Hallowed be Your name. - Matthew 6:9b (NAS)
Sooner or later it was bound to happen and the other day it finally did. A lot of people thought it hard to tell the Miller twins apart, easily getting them mixed up, but this may have been even worse, for while the Miller twins looked alike, Harold and Harold looked nothing alike, in fact they were about as opposite as two boys could be.
As for Harold Peterson, even when he tries to be good, he causes problems. When one mentions the name Harold, visions of disruption follow, and everyone knows he's not the smartest cookie in the class, well, that is when he is in class and not in the principles office. It's this kind of a reputation that Harold Henderson can't stand.
Since Harold Henderson is still new to the area, no-one thinks of him when they hear the name Harold and they often think that because his name is Harold he is just like Harold Peterson but that couldn't be further from the truth. Harold Henderson has never spent time in the principles' office, he never causes trouble, he gets straight A's in every class, he's always willing to help and it's that kind of reputation that Harold Peterson can't stand.
Harold Peterson was getting tired of people telling him he should be more like the other Harold. He didn't want to be someone else, especially someone like Harold Henderson, and Harold Henderson was tired of people treating him as if he was the worst person in town simply because his name was the same as you know who.
As you might imagine, Harold thinks Harold should change his name and Harold thinks Harold should change his name because they each thought the other was dishonoring his name. Finally, Harold had, had enough and so had Harold and the other day it happened, the grand showdown between Harold and Harold.
The showdown took place right in the middle of the church parking lot right after a special prayer meeting and if it hadn't been for the intervention of Robert and Robert it may have lasted all night. It took Robert and Robert almost twenty minutes to get Harold and Harold separated and calmed down so they could find out what the problem was. Once they learned how the two boys thought the other was ruining their name, they burst into laughter, for they shared a name as well.
Once he calmed down from laughing, Sargent Robert Halfway suggested the four of them go sit around a pizza and talk about the importance of one's name for he knew from his experience in law enforcement how important it is to respect every one's name. In the end the boys were full of pizza and they at least agreed on one thing – the name Harold was the best.
Proverbs 22:1 - If you must choose, take a good name rather than great riches; for to be held in loving esteem is better than silver and gold. (TLB) In the Hebrew culture, a person’s name was more than a mere label - it was synonymous with his character or reputation. When a person’s name was mentioned, it brought to mind all that he was.
When we think of God's name what kind of reputation do we attach to it? Do we think of someone who is loving, giving, forgiving, listening, deaf, judgmental, involved, uncaring and distant... God's name more than just a name. In the Hebrew culture, the name Jehovah was the special and significant name by which God revealed himself to the ancient Hebrews. This name was held by the later Jews to be so sacred that it was never pronounced except by the high priest on the great Day of Atonement, when he entered into the most holy place.
In Matthew 6:9, when Jesus was teaching us how to pray He said these words ... Hallowed be Your name. (NAS) Like the ancient Jews we need to hallow God's name but how do you hallow something?
To hallow something is to make it holy, to set apart, to make uncommon. To help illustrate this, lets think about your toothbrush. Your toothbrush is special and important to you because of the unique purpose to which it has been dedicated. You wouldn’t take kindly to anyone using your toothbrush for a different purpose. Imagine your reaction if your youngster comes in and announces that he has just brushed the dog’s teeth with your brush! In a similar manner, anything in the Bible that is holy has been dedicated for a special purpose and therefore is deserving of special treatment.
The Bible lets us know that God's name is holy in many spots. In various scenes of God's throne room we find creatures worshiping God repeating Holy, Holy, Holy. In Leviticus 19:2 we read Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy. (ESV) ans in Psalms 111:9 we read He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name! (ESV)
Despite all of this we have had to be warned no to misuse Go's name. From the ten commandments we read You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. Exodus 20:7 (ESV) An d while we may say we won't misuse God's name, while we may say we will treat it special we often do the opposite.
With our words we abuse His name through profanity and vulgarity, by using His name in some frivolous, dishonoring, or light way. With our actions we treat God's name as non-special by:
- Professing God's name but living for self and the world
- Using God's name to manipulate people for our advantage.
- Using God's name to get support for ungodly things
I'm sure we could all come up with more ways we misuse and abuse God's name even though we say we will honor it. I know more could be said but I think the idea is clear – are you ready to pray “hallowed be Thy name?”
Here's Something To Ponder
- How do you like your name treated?
- Are you treating God's name as Holy?