Hallowed be Thy Name

Picking back up today in the study I’m doing of The Lord’s Prayer that we talked about a few weeks ago.

This time we’re going to look at the phrase, “Hallowed be Thy Name.”  As I said in the previous post; on the surface The Lord’s Prayer (TLP from now on) doesn’t really seem that deep.  I’ve pretty much dismissed it in the past because I just never tried to look past the basic words. 

Hallowed be Thy Name:

1)     As I started this study, I immediately came across something I never realized.  I’ve always read this phrase as a STATEMENT, but it is actually a PETITION.  A petition is actually a request.  That’s interesting.  So, Jesus wants us to ask God to glorify his name.  Why? (And is there meaning in the fact that this is a petition and not a statement of fact)

I’m not going to number anything else, I just wanted to number that point for some reason. 

Let’s work on that one word question above, Why?  The author makes an interesting point here – he says that a person’s name stands for that person.

“When you think of a person’s name you don’t have in your mind a series of letters, but you think of that person and you respond either positively or negatively to the thought of that name depending upon what you think of that person…How a person responds to God’s name, either praising it or taking it in vain depends upon what that person thinks of God.”

What we’re really asking God for, is to make his reputation great, so that people will honor and respect Him. 

The author states that this petition expresses our greatest purpose and our greatest need.  From the Westminster Shorter Catechism we learn that, “Man’s primary purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”  That means that this should motivate everything we do. It is our greatest need as well because we will most enjoy God when He is most glorified. 

Check out these verses:

“…he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.  In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace…”     Ephesians 1:4-5

“…bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”    Isaiah 43:6-7

“…so I made the whole house of Israel cling to me, declares the Lord, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory…”    Jeremiah 13:11

“Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power.”    Psalm 106:8

“But I acted for the sake of my name, that is should not be profaned in the sight of the nations…”  Ezekiel 20:14

“For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake…”     1 Samuel 12:22

“For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you…”    Isaiah 48:9

“But when they came to the nations, wherever they came, they profaned my holy name, in that people said of them, “These are the people of the Lord, and yet they had to go out of this land.”  But I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations to which they came.  Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God:  It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came.  And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them.  And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.”   Ezekiel 36:20-23

In case we hadn’t yet gotten the point that God takes his reputation seriously, we have this story of Moses and Aaron from the book of Numbers.  Actually, I’m just going to summarize Numbers 20:2-12 for you instead of typing it all out. 

The Israelites are still wandering around in the wilderness, and they’re still complaining and not trusting God to provide for their needs.  They’re thirsty and they complain to Moses and Aaron that they need water.  They actually say they wished they had died than endure this hardship or being thirsty.  So Moses and Aaron pray to God and God tells them to command a rock to bring water and that He will bring water out of the rock to give water to everyone and all their cattle.  Here’s what happened:

“Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall WE bring water for you out of this rock?”  And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock.  And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” 

Whoa!  Wait a second?  Is it really that big of a deal that they struck the rock instead of just speaking to it?  This is the guy that God chose to lead his people out of Egypt to the promised land.  He’s been leading them now, wandering around for more than 38 years.  It isn’t like Moses isn’t a big deal to God.  He clearly likes the guy or something.  Now, after all that, he’s going to exclude him from getting to the promised land just because he hit a rock?  Seems a little excessive on the surface, but there are clues in the passage as to what was really going on here.  Let’s look at it in light of God needing his reputation to be glorified.  Here’s what the Matthew Henry commentary says about this passage:

“Moses must again, in God’s name, command water out of a rock for them; God is as able as ever to supply his people with what is needful for them. But Moses and Aaron acted wrong. They took much of the glory of this work of wonder to themselves; “Must we fetch water?” As if it were done by some power or worthiness of their own. They were to speak to the rock, but they smote it. Therefore it is charged upon them, that they did not sanctify God, that is, they did not give to him alone that glory of this miracle which was due unto his name. And being provoked by the people, Moses spake unadvisedly with his lips. The same pride of man would still usurp the office of the appointed Mediator; and become to ourselves wisdom, righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. Such a state of sinful independence, such a rebellion of the soul against its Saviour, the voice of God condemns in every page of the gospel.”

God takes his reputation VERY seriously. 

Now let’s turn and look at something that is just amazing to think about it.  I wrote last week that God is both Just and Justifier.  In that blog we discussed that Jesus came and lived the perfect life for us, as well as dying the death we deserve.  Having a primary purpose of glorifying God is no exception.  Check out what the authors of this study have to say about it:

“Jesus came because all of us have failed to fulfill our purpose.  Instead of living for God’s glory, we have lived for our own glory.  Instead of being caught up in the great purpose of making God’s name great in the world, we have been caught up in making a name for ourselves.  We have been more concerned with our reputation than God’s reputation.  In many ways big and small we have not hallowed God’s name.  And so for the sake of his own name God sends his Son to glorify his name.  Jesus fulfilled our purpose for us: he glorified God in all that he did.”

Not only did he glorify God in his life, he glorified him at his death as well.  Read John 12:27-28

“‘Now is my soul troubled.  And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?  But for this purpose I have come to this hour.  Father, glorify your name.”  Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 

One last thing I want to say, and I’ll state it as a challenge for those that follow Christ.  When we pray, “Hallowed by Thy Name,” we are making a commitment to God to live our live for that purpose.  It is a commitment to make God’s glorify the purpose behind everything you do.  Many people have struggled with the meaning or the purpose of life.  As Christians we don’t need to wonder, we can be sure that our purpose and our meaning can be found in living life in such a way that glorifies the name of the Lord. 

 The next time you pray, “Hallowed be Thy Name,” hopefully you’ll have a better understanding, as I now do, of what it actually means, and allow it to actually affect the way you live.

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