I don’t know how I missed this all these years. God telling someone that the fathers of the faith didn’t really know Him seems like it would stick out. [Then again, my wife often says things that she thinks should pretty clearly stick out and I just bumble along like nothing ever happened. Mr. Astute Observation I am not.] But my shortcomings aside, there is something big going on here in Exodus 6.
Check this out from the Complete Jewish Translation:
2 God spoke to Moshe; he said to him, “I am ADONAI. 3 I appeared to Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya’akov as El Shaddai, although I did not make myself known to them by my name, Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh [ADONAI].
What I find so fascinating is the way God chooses to reveal His name. There is definitely something in the power of a name. I’m not sure (and neither are biblical scholars) what it is people called God before this, but here God clearly tell Moses, what His name is. The fact that God chooses to reveal this to Moses is not what suprises me the most. The fact that He did NOT reveal this to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob or anyone else yet (what did Adam and Eve call him???) does surpise me. It also brings out some questions:
1) Do I know God’s name? I mean I know it’s Yud-heh-vav-heh. But I don’t even know how to pronounce that, so maybe I don’t really know it.
2) On the other hand, perhaps I do know it because I know it when it’s Him speaking to me and when it’s not (I get a lot of help from Scripture and community on this one). If I do know it, is there something more to Him that He wants to reveal to me like He did to Moses?
3) One of the main themes in Exodus is that God wants to be known. Am I helping others to KNOW Him, KNOW His name? Or am I just another mis-representation, taking His name somehow in vain by doing things that don’t represent Him at all?