Monday, August 02, 2010

The God Who Saves Us So That We Might Know Him

In our sermon text Yahweh emphasizes His name to Moses. And we noted that God’s name is all bound up with who God is and what He does. And when God makes His name known to the people of Israel, He will simultaneously rescue them from their slavery in Egypt and redeem them with His mighty outstretched arm and great judgments. And when Yahweh does this, He will take Israel as His own people and be their God, and then they will know that Yahweh their God is the one who brings them out from the bondage of Egypt.

Notice several things about this passage. First, notice that God is determined to save His people despite what they think. When Moses goes and tells the people again what God has promised to do, they do not listen to Moses. Yahweh is content to save His people despite what they think or believe. But this really isn’t surprising since the act of salvation is itself a manifestation, a display of who God is. After He rescues them, after He redeems them, then they will know that He is Yahweh their God.

Notice also the order of events. First, God is the one who keeps His promises. He remembers His covenant with the fathers, then He keeps covenant with the children in bondage, then He saves the children in bondage, and He makes them His people and He calls Himself their God. And it’s only then, after God has done all of this, that God says they will know Him. We love Him; because He first loved us. We know Him; because He first knew us. We serve a God who comes for His people even when they resist Him, even before they know Him, before they want Him to. And this is what it means for God to be Yahweh for Israel. He is God for them, the God who saves.

But all of this becomes even more glorious in the New Covenant. The God who was revealed in the Exodus has drawn even more near to His people. And there is a new name, a name that is above every name, the name Jesus which means Savior. And this Jesus came for us while were still enemies of God. This Savior always comes for His people. He remembers His promises to our fathers, to be our God, to forgive our sins, and to raise this entire world to new life.

And the pattern is still the same. God remembers the children of His people. Like the slaves in Egypt, all children are born enslaved to sin and death, but God comes to us with promises. And He says to us, I will bring your children out of bondage. I will bring your little ones out with my outstretched arm. I will redeem you with great judgments. And the only question is: do you believe this. Do we believe that the promise is to us and to our children? Dan and Amy, you are called to believe this today and all the days God gives you teaching, training, and loving Isaiah.

This God’s way: He promises and remembers us and our little ones. And then rescues us and our children, and He makes us as His people and He calls Himself our God. And the pattern is that after God has claimed us, after God has called us His people, then we come to know Him. Then we come to know His name as the God who saves, the God who rescues, the God who comes for His people. And every infant baptism is a picture of this glory. Here Isaiah is a son of Adam who needs to be rescued from the old world of sin and darkness and be joined to the life of the Kingdom of the Son. And God does this by placing His name on our children, making them part of His people, and calling Himself their God. In this baptism, God calls Himself the God of Isaiah Bakken. And as God does this, we are to look in faith to God believing that Isaiah will come to know this God who saves Him.

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