Posted under The Rectory Bulletin | Exodus 34

“The LORD, the LORD” (Exodus 34:5)

Exodus 3:14 is a significant verse in the Bible - it gives us the very name of God. Moses has been tasked to speak to the Hebrews, but he wants to know in whose name he supposed to speak. Who is this “God of your fathers”? What is his name? As a man who had been raised in Egypt he was well used to the idea of many gods with many names. If this is the one God, then what is his name?

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14)

I AM. What sort of name is that?

It is a name which signifies existence, an eternal present. He is in all places and everywhere present. We are never beyond the reach of God, or outside of his notice. We cannot flee from him, or be hidden from him. God simply “is”. He exists before all existence, and all existence comes from him. God is “being”, and is the source of all being. He relies on nothing else for his existence, he simply “is”. He is the assumption upon which all else is built. The atheist may say God doesn’t exist. The atheist may say “prove it”. The response from God is simply: “I am”.

And the LORD? Well, whenever you see the word LORD in capital letters it tells you that the Hebrew word being translated is the name of God. Jewish tradition held that God’s name was too holy to be uttered, and so the word “LORD” was used in its place. Modern Bibles continue this tradition, and use capitals when the name of God is in sight.

When God proclaims his name to Moses, he begins by repeating what Moses heard at the Burning Bush: “the LORD”. He underlines the fact by repeating the name once again. The most important fact about God is simply this: He is.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) - O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel ,that mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear: Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel. - All this, in Advent, reminds us that the story didn’t begin at Bethlehem, but was set in motion long before.

Zoom Out!

“Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,” (Mark 2-4) - Let me make a plea this Christmas. It’s not the first time I’ve made it, and I’m sure you’ll grow weary of it over the years. Nevertheless, here it is: please zoom out this Christmas! Here is the day to gladden the hearts of those Prophets, Priests and Kings of the Old Testament, the day when there hopes are fulfilled and their words come to pass!

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