HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME
Many people struggle to believe in God because world conditions, personal pains, and local tragedies seem totally inconsistent with a God who claims to be loving.
'If God is love then why did this happen, or why doesn’t He do something about....?'
Ever since Eden, Satan has maligned the nature of God. This is an easy target. He intimates that God is the divine wet blanket censoring pleasures of any kind. ‘Has He told you not to eat of that tree?’ The devil insinuates there is something sinister about God, holding back what they’re entitled to, prohibiting the newly formed couple eating from the tree.
The Name of God is a revelation of His character and as such it occupies a position of high priority in the prayer of Jesus. It’s a first as far as Christ is concerned. It’s the first item calling for prayer. In fact the first five points of this prayer are to do with and for God, rather than us. Most of our prayers want God to meet our needs. But it seems Jesus is pointing out we need to use prayer for God’s purposes on Earth before our own.
The Name of God is to be held sacred by the inhabitants of the Earth who owe their very existence to Him. This is worship. This is the high pursuit of a disciple, to glorify God. To ensure the worship of His Name is magnificent. It is setting the Name of God aside from every other name uttered from our mouth.
The name of God is precious to us, not to be blasphemed in our personal world. God’s name reveals who He is, along with His intentions and actions in our world.
History shows us God acting in ever-new ways. Whenever He does something never seen before, Jahweh introduces Himself with a new name. His nature is revealed in His name. This is why many Jewish people held ‘the Name’ in such high reverence that they refused (even to this day) to even say YWHW. I think most of us would have placed something else at number two of the Ten Commandments which prohibited us violating God's name in any way at all. When prophets spoke in His name they commanded an authority that kings bowed to. Oaths made in God's name were therefore binding, and battles fought in the name of God anticipated certain victory. Other nations feared Israel, not because it was a militarily powerful nation, but because it rallied under the Lord's name. In the New Testament, the fullness of God's name most clearly manifests in Jesus Christ. He totally reveals the name (the character) of God (John 17:6).
All of us are known by a variety of ‘names’. I am known as Phil the husband to my wife, father to my children, ‘Grandad’ to my grandchildren, Pastor Phil to my church, leader Phil to our movement, author Phil to readers, artist Phil in some circles, yet it’s all one and the same person, fulfilling very different roles and surfacing a different emphasis of a part of me in each circumstance.
Let’s spend some time acquainting ourselves with the many names and thus the character of the Father.
See you in church!