PROCLAIMING the ‘NAME’ and ‘ATTRIBUTES’ of ‘YAHWEH’: Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation." (Exodus 34:5-7)
When YAHWEH revealed Himself to Moses, it was more than His appearance but He revealed His character as well. He declared Himself to be a God of mercy, grace, patience, and goodness (v. 6). Yet at the same time, God executes justice on wrongdoers (v. 7). These two “sides” to God’s moral character—being merciful and being just—does not contradict but rather complements each other. For God to be merciful He must right the wrongs that people do; that calls for justice. On the other hand, to be fully just God must allow for the weakness and limitations of His creatures; that demands mercy.
We can note that YAHWEH proclaimed His name to Moses by expressing His character, His awesome wonder, and His mercy. When the Gospel of John introduces Jesus as The Word, there is celebration of the fact that He is “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14, 17) and was echoing the words of the above passage. To see Jesus is to see the Father! (John 1:18).
The name YAHWEH is holy as Jesus taught us through His prayer (Matt. 6:9b), and should not be taken in vain (Exodus 20:7). This name is a strong tower of refuge for us (Proverbs 18:10) that should be leaned upon (Malachi 3:16). This is the name that will be written on our foreheads one day in the future (Rev. 22:4).
When YAHWEH proclaimed His name —the great “I AM” - He was actually revealing His seven attributes to Moses and to us, which are as follows:
- He is merciful – not giving the punishment that we deserve.
- He is gracious – being kind and benevolent towards us.
- He is long suffering – patiently enduring all provocation from us.
- He is full of goodness – revealing His virtue and moral excellence.
- He is Truth – as an indisputable fact or reality (John 14:6)
- He is forgiving – as he grants pardon and absolves us from any wrongdoing (Jer. 31:34)
- He will punish the wicked – who do not seek Him for forgiveness (Psalms 99:8)
Can we proclaim His wonderful name and turn to Him today?
"The Lord is merciful and gracious; slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." (Psalms 103:8-12)