One of my favorite histories in the Old Testament involves God’s interaction with Moses. There is an occasion when God shares knowledge about Himself after Moses asks to see God (literally, Moses asks to see “God’s glory”). (Exodus 33:18)
God explains that Moses cannot look on the glory of God’s face because “man may not see me and live.” (Exodus 33:20)
“Then the Lord descended in the form of a pillar of cloud and stood there with him, and passed in front of him and announced the meaning of his name (literally, ‘proclaimed the name of Jehovah.’). ‘I am Jehovah, the merciful and gracious God,’ he said, ‘slow to anger and rich in steadfast love and truth. I, Jehovah, show this steadfast love to many thousands by forgiving their sins; or else I refuse to clear the guilty, and require that a father’s sins be punished in the sons and grandsons, and even later generations.” (Exodus 34:5-7)
The meaning of God’s name as shared with Moses acts as a spiritual paintbrush — painting an iconic impression of God for me that is an ongoing, divine gift of incredible kindness and mercy. (“I show kindness and mercy to anyone I want to,” stated the Lord to Moses. Exodus 33:19) Thousands of years later, it deepens my love for God — and helps me better comprehend God as described by His Son, Jesus.
In the meaning of His name I am reassured that God has always been merciful, gracious, loving, kind, and truthful — and capable of forgiveness. The New Testament doesn’t herald a new concept of God. It continues God’s love story with man, and it heralds a new understanding between us.