Phone Line Transcript 2001
66 Books You Should NOT Read If You
Want To Remain a Jehovah's Witness
No. 4 Exodus: Salvation or Service-which comes first?
Last week we traced the grace of God in the descendants of Abraham. The lives of Isaac, Jacob and all but one of his sons showed little in the way of loyalty to the God of Abraham. But the God of Abraham knew all their defections in advance, for he had foretold they would by 400 years in Egypt before even Isaac was born (Gen.15). Would God therefore be surprised by their little faith while in Egypt?
Yahweh had called Abram from among Babylon's idolaters, and Abram's family continued to be plagued by idolatry and puny faith. But in their misery under a Pharaoh who knew not Joseph, they cried out to their ancestral God. Though they had apparently all but forgotten His covenant name, Yahweh, Yahweh had not forgotten them. But why should He save them? When had they, or their fathers, ever built a record of faithfulness to Him? Nevertheless, Yahweh sends Moses with a command to Pharaoh -- Let my people go! What made Israel God's people? Nothing in them. Read what Yahweh says made them His people in Exodus 3.Yahweh tells Moses to tell them, Jehovah the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. Notice it is the God of Jacob, not the God of Israel, that Moses is to represent. Jacob the deceiver, and the father of deceivers and murderers. Yahweh the God of Jacob, not the God of Prince Israel. Jacob who learned through his own suffering and the suffering of his family that God calls us to faithfulness. Jacob, who also had learned that our faithfulness cannot add to God's grace in calling us. Jacob who had learned that while we can multiply our blessings by our faithfulness, we cannot multiply God's mercy. I AM WHO I AM, Yahweh says to Moses. I SHALL BE WHAT I SHALL BE. Yahweh was now going to demonstrate on a vast scale what He had already demonstrated less dramatically in the lives of the patriarchs. He SHALL BE what he IS eternally God to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In saving His people owing to nothing in them, but entirely due to his own promise, Yahweh would "prove himself God to them", even as He had promised back in Genesis 17:8. And so it was.
Despite Israel's continual quivering and quailing, Yahweh brings them not only out of Egypt, but into the wilderness where they are to meet their God. As He appeared to patriarchs, Yahweh appears again. Exodus 19:18: And Mount Sinai smoked all over, due to the fact that Jehovah came down upon it in fire. Jehovah's Witnesses, can Jehovah come down upon a mountain in fire? Could Yahweh appear to Abram as a man. The same Yahweh who stood before Abraham in Genesis 18, and then went up from him as a man, the same Jehovah who, Exodus 14 tells us, went ahead of Israel in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, the same God, we are now told, came down on a mountain in fire. But how can this be possible? I SHALL PROVE TO BE WHAT I SHALL PROVE TO BE. Jehovah's Witness, don't let men tell you what God can and cannot do. Trust the Word, not the Watchtower.
Next week: "You cannot serve Jehovah, for He is a holy God"