CHIV - IV. YHWH-God of Israel Since Egypt The powerful...

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IV. YHWH--God of Israel Since Egypt The powerful words of Hosea, the eighth century prophet, remind us that it was in YHWH's saving deeds -- more so than in the etymology of God's name -- that the LORD made himself known to Israel. Speaking in the first person, YHWH reminded wayward Israel: 1 I am the LORD your God from the land of Egypt. You know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior. It was I who knew you in the wilderness, in the land of draught . ... The experiences and revelations of the exodus and Sinai fleshed out the meaning of the Divine name in the history of the nation. In these events and their subsequent pilgrimage the nation came to know God ("to know" is an intimate, up front, and inter-personal concept in Hebrew), with depth and insight that surpassed what they knew of any other. Further, as the citation above illustrates, they knew the LORD because God "knew" them; mutual knowledge is the basis of sound relationships. Israel had what was supposed to be an exclusive relationship with YHWH since the exodus; the LORD and the nation had a history together, and through that history they had come to know each other. This sort of historical knowledge, because it is concrete and experiential, is quite compelling and it would shape Israel's understanding of YHWH, her God forever. 1. YHWH as Savior : 2 God miraculously prepared their way through the desert by his mighty deeds ( geburoth , lit. "strong works") and the nation came to feel that in these deeds they had come to know God's 1 Hosea 13: 4-5. 2 I am indebted to Claus Westermann's, What Does The Old Testament Say About God ? (Atlanta: John Knox, 1977), pp. 25-39 for many of the insights indicated in this section.
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character. 3 Hence Moses exclaimed: "O LORD God, thou hast only begun to show thy servant thy greatness and thy mighty hand; for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as thine?" The old adage "seeing is believing" is not far removed from this dimension of Israel's faith. Certainly, it was the recollection of the exodus as well as contemporary victories that inspired David to lead the great congregation in singing: 4 Now I know that the LORD will help his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with mighty victories by his right hand. Some boast of chariots, and some of horses; but we boast of the name of the LORD [of] God. They will collapse and fall; but we shall rise and stand upright. The saving events of Israel's past also stand as a pledge and as a monument to the truth that YHWH would remain as Israel's savior. Psalm 80 evidences how the faithfulness of YHWH formed a bridge from the exodus past to an anticipation of God's saving intervention in the midst of present trials: 7. Restore us, O God of hosts, and let Thy face shine, that we may be saved. 8. Thou didst bring a vine out of Egypt;
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CHIV - IV. YHWH-God of Israel Since Egypt The powerful...

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