When Moses asked God at the burning bush “what is your name?” the Lord replied I am “the I AM” (3:14). However difficult the Hebrew of this phrase might be (and it is difficult), God narrows the name further to “the LORD,” represented in most newer English translations with the world”Lord” in all capitals.
How do we deal then with Exodus 6 and God’s statement that he did not make Himself known as “the LORD” to Israel’s ancestors? The name is used by Eve (Genesis 4:1), Noah (Genesis 9:26), Abraham (Genesis 14:22) and Sara. In fact, it occurs 148 times altogether in Genesis.
“The LORD” is the proper name for God. It is a name He gives himself. It is a name distinct from the names of the gods of the Canaanites or the Egyptians, peculiar to the God of the Bible. By the time Moses wrote Genesis, Israel knew God by this name and so Moses, in recounting the story of Israel’s forefathers, also uses the name so that Israel will understand it is “the LORD” who is the main character.
Chapter 5 ended with Moses’ complaint to God about his own lack of success and God’s seeming unfaithfulness. God does not rebuke Moses, but instead, renews the promise underscoring its trustworthiness four times in three verses with these words: “I am the LORD.” God Himself stakes the reputation of His name on the fulfillment of his word. Moses is still stuck on his own lack of ability. Deliverance has nothing to do with him, and everything to do with God.
It’s important to remember that fulfilling God’s promises is God’s work, and not dependent on us. Our task is to be faithful to God. He will certainly be faithful to us.