God’s Self-Revelation in Exodus 34:6-8 -- By: J. Carl Laney

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 158:629 (Jan 2001)
Article: God’s Self-Revelation in Exodus 34:6-8
Author: J. Carl Laney

God’s Self-Revelation in Exodus 34:6-8

J. Carl Laneya

To get acquainted with someone, a person can ask others about that individual. Or a person can meet the individual personally and ask appropriate questions. In seeking to know God many Christians study what others say about Him. But a better way to get to know God is to ask Him about Himself. This is exactly what Moses did in Exodus 33:18 when he said, “I pray You, show me Your glory.” The answer to Moses’ request is given in 34:6–7, in which God revealed several of His divine attributes. This passage is one of the most important theological texts in Scripture, because it is the only place where God actually described Himself, listing His own glorious attributes.

The importance of Exodus 34:6–7 as a foundation for biblical theology is evidenced by the fact that this statement is repeated many times in the Old Testament (Num. 14:18; Neh. 9:17; Pss. 103:8, 17; 145:8; Jer. 32:18–19; Joel 2:13; Jon. 4:2). Echoes of this self-revelation also appear in Deuteronomy 5:9–10; 1 Kings 3:6; Lamentations 3:32; Daniel 9:4; and Nahum 1:3. The biblical writers clearly regarded Exodus 34:6–7 as a foundational statement about God.

Strangely, this great passage has received little attention from systematic theologians. For example it does not appear in the Scripture index of Chafer’s Systematic Theology.1 Berkhof’s Systematic Theology cites Exodus 34:6 twice and 34:7 once, but only as proof texts for certain divine attributes, without discussion or comment.2 Erickson cites the text in support of the graciousness of

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