Our readings today in Exodus and Romans tie together in their reference to the exaltation of Moses, who was now ready to serve God after 40 years of preparation “in the land of Midian”. Moses is now a meek and humble man (Numbers 12:3) – God can now use him.
In Romans 9 Paul notes God’s words 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” (verses 15,16). In our Exodus reading yesterday we saw how God could not use Moses’ own “will and exertion” (2:11-15). Paul drives home the lesson that one cannot deserve, or earn, God’s blessing by their own efforts. All God’s blessings are an expression of His mercy, or grace and therefore it is sad when so many talk about grace as though it is an ever-flowing factor that they can be certain about – regardless of how they behave.
Paul’s next point is 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’” (verse 17). This is not the proclamation of God’s actual name, 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 with the dramatic deliverance from Egypt of the descendants of Jacob.
God’s name is given in Exodus 3 as, “I will be what I will be” (verse 14 – ESV footnote). This means God will ‘make’ His name or reputation, by what is about to happen. “This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations” (verse 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 read Psalm 135 and its praises to the LORD we see the significance of verses 8-13 of the LORD’s name and “renown”. It is fully expressed in Isaiah 63:11-14 how God “led your people to make for yourself a glorious name”. Daniel makes the same point in his impassioned prayer (9:15).
In the same way we look back to the sacrifice and resurrection of our Saviour, and how God made for Himself the name of ‘Father’. We are privileged to call God ‘Father’, but must “hallow” that name. How many are striving to make a name for themselves which Christ will remember when the time comes for him to confess those in his service. In Revelation 3:5, Jesus says, “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 1:27, “to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world”.