Following on from the opening line of the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father in heaven” comes a desire expressed both succinctly and with significant strength:
“Hallowed be your name”
A quick google search gives you a few definitions on the word, ‘hallowed’: made holy, consecrated, greatly revered, honoured.
Sad but true I don’t think God’s name is being hallowed very much in contemporary, western society. And I’m not just talking about the almost constant blasphemy that is used by most, but it’s still of concern.
I think that most of the time that blasphemy occurs people don’t even think for a second about what they are actually saying, or who they might be offending.
And I’m sure if as a Christian I mentioned to others that I was concerned about their use of blasphemy, I’d be told to stop offending them, and that they were at liberty to say whatever they wished.
So, if that was my angle for attempting to hallow God’s name in my life, I wouldn’t expect to get very far.
But it’s more than that.
It’s how people perceive God (if they believe in him at all).
As a Christian, I want God to be greatly revered and honoured by my society, but I know that’s not the case. More often than not, God, religion, Christianity, and the whole kit and kaboodle are labelled as poisonous, dangerous, unhealthy, or simply, bad for you.
Hallowed be your name, that is not.
So, what does it take for that to turn around, other than a lot of prayer?
Well, probably lots of things, but usually a person’s “name” or reputation is based on what they have done or have been rumoured to have done… or not done, as the case may be.
Sometimes a person’s entire reputation or career can be ruined by someone claiming absolute nonsense about them, usually so that they can make a stash of money off a supposed exposé. In the end the only thing this exposes is their greed and lack of thought and foresight.
That sort of thing usually takes a court case though.
The Man who Sued God is a film I’ve never seen, but it sounds amusing. Apparently the titular character sues God for damages he’s incurred, presumably in life.
I wonder if God feels like doing the reverse? God’s incurred a lot of damages in recent years through the Church, the media, general society and individuals.
And that includes you and me.
Anytime someone blasphemes they roll his name through the dirt.
Anytime someone claims to be a Christian and then misrepresents God, they roll his name through the dirt.
Claiming for damages? God has definitely got a watertight case.
Interestingly, Daniel (one of the big-name prophets of the Old Testament) has a vision of a heavenly courtroom:
As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened. Daniel 7:9-10
When Isaiah (another of the big-name prophets of the Old Testament) has a vision, he discovers that God has decreed in his court a just but also gracious ruling:
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 1:18-20
There’s too much in those verses to discuss in a short blog post that’s about to wrap up, but there are a few things worth noticing.
God is no push over. The description in Daniel 7 should make that plain. Reading the description a few times over, pausing on each sentence will do us all a world of good.
God is forgiving and beyond reasonable. There is nothing that we have done that requires God to make us ‘white as snow’ as it says in Isaiah. He has every right to lock us away. Yet, he does not.
However, God requires a response, and that response determines our experience.
Part of understanding God requires understanding that we will be in his courtroom at some point of time. In fact, we are already there.
The time to make the choice is now.
Yours in settling the matter,