I want to give you a nice three point message on the phrase “Hallowed be thy name.” Three simple points that we probably all know but that can easily be forgetten. One reason they are easily forgotten is because we live under the new covenant, and while I am very grateful for this it also like all things has a flip side. All coins have a head and a tail side and if you look at one you are not seeing the other, and that is what sometimes happens with this topic. Living under the new covenant and blood of Jesus we do not have to deal with the sacrificial system and we enjoy constant grace and mercy, but because of this we can quite easily forget the holiness of God because that is something you are reminded of when you have to constantly be on guard not to trespass the Mosaic Law. Living in the goodness and mercy of God can lead to us forgetting who He is and who He is not. That is precisely why we need to talk about the simple phrase “Hallowed be thy name”
Point number one – What does it mean to Hallow His name?
To hallow His name means to not make it or Him common. It is to understand that God is holy. More than just holy He is Holy, Holy, Holy. Isaiah 6:3 says:
And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
God Himself declares in Leviticus 11:44-45, 19:2, 20:7 & 26 “I am holy” and He repeats Himself through Peter in the New Testament in 1 Peter 1:15-16. God wants us to know He is holy. He desires for people to know that He is a Holy God. He has names for Himself to let us know He is holy. Elohim Kedoshim (Holy God) in Lev 19:2, El HaKadosh (The Holy God) in Isaiah 5:16 and YHVH M’kadesh (The LORD who makes holy) in Ez 37:28. If you want God to teach you things about Himself then using the Holy Scriptures as a guide you will see that letting you know He is holy is on the list of things you will learn if you earnestly desire to learn who He is. But what does it mean for God to be holy?
In simplest terms it means He is not like you. It means He is separate or completely different. God is not common but is beyond the common in a way so drastic we cannot easily define it. We don’t fully understand what it is to be infinitely beyond us so our words fail often. So the first thing to understand is that to hallow (or make it holy or separate) is to understand that is the place His name belongs it belongs in its own category. It should not be linked with any other name. It is not God and. It is just God.
Point number two – Hallow His name because He said so!
I want jump back to Leviticus. Now as we mentioned we could go to Leviticus 11:44-45, 19:2, 20:7 & 26, or 1 Peter 1:15-16 which all say basically the same thing “Be holy for I am holy.” Leviticus in general is a great place to look for what it means to be holy because holiness is mentioned more in Leviticus than any other book in the Bible although Isaiah is a very close second. While we could look at these verses and I think that could be sufficient I think there is a point made in Lev 10:1-3 that I really think drives home the point and God is the one who made it.
Aaron had two sons that were priest with him and they brought in strange or profane fire into the tabernacle and God killed them. It was and is still is a very powerful statement. God refused to allow the strange fire to be brought before Him. His direction to Moses and Aaron after this was “By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified.” – Leviticus 10:3. God needed to make a very strong point to His fledgling created nation. He was in essence saying “If you are going to come to me then come on my terms.” It was a hard statement but one that needed to be made. Look at Acts 5 and see the story of Ananias and Sapphira and see that God made it after Christ’s resurrection as well. God is holy and tells us over and over that we must revere Him as holy. God’s holiness is not just a part of Him but it is one of the defining things about Him. He is Holy!
Lets make another OT and NT tie in. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 says “Do not quench the Holy Spirit” and the Holy Spirit is symbolized with fire. So we can see a connection where God says do not bring your ideas of worship and right living to me and tell me that this is what it means to live holy. We are not to mix the common with the uncommon or holy. We do not combine our ideas with His clear commands but instead we set Him in the place He belongs and then find out what we must do to serve Him.
Point number 3 – Because it is good for us!
God wants us to know that He is holy if we do then we will live differently. When we understand that He is not common we will not be common. When we understand we serve an uncommon God we will live as uncommon people. If we read the Proverbs we can start to see that a right understanding of who God is changes our perception on what right living is.
We can take that a step further and do as Jesus said to do and pray that way. When we live with an understanding that God is holy and separate it changes our actions because we want to be like our Daddy. When we pray with that same mindset we see a change in our prayer focus because we are being made different. God is in the process of conforming us into the image of His Son (Rom 8:29) and in that process we start to become more God minded. We start to live as Christ lived and that is living in total obedience and dependence. As God Jesus could have done as He pleased and what He decided to do was live as a servant in part so we could see how to live.
But this starts with hallowing His name. It starts with placing God where He belongs in our lives and that is above everything else. We have to get to a place where Jesus Christ and serving Him is more important than anything else. It is more important than your job, or your comfort, or your preferences, or ideas, or likes and dislikes.
Praying “Hallowed be thy name” is not so much words to say but is a way to live. It is saying in my thoughts, actions, words, and prayers I want you to be above it all God and I want to be uncommon like you.
Just a thought,