Sermon: Hallowed Be Thy Name
Scripture: Matthew 6:9
In this week’s lessons, we learn more of who God is, and what it means to hallow His name.
Theme: God’s Names
Let me put this in terms of a question. Do you hallow the name of God? For instance, do you honor Him in His name of Elohim? This is the name that acknowledges God as Creator. It is the third word in the Bible, the name that heads the account of creation. We are told in the passage that “God (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth.” He was responsible for the sun, moon, stars, and planets. He created the trees and the mountains, the flowers of the field and the plains. He formed all living things. He formed man of the dust of the earth and breathed into him the divine breath of life. Do you honor Him as the one and only Creator? The eighteenth-century poet Isaac Watts was one who did this. Thus he wrote:
I sing the mighty power of God,
That made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad,
And built the lofty skies.
I sing the goodness of the Lord
That filled the earth with food;
He formed the creatures with His word,
And then pronounced them good.
Lord! how thy wonders are displayed
Where’re I turn mine eye!
If I survey the ground I tread,
Or gaze upon the sky.
Creatures as numerous as we
Are subject to Thy care;
There’s not a place where we can flee,
But God is present there.
When we pray “hallowed be thy name,” we ask that God might be honored as the Creator by ourselves and by others.
What about the related name El Elyon? This name means “God the Most High,” and it refers to Him in relation to His rule over the heavens and the earth. Do you honor God in that?
The name El Elyon occurs first in the Bible in the account of Abraham’s meeting with Melchizedek, the king and high priest of Salem. Abraham was returning home after his battle with the kings of the plains and the deliverance of Lot. We read in the account, “And Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought forth bread and wine; and he was the priest of the most high God [El Elyon]. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth” (Gen. 14:18-19). This verse defines the title, for it refers to God’s sovereign rule over his creation. Exactly the same meaning occurs in a great hymn of praise to God by Moses in which Moses says, “Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations. Ask thy father, and he will show thee: thy elders, and they will tell thee. When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel” (Deut. 32:7-8).
What is the significance of the name Elohim?
What is the meaning of El Elyon, and to what does it refer?
Reflection: Besides the hymn by Isaac Watts that was quoted, what other hymns do you know that speak about God as Creator? What do they teach you about God?
For Further Study: Jesus gave us this prayer as a guide for what our own prayers should include. But there is another prayer Jesus offered, just before his arrest and crucifixion. Download and listen for free to James Boice’s message, “The Real Lord’s Prayer.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)