In the first line of this prayer the Lord shows us how we should relate to God. He is our Father and thus we can be incredibly close to ‘the Most High’. But also, His name is holy, and we should never allow ourselves to forget that. Intimacy in relationship with God should not mean a decrease of respect for Him. As a father my heart’s desire is to have a close relationship with my kids as long as I live. But it’s also important to me that they respect me. Even so it is with God and His children.
God’s name, however, is different from any other name. It’s holy and we must regard it as such. The third commandment says this: ‘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). If we fail to regard God’s name as holy, certain punishment will follow. The holiness of His name is that important to Him.
It is written ‘You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus’ (Luke 1:31). The name Jesus is also holy, just as God’s personal name, Yahweh, is holy. Being a member of today’s society it’s easy to grow callous to hearing Jesus’ name misused. We might not think much of it - but God does. We would do well to consider how we regard the name of God the Son. Do we indeed keep that name holy?
One of my favourite Bible promises has to do with fearing God’s name. It says in Malachi 4:2 ‘But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.’ I meet many people who pray for more healing. That’s a good thing, which God delights in giving us. But we mustn’t forget this one condition: We must revere His name. Have you ever seen young calves released from a stall? There aren’t many sights in this world which are more fun to see. The first time I saw calves leaping for joy I had to laugh out loud, and that fantastic memory has stayed with me ever since.
As we fear His name, we fear the right thing, and all other fears will ultimately melt away. What a joy and freedom it brings when we obey His command!
Prayer: Thank You, God, for showing me in Your Word that we must revere Your name and regard Your name as holy. Please forgive me wherever I’ve failed to do so. Help me, by Your Spirit, to bring glory and honour to Your name in all I do and say, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
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