Summary: how the Lord wanted to introduce himself as the LORD and reputation is important
August 25, 2002 Exodus 6:2-8
God also said to Moses, "I am the LORD. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them. 4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they lived as aliens. 5 Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.
6 "Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.’"
What kind of a reputation do you have? OR what kind of a reputation do you THINK you have? Does it matter to you? It seems that the attitude today seems to be a kind of in your face, “I don’t care what people think of me.” Most of our kids are being raised by Eminem and Allen Iverson - that you need to - “be your own person and don’t worry about what anyone thinks of you - especially parents and authority figures!” Is that really the attitude to have, “I don’t care what anyone thinks of me!” Consider what the Bible says -
1 Timothy 3: He (a pastor) must also have a good reputation with outsiders.
Proverbs 22:1 A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
If a good name - reputation - is better than great riches, and also a prerequisite for a pastor, then shouldn’t that be a desirable thing? Shouldn’t we be concerned with how people think of us?
What about our God? You would think that an Almighty God would not care two hoots about what people thought of him - or what his reputation was. Why? Because we can’t dethrone God or vote Him out of office. We can’t win any battles against him or change his mind. But in today’s text, He is telling the Israelites exactly who He is - and how He wants to be known as - the LORD. Why was this so important to Him? What does it mean? Today we’ll find that out as we consider how -
The LORD Has A Reputation to Uphold
I. It started as God Almighty
Reputations can be ruined overnight, but they can’t be built overnight. Like a building, it has to be put up brick by brick - one day at a time. Over the years, then, God had built quite a reputation for himself. He mentions that in his conversation with Moses. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty. The first time that we find this definition of God is found in Genesis 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” In the introduction of Himself as God Almighty, he promised Abraham a child - as the all powerful Creator of life. This same idea carried across in Genesis 28 when Isaac blessed Jacob and said, May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. (Cf. also Genesis 35:11) From these previous two usages of this Word, God revealed Himself as a God of protection and blessings of life.
Therefore, when God said, “I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty” - he was referring mainly to His revelation of Himself as a protector and giver of life. This is evident throughout their lives. He revealed His power and mercy in giving Abraham a son at 100 years old! He doubled his blessing to Isaac as he had TWINS - Jacob and Esau. And to Jacob, of course he gave the blessing of multiple children. Throughout their lives God protected them in their journeys to Haran, Canaan, and Egypt. We especially saw the evidence of God’s protection as he protected Joseph in his journey down to Egypt and brought all of the Israelites to live in Goshen safely. He had always been there for the Israelites - most importantly keeping the line of the Savior alive and well. It took time and hard work, but up to this point He had built quite a reputation as being a powerful and yet a caring and life giving God - El Shaddai - God Almighty - just what He wanted.