Matthew 6: 9b
Hallowed Be Your Name
As a mother of four small(ish) children, there is not a lot of ‘hallowed’ space in our house. Literally almost none. There is nothing sacrosanct. Nothing we aren’t willing to sacrifice on the altar of sanity. Maybe the windows to our house? I think we’d fuss if our kids broke all of those. Sometimes it seems like nothing is really sacred anymore in our culture, and people throw words around, smashing windows, with little care. I suppose it comes with a strong decline in a little word that carries a lot of weight- RESPECT. And yet, here comes Jesus asking us to keep God’s name ‘hallowed’.
To the hearers of this prayer, God’s name being hallow (holy)wasn’t counter-cultural; it was firmly grounded in their upbringing. God’s name was not even allowed to be spoken out loud. Rather than say “Yahweh”, speakers would call God “Adonai” or “Lord”. In Hebrew, each name had a precise meaning.
Adam- coming from the earth,
Eve- to breathe/to live!
God even changed the names of the founders of this Jewish faith when he promised them an heir and blessing to all nations.
Abram -father became Abraham- father of many
Sarai- princess, became Sarah- princess of many
In Jewish culture, a name had profound meaning. It was one’s identity.
Hallowed Be Your
I’ve had the blessing of getting to name four kiddos– and it wasn’t quite as simple as I imagined I had journaled names of my future children for literally YEARS, but somehow when it came time, my childhood dreams of names were just that- childish notions. They had been pondered and enjoyed by a girl, not one who had really lived life, or even known who would be the father to her children. For my husband and me, naming our kids was a tag-team effort. If I got to do the first one, he got to do the next one. Oddly enough, both of the children I named meant ‘LIFE’! Our first pregnancy occurred after lots of health problems and frequent trips to the doctor. I wouldn’t have even dared to try to get pregnant and yet–surprise! God had given us Zoe- from the Greek word meaning life given by God. My other child named Life is Eva from the Hebrew- `breath’. This baby was born after another baby miscarried– she was a rainbow baby. Life and promise after death.
Hallowed Be Your Name
I love that God has been given so many names in the Bible.
El Elyon– The God Most High.
El Olam– Everlasting God.
El Roi– the God who sees me’
Jehovah-Jireh- The Lord Will Provide.
Jehovah- Rapha- The Lord Who Heals.
Jehovah- Rohi- The Lord is My Shepherd.
YHWH- I AM.
And this is just a start. There are by some count as many as 21 names for God in the Hebrew Bible. Each one comes with a story. Each name has a meaning. Each name is testifying to God- who He IS, not just what He is called. Just as His own words brought life out of nothing and brought life back from death, His name invokes His power, His presence, His personality, and His perfection.
Hallowed be your name isn’t something you must do or protect, but it is something that “IS”. His name is set apart because He IS Holy. God has revealed who He is through His various names and experiences with His people, revealing a God who is worthy of respect. The real meaning of “Hallowed be Your Name” is not just refraining from saying “Oh my God,” but living a life in fear (utmost respect) of the LORD.
Jesus- your name brings life and hope.
You have shown us the way to your Father and invite us to call him Daddy, yet, you are still the great Jehovah Sabaoth– Lord of Hosts.
We trust in You. We trust in Your name.
Forgive us, Lord, when we treat You and Your name with disrespect. Grant us to fear You Lord, who You are, that we might gain a heart of wisdom and also bring glory to You.
Thank You Lord that although you are Elohim – the All-Powerful One, You are Immanuel- God with us,and You know our names.
Blessed be your name, now and forever!
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