Thought for January 31st. “THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED”
Our readings today – in Exodus and Romans tie in together in their reference to the exaltation of Moses, now ready, in God’s sight, to serve him after 40 years of preparation “in the land of Midian.” Moses is now a meek and humble man (Numbers 12 v.3) – God can now use him.
Paul’s points in our Roman’s chapter (9) are illuminating: first, he states how God “says to Moses, ‘’I will have mercy on whom I have mercy… So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who has mercy.’” [v.15,16] In our Exodus reading yesterday we saw how God could not use Moses’ own “will and exertion” [2 v.11-15]. Paul then drives home the lesson that one cannot deserve, i.e. ‘earn’ God’s blessing by their own efforts. All God’s blessings are an expression of God’s mercy. This is parallel to talking about God’s grace; therefore it is really saddening today when so many talk and write glibly about ‘grace’ as though it is an ever-flowing factor that they can be certain about – regardless of how they behave,
Paul next makes the point that “Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth’”. [v.17] This is not the proclamation of God’s actual name as an intellectual understanding, but of God’s reputation that was about to be established by what he did. We will read of this in the next few days; the dramatic deliverance from Egypt of the descendants of Jacob.
In relation to this look carefully at our reading in Exodus 3 where God’s name is given as , “I will be what I will be” [v.14 – as shown in the ESV footnote] Primarily, this means God will ‘make’ his name, that is, his reputation, by what is about to happen – “This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.” [v.15] Their deliverance from Egypt became a ‘memorial’ which all generations would look back to – as a foundation for their confidence in God. Thus, when we come to read Psalm 135 and its praises to the LORD we will see the full significance in v.8-13 of the LORD’s name and “renown.” It is fully expressed in Isaiah 63 v.11-14 how you God “led your people to make for yourself a glorious name.” Daniel makes the same point in his impassioned prayer (9 v.15)
In the same way we look back to the sacrifice and resurrection of our Savior – and how God made for himself the name of ‘Father.’ We are privileged to call God ‘Father’ – but how many “hallow” that name when they say the Lord’s Prayer. Do we?
Just as vital is to ask; how many are striving to make a ‘name’ for themselves which Christ will “remember” when the time comes for him to “confess’ what those in his service have achieved according to the “talents” given to them? Think about what Jesus says in Rev. 3 v.5, “The one who conquers (him/herself!) … I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.” Our ‘name” that Christ will “confess” will be achieved in many different ways; for example, to quote James 1v.27, “to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”