How Does a Person “Hallow” God’s Name?
In the past zealous mothers would teach their children the evils of “taking the name of the Lord in vain” by washing their mouths out with soap. This approach seems ludicrous to today’s generation, but it was nevertheless a sincere desire to teach the importance of honoring God by not misusing His name. Actually, the best way to cure swearing is to have a proper attitude about who God is and what He does: this was the first point of Jesus’ famous prayer.
We are now in the second of a series of blogs on “The Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:9-13), touching upon the seven requests mentioned. The first three requests focus on God’s concerns, the last four on our concerns. The first petition – “Hallowed be Your name” – is literally a call to “Let Your name be hallowed” (i.e., honored, exalted, kept holy). “Hallowed” is the verb form of “holy.” The sacred awesomeness of God in all His attributes seems best summarized by this simple 4-lettered word “holy.” The celestial beings before God’s throne enthusiastically cry: “Holy! Holy! Holy!” (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8), acknowledging thereby that the LORD God Almighty is separate from sin, evil and wrong doing.
The third Commandment was: “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7, NKJ). The first three Commandments emphasize the importance of: 1) honoring the one true and only God, 2) not degrading God by making idols and 3) not defaming His character by misusing His name.
Actually, God has a number of titles and names. Why the large number? All of these names are simply ways to help us describe and appreciate our God. A good example would be the spontaneous expression of the Egyptian maidservant of Abraham and Sarai (Genesis 16:13). The young woman had fled into the wilderness to escape Sarai’s wrath, but the angel of the LORD found her:
“Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who Sees [Heb. El Roi]; for she said, ‘Have I also here seen Him who sees me?’”
We hallow God’s Name, names and titles when we appreciate who He is and what He is – refusing to do nothing that would reflect a negative reaction or comment. To understand the purity, perfection and person of God is to love and serve Him, cleansing from our minds any tendency to foolishly degrade Him by misusing his names and titles in vulgarity and bursts of anger.
The greatest way to “hallow” His name(s) is to allow His person and personality to become our own. To be “born again” (John 3:3), is to have a new and wonderful spiritual creation take place within, the work of the Holy Spirit. Then, the names of God, Jesus, Christ, etc., are so meaningful and precious to us that we have no inclination to swear or vulgarly use His names.
NEXT BLOG: Further discussion about the names of God and hallowing them.