It’s Easier to Split an Atom (Exodus 6:1–27)

The recipe of redemption:

  1. Take God’s covenant with Abraham.
  2. Cut along the present dividing the covenant past (Exodus 6:3–5) from the covenant future (Exodus 6:6–8). [NOTE: This step is impossible, God’s covenant faithfulness in the past cannot be separated from our present, not the future, but just pretend.]
  3. Add Yahweh at the beginning, end, and in-between. [NOTE: Again, this is just a mental exercise. God is the beginning, God is the end, and when you make your imaginary split between the past and the future, you’ll find that God is already there too.]

God’s name (Yahweh) and His covenant are linked together. In Exodus 6:3–8 if God isn’t saying “I am Yahweh,” He is saying something that regards His covenant. Four times, at the beginning, end, and betwixt all the covenant talk, God declares, “I am Yahweh.” God’s name speaks to who God is in Himself. Yahweh is the I AM, He has aseity, is immutable, incomprehensible, and holy just for starters. But His name isn’t merely tied to who He is, it also concerns what He does. God’s name is part of God’s redeeming covenant love. He redeems His people to Himself to know Him, and to know that all that He is, He is for them. They are redeemed to know that Yahweh is their God and that their God is Yahweh.

When God tells His people who He is, the definition isn’t theoretical and abstract, but practical and concrete. Yahweh delivers and redeems His people (Exodus (6:6), and then takes them to be His people, adopts them, so that they might know He is Yahweh their God (Exodus 6:7).

The patriarchs didn’t know God by his name, but in the title “God Almighty” (El Shaddai). This isn’t to say that they didn’t know God’s name, but that they didn’t know God in His name. If you looked in their mental dictionary the entry “Yahweh” was there, followed by a pronunciation guide, but the definition was blank. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob called upon the name of Yahweh. They knew the name, but God had not made Himself known in His name. Now God is giving the definition, and the definition isn’t a short one. God’s was just getting warmed up at the burning bush. God’s elucidation of His name continues throughout the whole of Exodus. Look up “Yahwah” in the dictionary, and the entire text of Exodus follows.

But even then God isn’t finished showing us how His name and covenant are forever linked. The definition isn’t really filled out until we come to Jesus, the Greek variant of Yeshua, meaning “Yahweh saves.” In the name and person of Jesus, we see God’s name and covenant fully intertwined and inseparable.

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