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Bible Commentaries

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

Exodus 6

Verse 3

"Handfuls of Purpose"

For All Gleaners

"And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them." Exodus 6:3 .

The different appearances of Jehovah. The marvellous fact that he has been made known by different names. This circumstance should put an end to all sectarian controversy. Religion is not a matter of mere name, but of spiritual reality. The word is unquestionably important, but only important as indicating something which is behind it, and infinitely greater than itself. Men know the Lord under different forms and representations. The thing to be remembered is that it is the same Lord. The particular point of this text is that the men themselves referred to knew God by different names. At first they knew him as God Almighty, but they had no knowledge of the name Jehovah. Does it follow, then, that the Lord was not Jehovah because the patriarchs did not know him by that designation? We grow in spiritual consciousness as we grow in grace and in knowledge. The mind seems to awaken to the power of describing God by new appellations, and worshipping him under enlarging and ennobling forms. God has many a name, and he reveals himself to men by what name he pleases to adopt. Jesus Christ has revealed himself to some thinkers as a man; to other thinkers he has revealed himself as God the Son. These views may be used in one of two ways either as beginning a controversy which can never end, or as suggesting the infinite fulness of the Being who can represent himself under names of limitation and names of infinity. Do not let us quarrel about the mere name. Many a man may be under the Godship of Christ, who is unable metaphysically to affirm the Godhead of the Son. Names and words in this connection must be thoroughly well defined and understood before they are turned into weapons of controversy and assault.

Verse 9

"Handfuls of Purpose"

For All Gleaners

"They hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage." Exodus 6:9 .

How religion is sometimes placed at a disadvantage! Men's social circumstances disqualify them for listening to sublime appeals. Poor people are in no mood to listen to speculation; even the word of hope falls mockingly on the ear of men who have grievous burdens to carry. Sometimes social condition is to be improved before religious instruction can be effectively given. The condition of the body greatly affects the temper of the spirit. A wounded spirit who can bear? By long ill-usage man is disqualified for religious action. We must therefore be patient with men. We do not all start from the same point in our spiritual education. We must wait for the weak ones; we must adapt our tone to those whose lives have been sunk in black despair. Some news appears to be too good because of the low condition of those who receive it. No wonder the world itself was startled almost into mockery by the announcement that God had appeared to redeem it. Preachers should not imagine that their people are all as well prepared as themselves to go forward in the noblest pursuits. He is most Divine who is most patient with the suffering and the weak. When Jesus Christ announced the forgiveness of sins, the people were shocked at the very Gospel that should have been their supreme joy.

Verse 27

"Handfuls of Purpose"

For All Gleaners

"These are that Moses and Aaron." Exodus 6:27 .

Particular circumstances by which men may be distinguished. Moses and Aaron are special names to us, but they might have had contemporaries who bore the same names. Men may have the same names and yet very different natures and functions. Every man should have a certain name indicating spiritual education, position, and influence. The Christian Church should be distinguished as that Church by which light is increased, charity is distributed, and life is ennobled. Whenever any difficulty arises as to the identity of men or institutions, those men and institutions should instantly be known by the breadth of their spiritual life and the reality of their generous service to the world. It will be of little use to be known as that Church with the long creed, that Church with the heavy purse, that Church with the brilliant intellectual ability; all these qualifications may attach to a worldly institution: the Church of Christ is to be known as that Church which is strong in sacrifice and infinite in sympathy.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on Exodus 6". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. 1885-95.