“Our Father Which Art In Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name” Part III

"Our Father Which Art In Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name". (Part III)

"OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN"


CHAPTER 3 – OUTLINE

SUBJECT: Pray This Way – "Our Father Which Art In Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name". (Part III)

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:9-13

TEXT: "Our Father in Heaven let your name be held holy." (Matthew 6:9)

INTRODUCTION:

This first petition of the Lord's Prayer teaches us four things about God: (1) God's Love, (2) God's Family, (3) God's Power, (4) God's Holiness.

PROPOSITION:

It is God's Holiness which is the chief subject of this message.

I. 'HALLOWED BE THY NAME' REMINDS US OF GOD'S HOLINESS.

A. Meaning Of The Words

1. Meaning of 'Hallowed'

2. Meaning of 'Name'

B. Message Of The Words

1. Definition of Reverence

2. Essentials of Reverence

(a) Conviction of God's Existence

(b) Conviction of God's Righteous Character

(c) Conviction of God's Omnipresence

CONCLUSION:

This part of the Lord's Prayer is a prayer to be enabled to reverence God as God deserves to be reverenced.

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"OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN"


CHAPTER 3

SUBJECT: Pray This Way – "Our Father Which Art In Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name". (Part III)

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:9-13

TEXT: "Our Father in Heaven let your name be held holy." (Matthew 6:9)

INTRODUCTION:

The first petition of the Lord's Prayer is "Our Father which art in Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name." It is the last part of this petition which we are presently interested in: "Hallowed Be Thy Name." Says Barclay about this phrase: "It is probably true to say that of all the petitions of the Lord's Prayer this is the one the meaning of which we would find it most difficult to express. If we were asked, what does this petition actually mean? Not a few of us would find some difficulty in answering." (Barclay) Because there is much truth hidden in this phrase "Hallowed Be Thy Name", we must spend another message seeking better to understand it. 'This first petition of the Lord's Prayer teaches us four things about God: (1) God's Love, (2) God's Family, (3) God's Power, (4) God's Holiness.

PROPOSITION:

It is God's Holiness which is the chief subject of this message. To better understand this phrase "Hallowed Be Thou Name" we will take the approach of first seeking to understand the meaning of the words, and then secondly seeking to understand the broader implication and message of the words.

I. 'HALLOWED BE THY NAME' REMINDS US OF GOD'S HOLINESS.

Let us attempt first to understand the meaning of the words involved in this phrase, and then attempt better to appreciate the implications and applications of these words.

A. Meaning of the Words

The two words which we must seek to understand are the words 'Hallowed' and 'Name'. To understand the meaning of these words, will aid us in better appreciating this petition.

1. Meaning of 'Hallowed'.

Notes Barclay, "The word which is translated hallowed is a part of the Greek verb hagiazesthai. The Greek verb hagiazesthai is connected with the adjective hagios, and means 'to treat a person or a thing as hagios. Hagios is the word which is usually translated holy: but the basic meaning of hagios is

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different or separate. A thing which is hagios is 'different' from other things. A person which is hagios is 'separate' from other people." (Barclay's Matthew v. 1, p. 205)

Let us further note how the word hagios is used in the Bible. The Temple was hagios or holy because it was separated from other buildings and was used for special purposes. (Exodus 26:33). The altar was separated for a special divine purpose and was thus holy. God's day is holy because it is separated from other ordinary days. Because the priests performed special duties and had a particular function different from other men, they were considered holy. Concerning the priests it is written: "They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God: for the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and the bread of their God, they do offer: therefore they shall be holy." (Leviticus 21:6) Of the tithe it is said: "The tenth shall be holy unto the Lord, because it is the Lord's". (Leviticus 27:30, Leviticus 27:32) Because God revealed Himself to Moses on Mt. Sinai, this mountain was considered holy or separate in importance from other mountains, and therefore Moses was instructed to fence it off so that no person or animal came near it. Because the Jewish nation had a special role to play in the scheme of God's plan and purpose, this nation was considered holy and separated unto God. Said God to Israel: "And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation." (Exodus 19:6 a)

Each of the cited references simply point out one of the essential meanings of the word hagios. The word 'Hallowed' which is in the same category of words as hagios is used in the Lord's Prayer as it is essentially used in the Old Testament references cited above. Because hagios means different and separate, this petition means (as Barclay has pointed out): "Let God's name be treated different and separate, Let his name be treated differently from all other names; let God's name be given a position which is absolutely unique." (Barclay's Matthew; p. 205)

2. Meaning of 'Name'.

The word 'Name' has a very special usage in the Bible. As Barclay notes, "In Hebrew the name does not mean simply the name by which a person is called – John or James, or whatever the name may be. In Hebrew the name means the nature, the character, the personality of the person in so far as it is known or revealed to us." (Barclay's Matthew v. 1; p. 205) Psalms 9:10 says, "They that know Thy name will trust in Thee." Clearly this does not merely refer to God's name but it rather refers to God's character and nature. One who is convinced of the powerful and holy character of God, will put his trust in God. Psalms 20:7 says, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses but we will remember the name of Jehovah our God." In other words, when one remembers the character, nature, and personality of

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Jehovah, he will not put his trust in human strength or might, but rather he will put his trust in God. Psalms 5:11 says, "Let them that love thy name be joyful in thee." This could be paraphrased "Let them that have learned to love God for what he really is have joy because of this knowledge of the character of God." St. John writes of Jesus as the Son of God: "He that believeth on him is not judged; he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God." Belief on Christ's name means more than simple admiration for his name. Belief on the name of Christ really means belief in the nature, character, and personality of Christ. Likewise, when we pray in Jesus' name, we must pray in the character, spirit, and attitude of Jesus.

In all of the above passages, 'name' refers to the nature, character, personality, or spirit of the bearer of the name. When the phrase 'to hallow' is used, it means 'to regard as different'. Thus when we put these two thoughts together and interpret the meaning of 'Hallowed Be Thy Name', we come out with something like this (as Barclay notes) "Enable us to give to Thee the unique place which Thy nature and character deserve and demand."

B. Message of the Words

We have tried merely to look at the meaning of the words in an attempt better to understand this petition. 'Let us go a few steps further to try to understand the essential message and application of these words. We said that the phrase 'Hallowed Be Thy Name" really means, "Enable us to give to Thee the unique place which Thy nature and character deserve and demand." When we closely investigate this, we can see that this really is a prayer for reverence. In other words, when we pray "Hallowed Be Thy Name", we are really praying that we will be enabled to reverence God as God deserves to be reverenced. If this is a prayer for reverence, we must seek to understand the real meaning of reverence and the essentials of reverence.

1. Definition of Reverence.

Says Barclay: "Reverence is knowledge plus submission." (Matthew, p. 210) Certain knowledge leads to submission to God, but it is the submission itself that is the essence of reverence. To illustrate this definition, look at certain Biblical characters.

After Jacob awakened from his dream, he said, "Surely, the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not." Jacob was afraid, and said "How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven." (Genesis 28:16-17)

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At the burning bush, God said to Moses, "Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place where on thou standest is holy ground… I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." How did Moses react to this experience? He reacted with awe and submission. In other words, he reacted in reverence: "And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God." (Exodus 3:5-6)

Perhaps the most classic example of a man who reacted to God with great awe and respect is Isaiah. Following is the record:

(1) In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. (2) Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. (3) And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." (4) At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. (5) "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty." (6) Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. (7) With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." (8) Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

Thus we see that the definition of reverence is knowledge plus submission. There can be no true reverence for God without submission. However, it might be asked what knowledge is essential before a man will permanently submit himself to God. Therefore, it is important to more carefully consider the essentials of reverence.

2. Essentials of Reverence

It has been pointed out that submission is the very essence of reverence. But before one submits himself to God, what convictions must he have concerning God?

(a) Conviction of God's Existence. First and most simply, no man will ever submit himself to God until he is convinced that God truly exists. Because the agnostic doubts the very existence of God, he can act very casually and profanely towards God, religion, and the Church.

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The basic assumption and axiom of the Bible is that God exists. No where does the Bible attempt to prove God's existence. To the Biblical character, God's existence is as real as the air he breathes. To him, all of nature is pervaded by God's presence, and every flower, tree, and blade of grass is God's reflection. God is so real to the Biblical character that he declares a man to be a fool if he denies God's existence.

Many are the evidences for God's existence. One of the most obvious evidences for God's existence is the orderly universe in which we live. What else but an intelligent mind could construct such a vast and orderly universe? Therefore 'order presupposes mind'. It is harder to believe that the orderly universe is the product of chance than it is to believe that the universe is the product of an Eternal Mind. That Mind is God.

(b) Conviction of God's Righteous Character. Is it little wonder that the heathen find it difficult to reverence their pagan Gods who are characterized as hateful, jealous, adulterous, capricious, and impure?

Before one can submit himself to God, he must be convinced that God is worthy of his submission. It is a basic conviction of the Bible that the true God is holy and righteous in His character. As Walters's notes, "Holiness implies moral excellence. It is not just that God is removed from that which is common and bad, but that He is, intrinsically and inherently the highest good that can be … We see that when the Bible speaks of holiness in God, it means His great otherness; his separation from the common; it means His moral excellence and purity; and it means the brightness and radiance which is associated with him." ("Christening the Christian" – Address by Stanley D. Walters; pgs. 2 and 3)

Says the Psalmist about God's moral character: "They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness. The Lord is gracious and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all His works." (Psalms 145:7-9) A conviction of God's righteous and holy character is essential for submission.

(c) Conviction of God's Omnipresence. As one said, "For reverence there is necessary a constant awareness of God." (Barclay's Matthew; p. 208) The Psalmist acknowledged God's omnipresence when he declared: "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I

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make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me." (Psalms 139:7-10)

God is everywhere; therefore it is possible for one to have a constant awareness of God. To permanently submit oneself to God, one must have a constant awareness of God's presence. Susanna Wesley had a prayer: "Help me, Lord, to remember that religion is not to be confined to the church or closet, nor exercised only in prayer and meditation, but that everywhere I am in Thy presence." (Barclay's Matthew, Vol. 2: p.180.)

Brother Lawrence who lived in the seventeenth century was one who learned to practice the presence of God. For many years he worked as a monastery cook, but he learned to fellowship with God in the kitchen as well as in the closet. Said Brother Lawrence, "The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament." (The Practice of the Presence of God; p. 6)

CONCLUSION:

What can we say by the way of summary about this petition "Hallowed Be Thy Name"?

We have pointed out that this is a prayer to be enabled to give to God the place in our lives that His character and nature demand and deserve. In other words, it is a prayer to be enabled to reverence God as God deserves to be reverenced.

What is reverence? It is knowledge plus submission. Submission to God is brought about through different convictions – conviction of God's existence, conviction of God's righteous character, conviction of God's omnipresence. On the basis of our knowledge of God, may we be enabled to give to God the place in our lives that He deserves?

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