Most people today, in short, assume that the word God refers to a dull, distant, and perhaps dangerous being. Most of those who think like that try hard, not surprisingly, to believe that this being doesn’t exist. “I don’t believe in God,” said the novelist Kingsley Amis, “and I hate him.”
They are right.
That God—the dull, distant, and dangerous one—does not exist.
As a kid, I used to think this part of the Lord’s Prayer said something about Halloween. “Our Father, which art in Heaven, Halloween be thy name…”
Hallowed is a big word. It is also an unused word in our culture of today. Not too many people know what it means to “hallow” something or someone. That’s why today’s thoughts are extremely important.
“Hallowed” is a word that has at it’s root the idea of “sanctification“…(another word that we never use in our American vocabulary). Sanctification is a “setting apart as holy“… to be sanctified is to be “highly respected and revered.” A good image to have in mind is the setting of a city or a building upon a hilltop. It is set apart, revered as important…holy.
We typically have given this kind of thinking to the place of politicians and entertainers in our culture. We hallow them as great, set apart, and more important than us. Of course, this is only natural for sinful human beings to worship the created rather than the Creator. God told us that this would happen. (Romans 1) We’ve been “hallowing” for a long time and didn’t even know it!
But in our prayers, as we talked about yesterday, we are to come humbly before God as our good Father, and lift His name up to the highest point in our minds. “Hallowed be your name” is a call to us to worship and bring to our mind the holiness of the name of God. He is the only one deserving of worship, adoration, and setting apart as holy in our minds and in our lives.
Jesus taught his apprentices this to remind them that God is an approachable Father, but He holds the world in His hands. We can know Him, but we must also respect his authority and his name.
The image that comes to mind for me when I think about God is C.S. Lewis’ Aslan. A mighty king, a lion, wild and untamed, but also a good, kind, and approachable friend.
The Right View of God
A name had high significance to the Jews of Jesus day. It still does. A name means something. It denotes character, integrity, authority, and personality. If someone has a good name, it means they have a good reputation.
God’s name has been used to incite violence, to promote murder, to teach heresy, and to justify horrible things. One of the the 10 simple laws God gave His Hebrew people in the book of Exodus was not to use His name in an irreverent way. He values his name, and we throw it around as if it were a cuss word or worse.
No one wants their name slandered or unjustly used. It is offensive if you are named as an offender in a crime you never committed. So it must be understood that God would find this offensive as well.
He is not insecure as if the misuse of His name would cause Him to doubt himself or be selfishly offended. But because He is truth itself, and He values truth and grace in a dark world, God desires for people to still be able to come to Him through Jesus His Son. That’s why Jesus came: to give the world a right view and understanding of God. This is why it is so important to Christians that the world understand why we believe Jesus is God.
Without Jesus deity (His being God), we have no idea truly how God is. God sent Jesus to give us a better understanding of who He is, how He thinks, what He wants, why we are here, and when we should begin to embrace Him.
Know Jesus, Know God.
And so, as you enter your time of prayer today, remember the humility with which we approach God. But also remember that He desires us to understand Him as holy, as “set apart”, as hallowed. He does deserve our worship. He created us. He pursued us. He saved us.
The least we can do is revere His name as highest in our minds.
The next phrase of Jesus’ prayer is “your Kingdom come“. Click here to continue.