Day 16

Remembering God's Name

“…Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you…”

Exodus 3:15 NLT

Throughout Genesis, God is referred to by the personal name ‘Yahweh’. In the first two chapters of Exodus, this is replaced by the more formal ‘Elohim’, which is more of a title and much less personal. The narrator of Exodus is implying that Abraham’s descendants have forgotten God’s name.

Names communicate the nature of a relationship. You wouldn’t call any older man “dad” or give someone you just met a nickname. In a similar way, the use of God’s name indicates a certain relationship He has with people. The people of Israel had known God intimately, as Yahweh, but somewhere in their oppression, they’ve lost the intimacy they once had with God - He was now a more distant Elohim. They’d forgotten what God was like.

Then, in Exodus 3, God introduces himself to Moses as Yahweh - the God who hears the cries of His people. He sends Moses as His representative so that the people of Israel would remember the name of God and the character of God. In turn, the Exodus, when the Israelites escape Egyptian bondage, is used again and again as the primary way to understand God’s nature and character. Because God, by his very nature, is a liberator.

Freedom for the Israelite people starts with Moses remembering God’s name. Remembering that He is not just a far off and distant God, but that He wants to be close and personal. Yahweh, not Elohim. Freedom starts in intimacy with God.

Do you know God more as Elohim than Yahweh? Is He distant and uninvolved, or intimate and liberating? The extent of our intimacy is up to us.