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Proclaiming the Goodness of God—Sapar

March 31, 2010

by: Rev. Cheryl Hauer, International Development Director

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Eliezer lists for Isaac all that he has done (Gen. 24:66). Jacob relates to Laban his genealogy (Gen. 29:13). The spies report back to Moses concerning what they saw in the Land of Promise (Num. 13:27). In each passage, sapar is translated “told,” but the word indicates a comprehensive listing of information. Moses also proclaims a recounting of all God’s words and judgments (Exod. 24:3). Never was it more important that the information presented be detailed, accurate, and indisputable.

God Proclaims

In ancient Israel, one’s name was more than a simple means of identification, but was an expression of one’s person. In Exodus 34, qara is used as God “proclaims” His name to Moses. Throughout Exodus, Moses speaks of the Lord’s remarkable demonstrations of power and holiness, through miraculous signs and wonders, including the astonishing events at Mount Sinai. It is here that God, for the first time, “proclaims”His name.

In Exodus 33:18, Moses makes a somewhat presumptuous request, asking God to show him His glory. Amazingly, the Lord responds positively to the appeal with some qualifications. His goodness will pass before Moses as He proclaims His name, but Moses will not be allowed to see His face. He carefully positions Moses in the cleft of the rock and covers him with His own mighty hand.

In Exodus 34:5–7, we read: “Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…’” It means He is giving us a detailed and accurate list that describes for us His very nature and essence, a public statement of how He defines Himself, stated as irrefutable, unquestionable fact.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary tells us that the use of sapar and qara in all of these instances refers to a vocal, public statement of absolute truth. Webster’s Dictionary agrees, defining the word “proclaim” as a public statement of praise or glorification, or to declare publicly and insistently. Further, Webster’s tells us that “declare” means to make visible, or to play the trump suit in a card game.

His Creation Proclaims

Repeatedly, throughout Scripture, we are instructed to proclaim the greatness of the Lord and declare His works to all the nations. Psalm 96 is a royal psalm that issues a call to all believers to make a public declaration in celebration of God the Creator, the King, and the Coming One. In verses two and three, we are instructed: “Sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.”

And in Psalm 66:16, David says, “I will declare what He has done for my soul!” Psalm 9:11 says, “Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion! Declare His deeds among the people.” Verses like these take on new meaning as we realize that a declaration of His deeds means a thorough and accurate recounting of all that He has done. And if we are to make His deeds visible, this accounting comes not just from our lips but from our actions as well.

In fulfillment of Psalm 19:1, which says,“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork,” God’s very creation itself serves as a proclamation. From the most microscopic building blocks of life to the magnificent wonders of the galaxy, the world around us providesa detailed and incontestable listing of everything that He has made. In so doing, it testifies to the awesome power and grandeur of the One who did the creating.

“I will proclaim…”

As believers, we have the awesome privilege of proclaiming the glory, the name, and the deeds of the Lord…and the Word of God as well. As we face difficult situations in our lives, part of our victory comes as we read Scriptures aloud, making a detailed and public proclamation of His promises and the absolute certainty of their fulfillment! And as we lift our voices to praise and glorify Him publicly and insistently, we will make visible to a dying world the glorious life available in Him.

He has defined Himself as a God of mercy, goodness, and patience, who forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin. He proclaimed it to Moses, and it is indisputable truth. May we raise our voices and cry out as David did: …“I will declare Your greatness …and sing of Your righteousness…My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord and all flesh shall bless His holy name forever and ever” (Ps. 145:6, 7, 21).


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