Saturday, May 4, 2013

Hallowed Be Thy Name

When Yeshua taught His disciples to pray, He told them to begin by addressing God as their Father in heaven whose name is to be hallowed.

Matthew 6:9 KJV 9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

The tense of this verb “hallowed” is the aorist imperative, meaning an action that is to begin at once. Hallowing God’s name, then, is an action that is to begin at once. What does it mean to hallow God’s name? Many people think that it means we must pronounce it exactly right. After all, when someone mispronounces our names, aren’t we offended? Others think it means we should be careful about when we use God’s name. Still others think we shouldn’t use God’s name at all!  The one thing all of these ideas have in common is that hallowing God’s name involves the way we speak, or don’t speak, God’s name. Is this the biblical concept that God is trying to teach us? Let’s look at what God says about hallowing His name. The word “hallow” means to make holy; that is to set it apart.  In the Torah, God says He is the one who defines what is holy. He declares He is holy and we are holy to Him.

Leviticus 20:26 NKJV 26 'And you shall be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine.

This statement comes at the end of two chapters in which God first enumerates what it means to be holy or separate to Him. God, then, expounds on some of the sins that separate them from holiness to Him. Some actions separate us to God; other actions separate us from God. This verse reminds us that God is the one who both defines what it means to be separate to Him and performs the separating. He is also the one who defines what it means to hallow His name. In the midst of defining the actions which lead to holiness, God mentions one action that profanes His name.

Leviticus 19:11-12 KJV 11 Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another. 12 And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.

God tells us that profaning His name is the opposite of hallowing His name.

Leviticus 22:32 KJV 32 Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the LORD which hallow you.

But, what does the Hebrew word that we translate as “profane” mean? The Hebrew word is “chalal” meaning to wound or dissolve. From that root word, and depending on the context and form of the word, it can mean: (1) to pierce or wound unto death or despair, (2) to play a pipe which is a pierced instrument, (3) to profane or defile, (4) to make a vineyard common, that is make its fruit available for harvest for the first time in the fifth year, (5) in the causative form, to begin as in breaking open a wedge.

To profane God’s name is to wound it or damage it. We see in the context of making a vineyard no longer set apart, but common to all, that profaning God’s name is to make it common. To profane God’s name is to declare that God is no better than the gods or idols of the world. Ouch! Ezekiel writes that God said His name was profaned among the nations when the children of Israel were expelled from the Land.

Ezekiel 36:19-20 KJV 19 And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them. 20 And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the LORD, and are gone forth out of his land.

Moses wrote about this same consequence of God’s name being profaned by the actions of the people. When God brought the children of Israel to the boundaries of the Promised Land and promised that He would go with them to defeat the Canaanites, the children of Israel did not have faith that God could do what He said He would do.

Numbers 14:11 KJV 11 And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?

Moses pleaded with God to spare the children of Israel based on God’s reputation and God’s promises of mercy.

Numbers 14:13-18 KJV 13 And Moses said unto the LORD, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;) 14 And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou LORD art among this people, that thou LORD art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night. 15 Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying, 16 Because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness. 17 And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, 18 The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.

God’s words to Ezekiel continue as He states that He will hallow His name when He brings Israel back to the Land demonstrating His authority and power, and when He cleanses them from the uncleanness of their sins of idol worship, demonstrating His devotion to His covenant which promises mercy.

Ezekiel 36:21-26 KJV 21 But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. 22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. 23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. 24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. 25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

All of Ezekiel 36:16 through the end of Ezekiel 37 describes how God will hallow or sanctify His name. God’s word through Ezekiel concludes with the description of the establishment of Yeshua’s kingdom.

Ezekiel 37:24-28 KJV 24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. 25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. 26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. 27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.

God’s name is holy when His people are holy by Him and to Him. So, what is this action that we need to take to fulfill the imperative that God’s name be hallowed? First, we live lifestyles that proclaim our faith that God is God, and there is no other God above Him. That means believing Him and acting on that belief that He can and will do what He says He will do. Second, that means that in our prayers each day that God’s name be hallowed, we pray for the return of Israel to their Land, and for the return of Yeshua and the establishment of His kingdom on earth. By this, we Hallow God’s name. 

Shalom and be blessed
Dan & Brenda Cathcart

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