The early Jews considered this name so holy they didn’t even say it aloud.
This name is to be highly revered. In my Bible, it’s easy to simply read past it, mistaking it for “Lord.” But it’s in all capital letters: LORD.
It’s like a call to action — Stand at attention! Or, maybe more appropriately, Get on your knees!
That’s how I feel when I read Exodus 34. God shows Himself to Moses.
Because humans couldn’t see the face of God and remain alive, God told Moses to stand in the cleft of the rock, and He would cover Moses with His hand while He passed. God allowed Moses to see only His back, not His face. And He would proclaim to Moses His name (Exodus 34:17-23).
5 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands,and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”
Exodus 34:5-7 NIV
God is declaring Himself. He is the Almighty God, Yahweh. The LORD.
Moses fell to his knees and worshiped. That’s the way it makes me feel, too.
Can you imagine it? To have Yahweh, the Almighty One, walk in front of you, speaking just to you?
Yahweh says He is
slow to anger
abounding in love and faithfulness
maintaining love to thousands
forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin
does not leave the guilty unpunished
I am awed by this passage. Every portion of it is worthy of meditation and worship.
But what stands out to me is the contrast. There’s so much mercy and love and grace, but then it’s followed by justice.
Harsh? Maybe we can shift our thinking to a time when we were cheated, and it seemed the cheater would go unpunished. God says the guilty will be punished. Suddenly that justice gives comfort.
But you know what? We’re all the guilty ones. In some way or another, we’ve all been the cheater. But God says in these verses that He forgives wickedness, rebellion, and sin. He does this through His Son, Jesus (John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life). God is loving and merciful and just.
It seems unfathomable to have God Himself walk in front of us, describing Himself, telling us who He is. But here’s the awesome truth: we have this privilege available now. This minute. Maybe not in the way Moses experienced it. But every time we pray, every time we open the Bible, God Himself talks to us. Each time we call out to Him, He’s there. Yahweh in all His magnificence is available to us, now. Just like with Moses.
Yahweh, glorious One, thank you for being just as available to me as you were to Moses. I might not see You with my eyes, but I see You on the pages of Scripture. I see evidence of Your love in those who serve You and in Your creation. Let me draw near to You today. Amen.