer.
And it came to pass, on the day the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, that the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, I am the Lord, speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say to you. But Moses said before the Lord, Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh heed me?
I want to point out one thing in God’s answer.
And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, …
God had a lot more to say to Moses than I pointed out but his intent is to reveal a new name. He wanted Israel to know he is Lord but he also wanted the Egyptians to know he is Lord. In the context of what we are studying, deliverance, you need to know something. God is interested in more than your comfort. He wants you and your oppressor to know him.
Abraham knew him as God Almighty or El Shadday. El Shadday was the Patriarch’s covenant name for God and continued as such until the time of Moses when Israel added Lord or YHWH as the family name of their diety. The new name God gave to Moses appears without vowels in the Hebrews writings. Its exact pronunciation is debated as either Yahweh, Jehovah, or Yehovah. In the English versions of the Bible, it is usually translated as Lord.
I read several commentaries about YHWH and what it means. There was only one point of agreement. No one is sure what the names El Shadday and YHWH mean. Since nobody is sure, I guess my opinion is a good as anybody’s.
EL SHADDAY /GOD ALMIGHTY
When Abraham was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abraham and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you and will multiply you exceedingly.
The first time El Shadday or Almighty God appears is in Genesis chapter 17. Prior to God’s announcement that he is almighty; Abram and Sarah produced a son because everything God promised Abram depended on Abram having a son from Sarah. Their Egyptian servant gave birth to a son Sarah adopted. Their actions were acceptable according to their culture, but lacked the key elements of faith and love. When God appeared to Abram and said “I am Almighty God” I believe he rebuked Abram’s effort to multiply and make God’s plan work.
Sarah’s plan to use Hagar and Abram’s compliance implied God needed their help to fulfill his promise. God had not started something he could not finish. Abram and Sarah were worried they would not have a son in time to receive the Promised Land. They failed to understand God’s time is unlimited. Abram and Sarah did not understand the power of Almighty God.
If you look up Almighty in the Hebrew, it simply says Shadday means Almighty. Another commentator said, Shadday means “I am God all sufficient”. Vines Expository Dictionary says:
” …the name is not explained in any manner and even the direction “walk before me” and be thou perfect” throw no light on the meaning of Shadday. Scholars have attempted to understand the word relating it to the Akkadian Shadu (mountain) as though God had either revealed his mighty power in association with mountain phenomena such as volcanic eruptions or that he was regarded strong and immutable like the everlasting hills of the blessing of Jacob. Certainly the associating of deity with mountains was an important part of Mesopotamian religion.”
We are not dealing with a Mesopotamian religion. A living God is dealing with us. Nor do I believe Shadday has anything to do with a mountain. I believe the only way to understand Shadday / Almighty is to understand it the same way Abraham did. What exactly did Shadday / Almighty mean to Abraham? How did Abraham understand I am God Almighty or I am God all sufficient?
I disagree with Vines conclusion “in its context Shadday or Almighty is not explained in anyway” and that “walk before me and be perfect shed no light to it’s meaning”. The thirteen years between Ishmael’s birth and God’s revelation to Abraham as Almighty mean nothing to God. At a ratio of 1,000 years being equal to 24 hours, 13 years to God is about 20 minutes later. That is why I believe God rebuked Abraham for producing a son.
The context God Almighty is invoked reveals how Abram understood what Almighty means. At least what it meant to him. The Apostle Paul also understood God Almighty in the same context.
Before God said to Moses, “I am the Lord, I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord I was not known to them,” God Almighty was used six times in the same context – children, being fruitful, multiplying or becoming a vast multitude.
The children God produces fulfill his plan not the children we produce. Ishmael could never fulfill God’s plan without leaving his plan fallible. Ishmael would never be sinless. Only the son who came through Isaac would be sinless because God is Almighty. He is able to produce many sinless sons and daughters. One sinless son made it possible.
After God revealed himself to Abram as God Almighty. Abram’s son Isaac used the name God Almighty in the same context as his father.
May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you that you may be an assembly (or multitude) of people…
The third time God is speaking to Jacob, Isaac’s son, saying.
…I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you and kings shall come from your body.
The fourth time God Almighty was invoked Jacob was comforting himself. He thought Joseph was dead. In the midst of a famine his sons go to Egypt for food. Simeon is not allowed to return. Jacob had not hope he would see his son Simeon again. If they don’t return to Egypt everyone will die for lack of food. But they can’t return without Benjamin! Jacob can’t bear the thought of losing Benjamin too. His world was crashing down around him. Where is the promise of becoming a vast multitude? God promised Abram and personally promised Jacob that they would become a company of nations. Why was the opposite happening? Why did Jacob keep losing his children? How will God make them a great multitude? Joseph is no more. Simeon is gone. Now he was at risk of losing Benjamin. Then Jacob remembered what Daddy taught him and what God himself confirmed. God is Almighty. Jacob declared when he sent his son’s including Benjamin to Egypt.
And may God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may release your other brother and Benjamin. If I am bereaved, I am bereaved!
Jacob understood what his father and grandfather understood. It’s not the children we produce that fulfill God’s plan. If I am bereaved of all my children it does not matter because God is Almighty. When Jacob let go of the fear that he would lose the blessing of becoming a great multitude, he learned that he had not lost any of his children. They were all safe and doing well. In fact, the son he thought died years ago was ruling the nation of Egypt second only to Pharaoh, because God is Almighty.
The next time the name God Almighty was invoked Jacob was speaking to his son Joseph. God Almighty appeared to me and said he would make us a multitude of people and give the land to our seed said Jacob. The sixth and last time God Almighty was used by the patriarchs, Jacob was speaking prophetically about each of his sons. When he addressed Joseph he said,
By the God of your father who will help you and by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessing of the deep that lies beneath, blessing of the breasts and of the womb. The blessing of your father have excelled the blessing of my ancestors…
More sons will come into the kingdom of God through Joseph than through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob because Ephraim will become a multitude of nations.
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul used Almighty one time in the same context as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the context of sons and daughters.
2 Corinthians 6:18
I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.
When God said to Abram, “I am God Almighty” he made it clear to Abram I will do the multiplying. From that time forward Almighty was always used in the context of children and multiplying into a vast multitude. It did not matter how many children Abram produced. He had more sons than Ishmael and Isaac. But only one son enables us to be counted blameless or perfect.
Producing a child of God is a work of the Spirit. Jesus was speaking to Isaac’s descendants when he said, “your father is the devil.” Jesus was talking to the children who descended through Isaac. The children produced through a carnal act can’t bless us. The children God produces through a spiritual act are blessed. Jesus said to the religious leaders of his day,
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
Human efforts to produce children for God are worthless. Only the Spirit of God can produce a child God’s love will never be taken from because only God is Almighty. Therefore, it is my conclusion that the name God Almighty revealed a God able to produce more sinless sons than there are stars in the sky or grains of sand on the seashore. I am counted as sinless in God’s eyes if I am in his sinless son Jesus. The only way for us to be blameless or perfect before God is to let God multiply the children.
LORD / YHWH
If Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob only knew a God who multiplies and blesses what does this new name YHWH reveal about God. As with El Shadday or God Almighty, the precise meaning of YHWH is much debated. Therefore, my opinion is as good as anybody else’s. Many of the commentaries stated the name YHWH was know as early as Adam but the fuller significance or experienced meaning of YHWH was not known until Moses day. So what was different about God in Moses day?
From Adam to Moses time we do not see God disciplining his creation. Adam and Eve were immediately judged. The people of Noah’s day were warned and judged. When Noah obeyed the rest of humanity were washed away in a flood. Abram went to Egypt contrary to God’s wishes and lied. Yet no discipline was forthcoming. God told the man Abram lied to the truth but did not rebuke Abram. To the contrary, Abram got rich in Egypt off a lie. He continued to lie in a tight spot and taught his son the same bad habit. Isaac told the same lies his father did. Jacob was an idol worshipper. Yet all they knew were God’s blessings without their sins being addressed.
In Moses day, we see a new side of God. He is not only Almighty, one who produces many sons and daughters. He is YHWH, A Father who disciplines his sons and daughters. They can’t go down to Egypt and get rich off a lie anymore.
The divine name YHWH is usually translated Lord in English versions of the Bible because it became a practice in late Old Testament Judaism not to pronounce the sacred name YHWH, but to say instead “my Lord” (Adonai).
Let’s look at an example of Lord being used as Father and son.
The Lord (YHWH) said unto my Lord (Adonai) sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
The word Lord in Psalm 110 are two different Hebrew words, yet they are both translated Lord. Jesus quoted this verse to prove he is God. The Apostles quoted this verse that all the house of Israel would know assuredly that God /YHWH has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ. Through out the New Testament Paul addresses the trinity as three separate personalities. The Holy Spirit is the free gift of God the Father to his people and Jesus is always our Lord.
While there is no certainty as to what YHWH means among scholars I believe Paul knew what YHWH means. It means FATHER! Only a father who loves you will discipline you. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob only knew God would bless them. They never experienced his discipline as their children experienced in Egypt. Did that mean God did not love Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Absolutely not! He loved them, but they were babies and you don’t take the paddle out until the child is mature enough to under stand why he is being disciplined.
Even Pharaoh knew the fatherly side of God. No, I have not lost my mind! I know God killed Pharaoh and thousands of the Hebrews in the wilderness. What kind of father kills his children? A Father who lives by the law he gives his children to live by.
Deuteronomy 21:18-21 NKJ
If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who when they have chastened him, will not heed them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city to the gate of his city. And they shall say to the elders of his city, This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard. Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.
So you want to know why God killed Hebrews in the wilderness? I’ll tell you why! They were stubborn rebellious sons that had been chastened yet continued to rebel. Moses said to Israel,
Deuteronomy 9:7 NIV
Remember this and never forget how you provoked the Lord your God to anger in the desert. From the day you left Egypt until you arrived here, you have been rebellious against the Lord.
Pharaoh did the same thing the Hebrews did. He rebelled against the Lord from the first day Moses stood before him until he died in the Red Sea. God revealed himself in a new way that we might know God. That knowledge is a precious gift with the inherent ability to bless you or destroy you because,
2 Peter 2:21
… it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.
When you know the truth and reject it what else can God do? Your rebellion affects others. You are not his only son. Your rebellion makes the rest of us miserable. How long must we bear your burden? How long must we wander in the wilderness because you know the truth and refuse to obey?