I will . . . proclaim before you the name. (v. 19)
Remember yesterday’s quotation from Psalm 106, about the glory of God and the image of an ox? Rebellious Israel was satisfied with the god made of gold, but Moses longed for something infinitely truer and greater, a glimpse of the glory of the real God.
Not even he was capable of looking into the glorious face of God. But God’s great name would show him as much of the glory as he could bear. It was the name he had already learned not so long before, at the burning bush in Exodus 3. There God had spelt out the immediate meaning of his being called “the Lord,” Yahweh: he would defeat Egypt and rescue Israel. Here the name is the same, but deeper implications are revealed.
He is slow to anger. The entire sequence of 10 plagues has been a long, drawn out, repeated opportunity for Egypt to repent, offered by a patient, merciful God.
On the other hand, his grace abounds for a thousand generations (30,000 years – I doubt whether the world will last that long!). Israel is even guiltier than Egypt, having been so much more highly favored. But while the unrepentantly guilty are doomed, there will always be forgiveness for those who turn back to this ever-loving God.
Show me your glory, I pray.