Teach us to Pray (2)
“And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth” (Luke 11:2).
The Lord having started his prayer addressing the Fatherhood and transcendence of God, now addresses the holiness of God. In a day and age where everything is common, and God’s name debased, let us remember that God is separate, other and categorically different.
Hallowed be thy name
Since God is holy his name is to be venerated above every other name in the universe. His holiness compels us to treat his name as sacred and with complete reverence; this is ascribing to the Lord what is his right and due. At Babel man tried to venerate his own name saying “let us build a city ... let us make us a name” (Gen 11:4). This was man seeking his own interests, and not God’s, sanctifying his own name and not Jehovah’s; this should not be.
David Gooding says:
“We are to pray that his name be hallowed, that is, set apart, regarded with awe as the most holy, valuable, glorious thing in all the universe. Life’s values will never be measured properly or seen in their true light unless we see that God’s name is not only the chiefest value of them all but the source of all true value which any person or thing possesses. Let God’s name be devalued, and God himself dishonoured, then all that derives from him (which is everything) is correspondingly reduced in value and honour. Deny God altogether, and nothing ultimately will prove to have any value at all ...We have lost the sense of God’s holiness, and we live in a world where sacred things are progressively profaned and life becomes ever more cheap” (1).
To highlight this point, that all true value derives from valuing God, the Lord Jesus is shown to be the perfect example. The Lord Jesus addressed God as his “holy Father” (Jn 17:11), and having valued him, he valued everything else that was sacred, whether:
Worship - “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Mt 4:10).
The House of God - “Make not my Father's house an house of merchandise ... And his disciples remembered that it was written, the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up” (Jn 2:16-17).
Marriage - “From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female” (Mk 10:6)
Human Life - “Jesus wept” (Jn 11:35)
Children - “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mk 10:14)
As we remember the Lord Jesus this morning, may we retain in our hearts a sense of his holiness and worship him accordingly. Certainly the celestial hosts did this when they saw the Lord Jesus high and lifted up; crying “holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory” (Is 6:3). The Lord’s commentary on this event makes clear that the seraphim saw “his glory” (Jn 12:41), he is the Lord of hosts on the throne of the universe.
Not only hosts celestial, but infernal too - at the the synagogue in Capernaum a demon cried; “let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God” (Lk 4:34).This demon clearly equates Jesus of Nazareth as the Holy One. He trembled at his presence; gripped by the utter purity, brilliance and otherness of his person. He unclean, the Lord Jesus supremely impeccable.
Creatures celestial and infernal all appreciate, who he is. May we say with Peter and other terrestrial creatures this morning “we ... have come to know that you are the Holy One of God” (Jn 6:69, NASB). In a coming day all creatures - celestial, terrestrial and infernal will venerate that name, but we are expected to do so now; “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth” (Phil 2:10).
The world around us profanes the name of God, having lost all sense of what is holy. May we this morning hallow his name, value who he is and seek his interests. “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness” (Ps 29.2).