The Proclamation of the Name of God
By: Robert E. Henson
18 And he said, I beseech thee, show me thy glory.
19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.
Moses’ awesome encounter with God came in response to his request of the Lord, “Show me thy glory.”, the term glory, as applied to the Lord, means displayed excellence or manifested excellence. Moses was requesting to see a display of the Excellencies of the Lord God.
In response to Moses’ request, one of the expressions, or domains, of God’s Glory that He promised to reveal to Moses was this… “I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee.”
I will be focusing on the second dimension of God’s Glory, as given to Moses the proclamation of the Name of God. However, first of all, let us consider…
The Incredible Request of Moses
“Show me thy glory.” This is the request of a man who has already had some awesome encounters with God. God had spoken to him directly out of a burning bush. The bush, though on fire, was not consumed. God had even called Moses by name.
In that miraculous setting, the Lord commissioned Moses for leadership and ministry.
Not only that, Moses had witnessed firsthand the mighty plagues that God inflicted upon Pharaoh, the Egyptians, and their idol gods. That was no small demonstration of divine firepower. It was an empire-wide display of God’s omnipotence and supremacy.
Furthermore, Moses has already been invited up to the mountaintop to meet with God personally no less than six times. Additionally, in the very chapter of our scripture text, Moses has already spoken with God face to face in the Tabernacle, “as a man speaketh unto his friend.”
During this encounter, Moses had besought the Lord, “Show me now thy way…” That request was in order that Moses might know whom it was that the Lord would send to accompany Israel on their journey to the Promise Land.
The Lord responded.
Exodus 33:14 “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.”
In this same setting, Moses then made a second request. It was essentially a query as to how that Moses and the Israelites would know that the Lord was going to go with them. Moses appealed to God to separate Israel and favor them above all other nations and people upon the earth.
“I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.”
Now, incredibly, Moses comes back with his third and ultimate request, “Show me thy glory.” This is an astounding request. It is from a man who refuses to be satisfied with less than God’s best. Moses wanted everything that was available to him in God. Oh, how often we settle for so much less than what we could have in God! In response to this extraordinary request, notice…
God said to Moses, in effect, “I will answer your request, but I will do it my way!”
20 And he said Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
21 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:
22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:
23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.
Too often we spend our time trying to get God to do things our way. We need to do as Moses did and let God be God!
I Will Proclaim the Name of the Lord before You
Note, Moses made his request of the Lord while Moses was in the Tabernacle. The record of the petition is written in Exodus 33.
The fulfillment of the request was not given in the Tabernacle, but on the top of Mount Sinai, after Moses was summoned there for a seventh time by the Lord. The majestic fulfillment is recorded in Exodus 34.
5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.
6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, It is most interesting that when God parades His Name before Moses, the Lord expands the definition and revelation of His Name.
The LORD, the LORD God
The word God in the above verse is the Hebrew word El. This refers to God as the Almighty. It particularly conveys the idea of power and/or strength. There is no limit to His power! He is omnipotent! He is the Almighty!
The word Lord is used twice, “The Lord, The Lord God.” This is the Hebrew word Yahweh or Yhovah, from which the English name Jehovah is derived. It literally means The Self-existent One or The Eternal.
This name suggests the eternality of God and His everlasting character. This same idea is contained in God’s Self-expressions of I AM and I AM THAT I AM.
The name Jehovah also suggests the unchangeableness of God. It is the Name that God most often used in the Old Testament when He was revealing Himself. This is the name the Lord used when He established a covenant or agreement with His people.
The Lord also made it stridently clear to His people that He had no competition.
“For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: The Lord was also very stern about the matter of how His Name was to be respected.”
“Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”
The term in vain means to use in an irreverent or blasphemous manner. The NIV translates the verse this way.
“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”
The Lord’s Name is not to be misused. It is to be treated as hallowed, sacred, special, and holy. The reason for God’s protective stance concerning His Name is that it embodies His character, reputation, and work.
In the revelation of God’s Name given to Moses, The Lord further informs His servant that He was giving him an understanding of the Name Jehovah that even Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did not have. It was the understanding that Jehovah is the Redeemer.
7 And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;
8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
Absorb this statement from the Lord: have surely seen… and have heard… and I am come down to deliver them.” Since the fall of man, it has always been God’s intention and purpose to redeem mankind. His Very Name embodies that concept.
God’s Fully-Revealed Name
And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His Name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.-NKJV
The Name Jesus literally means Jehovah is salvation, i.e., Jehovah is the Savior. It can also be rendered Jehovah is the helper, or Jehovah has become my salvation, or Jehovah has become my Savior. Oh, the great power and deliverance that is available to those who believe on His Name!
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Consider one more precious promise associated with the Name of Jesus.
Yes, ask anything in my name, and I will do it! -NLT
Indeed, salvation and all other divine supply come to us through our application of God’s fully revealed Name. The songwriter expressed the majestic, flowing beauty and truth of the Name of Jesus in this manner:
Tis so beautiful, the Name of Jesus,
Tis so beautiful, that precious Name,
If you ask in Jesus’ Name,
Anything is yours just to claim,
And I love that precious Name.