Today’s reading: Exod 1:1–3:22, John 1:1–18, Song 1:1–4
Today’s reading: God’s Self Disclosure
Today we see two of the greatest passages in the entire Bible concerning God’s self disclosure or revelation of who He is to man. First we see God reveal Himself as the I AM, the self existent, present and eternal God and then we see God’s ultimate self disclosure in Christ as The Word who became flesh.
God desires that we come into relationship with Him and so expresses to us His person, ways and heart through his names and ultimately through Jesus. As we read the Bible we should be getting to know God more and growing in our relationship with Him.
Sin is a taskmaster
Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses. Exodus 1:11
This is a picture of the bondage the devil inflicts on people through sin.
Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, Exodus 1:15
Praise God that these women feared the Lord, they are like heroes of the people of God.
This is powerful from the JPS(1)
Shiphrah: The Semitic stem means “to be beautiful.” The name appears in a list of slaves attached to an Egyptian estate and is indicated as being Asiatic.
Puah: The daughter of the hero Danel in Ugaritic literature bears this name. Apparently it was originally a term for a fragrant blossom and came to connote “a girl.”
The names of the midwives are recorded but not those of the reigning Pharaohs. In the biblical scale of values these lowly champions of morality assume far greater historic importance than do the all-powerful tyrants who ruled Egypt.
And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. Exodus 1:21
In these days in Egypt midwives generally were barren or had no children, so God lovingly and miraculously blessed these women with families of their own. They took care of God’s family so He blessed and took care of theirs.
God in the small details
When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” Exodus 2:6
Look at this minor detail orchestrated by God, by the Lord having the baby cry, Pharaoh’s daughter took pity on the child… this is the providence of God
Moses points to Jesus
He answered, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid, and thought, “Surely the thing is known.” Exodus 2:14
This is a foreshadow of how Jesus was treated at his first coming.
God’s revelation of Himself
And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. Exodus 3:6
God’s first order of business after attracting Moses’ attention and calling him is self identification and revelation.
From bondage to freedom
and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Exodus 3:8
God’s purpose was to redeem Israel, to save them from the land of bondage and bring them to a broad (free) and abundant land. This is God’s desire for us too.
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” Exodus 3:14
This is a re-revelation of the name known by the patriarch’s but lost to the current generation. The name carries the meaning of causing to be and being. The following is helpful from D K Stuart (2006):
The name should thus be understood as referring to Yahweh’s being the creator and sustainer of all that exists and thus the Lord of both creation and history, all that is and all that is happening—a God active and present in historical affairs.
And they will listen to your voice, and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; and now, please let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.’ Exodus 3:18
God did not intend Moses to go it alone.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1
The beautiful opening to the 4th gospel was likely based on a hymn of confession sung by the early church, Jesus is the subject here, He is the Word.
God’s ‘Word’ in the Old Testament is His powerful self-expression in creation, revelation and salvation. Jesus is God’s ultimate self disclosure.
John boldly declares here that Jesus is God, but not in a Modalist(2) sense as the Word is with God and is so distinct from the Father and yet is God.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014
1: Sarna, N. M. (1991). Exodus (p. 7). Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society.
2: Modalism. In the early Church a form of unorthodox teaching on the Trinity which denied the permanence of the three Persons and maintained that the distinctions in the Godhead were only transitory. Among its leading exponents was Sabellius. It is seen today in the false teaching that there is no Trinity in God but that it is one God who transforms himself into different forms, first as Father, then as Son and finally as Spirit
Taken in part from Cross, F. L., & Livingstone, E. A. (Eds.). (2005). In The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed. rev., p. 1104). Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.