But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, in whose sight I made myself known to them in bringing them out of the land of Egypt.
Ezekiel 20:9 ESV
Where God is concerned, relationship comes first, rules follow. God, in the Biblical prophets, such as Ezekiel is dealing primarily with relationship: idolatry breaks the relationship with God first, and breaks his law second. Israel disobeys the law because it has already broken with God – law breaking is the natural expression of that broken relationship.
God acts firstly for himself: he has made a covenant with his people before the nations, therefore he will redeem them. It is for his name’s sake that he makes and keeps covenant.
God’s actions reveal his nature to the nations, not just to Israel. Salvation, redemption is always a testimony to God’s grace to all people, and an invitation.
God made himself known to his people in the act of redemption! God reveals himself most personally and intimately in the act of ‘bringing out of the land of Egypt’. This pre-emptive act of redemption is a commencement of relationship, or more accurately a re-commencement, a restoration of what was and what was always intended. In revealing himself in this way God reveals his character and restores the relationship, giving us the reason to obey: our redemptional relationship with God.
It is truly awesome that the God of the universe should choose to make himself know in and through this very act of redemption! That such a sacrifice, such a turn around, such a transformation of our position before God should not only allow us to know God, but actually reveal him to us. Have you been ‘brought out of the land of Egypt?’, then that is the point at which God first makes himself know.
Lord, thank you, praise you for this grace, this making yourself known to me in your redemption of me – to the praise of your glorious grace!