Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Respecting a Holy God

This is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven …’ ” (Matthew 6:9).

Over the past few days, we have seen how God’s revelation of His glory is also a revelation of His holiness. The godly person knows a real fear when he is face to face with God, and asks pardon and forgiveness for his sins. Such a fear of God is the first step in knowledge (Proverbs 1:7). We have also seen that we can increase our exposure to God by studying His holy law.

Today we will consider how we are to respect this holy God by trusting Him and obeying His commands. There is a specific aspect of this, however, that the New Testament highlights—in the Lord’s Prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer opens with an address to God, and then goes into several petitions. Do you recall what the first petition is? “Hallowed be Your name.” Jesus is saying this: “When you get down on your knees to pray, the first thing I want you to pray for is that the name of God be treated as sacred.”

Repeatedly the Bible says of God, “Holy is his name.” We see this in the Ten Commandments, where God says, “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name” (Exodus 20:7). This is one of God’s top 10 laws, and it is part of the constitution God wrote for a national government. It was one of the 10 central social laws in Israel. Once public blasphemy was a civil offense in America. Today, however, we hear the Lord’s name taken in vain continually on television and in movies.

I’m convinced that there is a logical progression in the Lord’s Prayer: “Hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” If we have a casual attitude toward the name of God, that reveals more deeply than anything our attitude toward the God of the name.

If you have been guilty of using God’s name in a casual fashion, take hold of yourself now and break that habit. If you have grown accustomed to hearing the Lord’s name used lightly in conversation or on television, ask God to restore your sensitivity to such blasphemy. Cultivate a holy revulsion against the abuse of God’s name.