The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:5–7)
This passage is in many ways the heart of the Old Testament. It is here, on Mount Sinai, that God’s glory is made manifest and he proclaims his name before Moses. This is the giving of the Ten Commandments, but it is more than that. It is the revealing of the character of God who issues those commands. It is the greatest encounter of God recorded in the Old Testament.
Names are important things in the Old Testament. They reveal something about the character of the person, and names often have great significance. When God gives his name in Exodus 3:14 it is a key moment, as it tells Moses something about who God is.
Yet there is more in this passage. God doesn’t simply give his name, he proclaims it. As he passes by Moses in glory, he proclaims a name which is longer than that given at the Burning Bush. In proclaiming his name, God is giving us an extended meditation on his name, a longer form of his name.
This is vital in understanding who God is, so over the next week I’ll go through these verses bit by bit. As you look at this great name of God, you’ll discover something more of God’s character and so know God better.
Names are important. None more so than the name of God.
Picture: Mount Sinai