Quotations Theological Reflections

The Unchanging Freedom of God’s Grace

Less open to objection than all these offered solutions is the old view, according to which, reading the clause {Ehyer asher Ehyeh, Ex. 3.14} straight from beginning to end, it gives expression to the self-determination, the independence of God, that which, especially in soteric associations, we are accustomed to call His sovereignty. Considerable support this receives from the analogously-phrased sentence in Ex. 33.19, where the context seems to call rather for an affirmation of the sovereignty of God in bestowing the favour of vision of Himself than for an assurance to the effect that, promising to be gracious, He will be truly gracious. Thus taken, the name Jehovah signifies primarily that in all God does for His people, He is from-within-determined, not moved upon by outside influences.
But from this there issues immediately another thought, quite inseparable from it, viz., that being determined from within, and not subject to change within, He is not subject to change at all, particularly not subject to it in relation to His people. Thus understood, the name fits admirably into the situation of its revealing. Jehovah, the absolute God, acting with unfettered liberty, was the very God to help them in their unworthiness as regards themselves, and in their impotence as regards the Egyptians. That sovereignty underlies God’s giving Himself to Israel is stated in so many words: ‘I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God, and ye shall know that I am Jehovah, your God’ [Ex. 6.7]. But the other element, that of faithfulness, is equally much emphasized from the beginning: ‘Jehovah, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this my memorial unto all generations [Ex. 3.15]. ‘I have remembered my covenant. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am Jehovah’ [Ex. 6.5, 6, 8]. In Ex. 33.19, where God gives a disclosure of His sovereignty to Moses, this is brought into connection with the name Jehovah. In the later Scriptures the second elements, that of faithfulness, is especially associated with the name [Deut.7.9; Isa. 26.4; Hos. 2.20; Mal. 3.6].

Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology

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