Let’s take a brief look into some ways God has revealed Himself and His attributes, culminating in the Gospel of Jesus and the Kingdom.
First, consider the seedbed of the Gospel—the people of Israel. In the Scriptures, we see God revealing Himself to His people increasingly over time. He never changed, but His revelation has allowed His people to know Him more clearly over time.
The Patriarchs and then Moses…
Consider how God revealed Himself to the fathers of Israel (patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). Think about the fuller way He revealed Himself to Moses:
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…
“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.’” (Exodus 6:2,6-8)
Interesting, isn’t it? See the slight difference in how God revealed Himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, compared to Moses?
To the patriarchs, God made promises and primarily revealed Himself as “God Almighty” (this makes for an interesting study, because He was known by the patriarchs as “Yahweh” as well). Most of how He showed Himself was in the context of life and following His directions day-to-day. His work in their midst was not epic or far reaching geographically (with the exception of Abraham rescuing Lot from the kings of the plains). Usually, God’s work impacted the group of people the patriarchs were involved with at that time. Then they’d build an altar or make a pile of stones, acknowledging that new revelation of God’s character.
But God walked with Moses in a different way. Rather than periodic God-sightings, He stepped up, with consistency, the display of His presence, more powerfully showing Himself to be “the LORD” (Yahweh). He delivered Israel through plagues, parted the Red Sea, led them as a pillar of fire and cloud, met with Moses “face to face,” established His covenant with them, and ultimately gave them the land of promise.
Israel became responsible for the new fuller covenant with God. Their stewardship increased, as did the possibilities of judgment if they forgot and/or disobeyed.
God still reveals Himself to us in small everyday ways—displaying His goodness to us personally. What ways have you recently seen God work in your life to remind you of His power and attributes?
As we’ll learn, God has joined us in our lives fully, consistently, and in far-reaching ways. In more ways than we’ve probably noticed.