A Promise Remembered

Torah Portion: Va'era (Exodus 6:2-9:35)
Gospel Reading: Luke 1:46-55, 67-79
Commentary By: Matthew Day

I've heard it said that God's sacred name, Yod Hey Vav Hey, carries the connotation of Covenant keeper. This idea comes from our Torah portion this week, "God spoke to Moses saying, 'I am YHVH. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as El Shaddai, but by my name YHVH I did not make myself known to them.' " He goes on to speak about the Covenant that He made with them and His intention to now fulfill that Covenant. To Abraham, God revealed Himself as the promise maker. But, it was not until Moses that God revealed Himself as the Covenant keeper by redeeming His people from Egypt and bringing them to the promised land. At this time, it was made clear--this is a God who remembers His promises.

Fifteen hundred years later, after centuries of exile and disobedience, God once again revealed Himself as the Covenant keeper. Mary rejoices,

    He has helped His servant Israel, 
       in remembrance of His mercy, 
    as He spoke to our fathers, 
       to Abraham and to his offspring forever.

Messiah has come to bring the redemption long overdue. To fulfill the promises made to Abraham and give the people of God a home and an inheritance. The exile from God's presence was over. To "rescue us from the hand of all our enemies that we might serve Him without fear." Sorrow, pain, guilt, jealousy, bitterness, anger--death and all her children would be trodden underfoot by the victory of Messiah. No longer would we have to fear their power, freeing us to serve in joy and peace.

To their fathers, God had revealed Himself as the one who keeps the nation of Israel, but not until now did He reveal Himself as Redeemer of all humanity. As it was written, "in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Gen. 12:3).