Exodus 6:2-8; 15:1-3, 11-13: December 2—Yahweh Our God
Nov 25, 2012

Wiley Richards is a retired professor of theology and philosophy at The Baptist College of Florida in Graceville.
For the benefit of our younger Christians an explanation of the word Yahweh may be helpful. First, we note a characteristic of the ancient Hebrew language in that the alphabet had no vowels. Further, some of the consonants do not have precise English equivalents. To illustrate, in the most exalted name for God, the four consonants could be JHVH, JHWH, YHVH, or YHWH. 

At the time the King James Version was written, the translators chose JHVH. Jews would not even say the Divine Name, substituting Adonai. The KJV translators took the vowels from Adonai and placed them among the consonants, hence JAHOVAH. The o eventually became an e. Present-day linguists favor the consonants YHWH, pronounced Yahweh. Whichever word you use, our God will understand. The older version, Jehovah, is so deeply imbedded in so many of our songs it is not likely to be soon abandoned.

The first Name in our present text presents Yahweh as the supreme commander (6:2-5). In a war somebody has to be in charge of the larger conflict or else a particular battle can be lost. To illustrate, we hear how the successful outcome of D-Day, the allied invasion of 

Europe to destroy Hitler’s military machine, rested solely on the shoulders of General Dwight D. Eisenhower as the allied armies waited for a break in the weather to allow the passage across the English Channel. He alone had to give the command of when to begin the invasion.

Moses and his people awaited instruction from Yahweh of how to gain freedom from Pharaoh’s bondage. God laid out His credentials to show His qualifications to begin the battle and lead His people to freedom. He began with the simple statement, “I am the Lord.” He is the One who appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob under the title God Almighty, el-Shaddai. He had revealed Himself as Yahweh as far back as Genesis 2:4 which describes Him as Lord (Yahweh) God (Elohim), the Creator of heaven and earth. So the Name had appeared in public, but Moses and his generation would be exposed to the spiritual depths of the Name.

Yahweh is the hands-on leader (vv. 6-8). Nine times in these verses does God use the personal pronoun “I.” He left no doubt about who was in charge and what He would accomplish. He would personally free Israel from Egyptian bondage redeeming them with “a stretched out arm.” All He needed to do was flex a muscle. He would visit great judgment on the Egyptians. Even more significantly, He would make Israel His people. He would restore Israel to the land which He had covenanted to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It would be Israel’s inheritance. He issued His own guarantee saying, “I am Yahweh.”

After God redeemed Israel with great power, Moses composed a hymn exalting God as the glorious conquerer (15:1-3). In this first poem given in the Bible, Moses exalts the majesty of God as Israel celebrates the defeat of Pharaoh’s army. God had covered both riders and chariots in the waters of the sea. He then added a personal side, citing God as his salvation and personal God, leading Israel in praise and exaltation of God. He then attributed victory to the “man of war,” Yahweh. 

Israel subsequently followed the method of Moses of teaching their history through songs, called psalms.

We close this study in which Moses presents Yahweh as gloriously holy (vv 11-13). Unlike the gods of Egypt whose images were taken from earthly things, the God of Israel evokes praise inspired by reverential awe. In the Hebrew idiom, Yahweh is “gloriously glory,” possessing a super abundance of mercy, exhibited when He did wonders in swallowing Pharaoh’s army in the sea.

We ought not leave this topic without a brief reference to Revelation 15:3 as it asserts of those who overcame the beast and his number who sang “the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” Moses yet lives!

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