When we read ‘LORD’ (in all capital letters) in the King James Version of the Bible, we can know that it signifies the vowel-less spelling of God’s name, YHWH. Some pronounce His name Jehovah and some Yahweh, but the reality is that we just do not know for certain. However, while God does not give us a clear pronunciation for His name, He does make clear the attributes of His name. With immeasurable quantity, God declares that He is merciful, gracious, longsuffering, good, true, and forgiving.
“If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:14
We all say it, “In Jesus name, Amen, ” but what are we actually proclaiming? Far too often these words of Jesus are taken out of context and many believe that at the mere utterance of His name prayerful requests come to pass. Contextually, Jesus is confirming that when our prayers line-up with the attributes associated with who He is, then and only then are they realized. In other words, at the mention of His name, we assert that deliberate thought has been given to God’s character in each of these areas and that our desire is allied with His desire. I should probably confess now that this is something I need to work on.
…By no means clear the guilty
The words, ‘the guilty’ are not found in the original Exodus 34 text, but added at a later time to make the verse ‘clearer’ to the readers. The problem however is that the meaning is clouded by this addition of this wordage. Understanding that the Lord is finishing a sentence and that He is still referring to Himself, a clearer reckoning of the phrase strongly suggests that He will not revoke the promise He has just made. That truth also helps us to understand the back-half of His remark…
…Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. Exodus 34:7
What God is not saying is that He will hold our children and our children’s children accountable for the sins we commit. That notion flies in the face of His nature and the attributes that He just declared about Himself! Consider the words of the Lord as recorded by the prophet Ezekiel, paying close attention to the last two sentences.
“What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying: ’The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge’? “As I live, ” says the Lord God, “you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel. “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die. Ezekiel 18:2-4
This is a doctrine protracted by Jesus in the New Testament as well. In the Exodus 34 text, our Father is upholding that He will visit us to do whatever it takes to restore us—even to the point of sacrificing His only begotten Son on a cross. This is a generational promise—to visit our children and our children’s children, not to punish, but to re-establish us through His Son Jesus.