And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty (El Shaddai), but by My name Lord (Yahweh) I was not known to them.” (Exodus 6:2-3)
The words, “I am the LORD (Yahweh)” was not intended to inform Moses of what the Almighty is called, necessarily, because that was already known. On several occasions, Abraham was told that God’s personal name was Yahweh. So why does He say, “By my name Yahweh I didn’t make myself known to them”? Why did He say that they knew Him only as El Shaddai?
The Hebrew root word that is translated as “know” or “known” is yada’ and implies intimate knowledge of something or someone. This is the same root that is used when the Bible said that “Adam knew his wife, Eve and she conceived.” In words, what the patriarchs experienced in their lives in relation to God resulted in understanding that He is El Shaddai — the All Sufficient One. As El Shaddai, he provided for their needs and made certain promises to them — promises they did not live to see realized.
Where Moses and his generation was concerned, their experiences in relation to God would result in an understanding that He is Yahweh — the “self-existent and eternal One.” They would have intimate knowledge — by witnessing first hand the plagues and the deliverance of their people — that He is the One who brings the promise of redemption to pass. The point is, the statement made to Moses was not about what they called Him but how He revealed Himself to them. The statement was not about His titles but His actions.
God provided for the patriarchs in many ways but miracles such as those that occurred in Egypt were not made evident to them. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did not see what Moses would see. Thus, the generation that was to be redeemed would KNOW (have intimate knowledge) that God is the LORD. So then, I would submit to you that if we are the generation that is “look up” and realize that our “redemption is at hand,” then we are the generation that will KNOW that He is the LORD. We are those who will bear witness to His mighty deeds and actions. So, let us not doubt and be fearful but let us believe and have courage that our God is Yahweh.
Blessings and Shalom,