This weekend, the reading plan I am on hits the beginning of Exodus. Joseph, all of his brothers, and everyone else his age has died. Moses enters the story. So much of the story is very well known. Moses is saved in the river, raised in Pharoah’s house as a prince, kills an Egyptian, and flees to Midian. God speaks to him in the burning bush, and tells him to go back to free His people. Moses complains because he is still living in fear, and God finally gets him to go.
This time through, a tiny detail stood out to me. In Exodus 6, God is talking to Moses, He tells him that He appeared to all of Moses’ ancestors (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) as the Lord Almighty. But to Moses, He told him His name. Jacob wrestled with God, and wanted to know God’s name, and He wouldn’t tell him. But here, now, in this story, He tells Moses His name repeatedly. And He brings up the fact that He is telling them His name. Why?
I’m not sure. I wonder if it has to do with relationship at some level? The people have forgotten who He is, and are so oppressed with slavery, that they need to hear from God on a different level. He wants to know them in a different way. I’m not sure, but I wonder it that has something to do with it? Or if it has to do with the fact that He is trying to set Himself apart from the Egyptian gods they are surrounded with? There are a lot of different theories, and I’m not sure why He does it.
But He does.
He reveals Himself to them in a new way, when they are broken. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were all wandering herdsmen with a lot of money and resources. These people are slaves, stuck in one spot, with very little. To them, God is Yahweh. He gives them a name. I am your God, you are My people. We are together. I have not left you, even though no one else around you knows Me. I am here.
This is why it’s so crucial we live in some sort of humility. We have to pursue humility, a healthy level of brokenness, in our lives. It is there that God meets with us at a new level. He’s not lost in the noise. He isn’t off somewhere else. When we recognize that we are in need, when things are all rolling in the direction we are steering them, it is there that He says “I’m here. You and I, we know each other. Come know me better.”
The Egyptians were in control. They were decended from Noah, just as the Israelites were. But they had forgotten. A few Pharoah’s back, they had known. But power had numbed their memories. Resources had built walls between them and God. When God spoke directly to them, their response was “Shut up and go back to work.”
Where will you and I stand today? Will we hear God and know Him by name? Will we embrace the brokeness and humility it takes to hear God’s voice?
Or will we simply focus on making mud bricks?