Hallowed be your name

By Not Known

We talk about a person’s ‘name’ as something that matters. Our name is our reputation. A good name is highly treasured (Prv 22:1).

In the ancient world names were seen as representing the person. Parents chose names with great care as to their meaning. In some circles, to know a person’s name was to gain some power over them. We see a little of that today, for when we invite someone to call us by our most familiar name we invite them to come closer to us.

What about God’s name? Our God reveals himself under several names in the Bible. It was highly significant when he identified himself to Moses by the Hebrew word YHWH (Ex 3: 14). We generally render this as Yahweh. ‘Jehovah’ is another attempt to render the some Hebrew word. Most English Bibles translate YHWH as LORD, as distinct from Lord. It’s a name that means ‘I will be who I will be’ and reminds us that the LORD is who he is and not who we want him to be.

What does it mean to hallow God’s name? The word hallow comes from the same root as holy. To treat God’s name as holy goes beyond respect. It is to treat God’s name as special or different.

The ancient Hebrews took this literally and did not pronounce YHWH for fear of misuse – and that is why we do not know how to say it. But is that what it really means to hallow God’s name?

Of course we should take core with God’s name in a literal sense and thus not use it flippantly or irreverently (Ex 20:7). Some of us may need to correct our speech here.

However, the real hallowing of God’s name is hinted at in the following words of the Lord’s Prayer. God’s name is hallowed in the coming of his Son’s kingly rule and as his will is done.

This has a personal aspect. God’s name is tied to his people. When we tell people that we are Christians, God’s reputation becomes tied to our behaviour. We are the banner for his name. What messages do the banners of our lives give?

So let us indeed pray that the LORD’s name will be hallowed. But let us be part of the answer to that prayer with a life lived under Jesus’ kingly rule and doing his will.