March 5 I Friday
“God also said to Moses, ‘I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by My name the LORD I did not make Myself known to them.” —Exodus 6:2-3
After Abram’s father, Terah, died, Abram, along with his wife Sarai and nephew Lot, set off for the land of Canaan. When Abram got there, “the LORD appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.’ So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him” (Genesis 12:7). It is interesting to note that only after Abram was obedient to God’s original call on his life—to go to the land that the Lord would show him—did the Lord reappear to him, reaffirming His promises to him. Abram set up his new life in Canaan and “he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD” (Genesis 12:8).
As we read through the book of Genesis, we must remember that it was Moses who wrote it, which is important. When we look at Moses’s interaction with God in Exodus 6:2, where God declared, “I am the LORD”, the name “LORD” in the Hebrew is Yahweh, which is the personal name of God. Then God tells Moses, “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by My name the LORD I did not make Myself known to them.” Only to Moses did God reveal Himself as Yahweh (LORD), but not to the generations before. In other words, when Abraham called on God, he would have called on “God Almighty,” or El Shaddai in Hebrew, which means “the God over everything; the God who will take care of everything.”
When we reread Genesis 12, we find that Moses records God as Yahweh throughout the chapter when he refers to “God.” Why was that? Moses may be doing this to create a bridge between the God that Abram meets in Genesis 12 and the God that delivers the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage in the book of Exodus to show that it is the same God.
As we study the Old Testament, we need to realize that God slowly, over multiple generations, makes Himself known to His people. There was an awareness of God throughout the known world in Abram’s time, but it was a broken understanding of who God is. Sin twisted that in Genesis 11 with the Tower of Babel, and mankind wanting to make a name for themselves, where at the heart of its religious worship was self-interest.
This is why, during the time of Abram, God slowly made Himself known to humanity simply as El Shaddai, the God who will take care of everything. As God reaffirms His commitment and promise to Abram, Abram has the confidence that God Almighty is able to fulfill it.
Prayer: El Shaddai, the Lord is God Almighty, praise be to You! Thank You for being the God who will take care of everything. My faith rests confidently in You alone.