"Howard be Thy Name"

Our Father, which art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name"

This always makes me think of the story told of the little fella writing a letter to God - he addressed it "Dear Howard".  When asked how he knew God's name was "Howard", he replied - "The Bible says so.  'Our Father, which art in Heaven, Howard be thy name' ".  Don't you love that!!

Maybe the little guy had the semantics wrong but I think he also had something right.  God wants us to know Him by name.  "Howard" or whatever!

So we are going to unpack His Name today. But first, what does "hallowed" mean?  Webster defines "hallowed" as holy, respected, revered.  Vines expository dictionary explains another dimension to the Greek word - "the opposite of common".

Thus, our prayer begins with the assurance that we are approaching our loving, compassionate, omnipotent Father.  Lest we dare to adopt a cavalier attitude, though, we are reminded that He is HOLY.  Hallowed.  NOT COMMON.  We tend toward erroneous extremes, I think.  Either we wrongly perceive God as remote, detached, unapproachable, stern, austere....or we interpret Him as our genie in the lamp, ready to grant our wishes - if we can just figure out the right formula.

He is neither.  Our finite minds, flawed by sin and misinterpretations, have an impossible time understanding Him. So often, that leads us to avoid Him, to neglect prayer, to trudge along in our own feeble strength.  Which takes us straight to failure and disappointment and anguish.  Praise Him that "He knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust"(Psalm 103:14).  He knows our propensity to doubt and fear and misunderstand and forget and especially to go our own stubborn way.  So He goes to great lengths to help us believe and trust and understand and remember and follow Him...He explains Himself with His names.

Throughout Scripture, God refers to Himself with different titles so that we can get a glimpse of His character, His attributes, His nature.  So that we can get a better grasp of who He is.  So that we can respond to Him in worship - proclaiming His "worth-ship".  So that we will trust Him, come to Him, join Him in His plan, and make His name known to all the world. Learning who God is by name  equips us to view every situation through His eyes.

Proverbs 18:10 says "The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe." Here are some of the ways the Lord reveals Himself to us:
Elohim  - God as Creator - all things were made by Him...and for Him
El Elyon - Sovereign, the Most High - He is in complete control; His purposes will be accomplished
El Roi - the God who sees...and cares...and can do something about what He sees!
El Shaddai - the God who "pours forth", sheds blessings, all sufficient refuge
Adonai - Master, Owner
Jehovah - self existent one - that is too high for me to comprehend!!!
Jehovah - Tsidkenu - The Lord, our Righteousness - He is righteous in our place and He is sufficient
Jehovah-Jireh -The Lord will provide - no matter what we need, He will provide
Jehovah-Raah - The Lord, our Shepherd -- remember what all we learned studying Psalm 23????
Jehovah-Shalom - The Lord send peace - in the midst of confusion and chaos, He is our peace
Jehovah-Nissi-The Lord our banner -- in battle, our source of strength and confidence
Jehovah-Rapha - The Lord who heals -- healing of all kinds
Jehovah-Saboath - The Lord of hosts - over all principalities and powers, none are more powerful!
Jehovah-Shammah - The Lord is there - He exists in Eternity Past, Eternity Future, and Now - at once
Jesus-the one who saves His people
Christ - the anointed one, chosen
Emmanuel - God with us, not distant and far away
Mighty God - as in ALL POWER
Prince of Peace - peace, not as the world gives
Everlasting Father - Father forever
Wonderful Counselor - compassionate, wise, comforting

As you read over these names, what attribute of God resonates with you right now?  Go to Him in prayer in the confidence of that name.  Are you battle-scarred?  Jehovah-Nissi supplies strength.  Are you afraid?  Jehovah-Saboath is more powerful than anything that threatens you.  Have you failed...again? Jehovah-Tsidkenu is your righteousness.  Do you feel lonely?  El Roi sees and He cares.  Do you need direction?  He is your Wonderful Counselor.

He is worthy of our worship.  Truly, Holy - Hallowed - is His name.  Let that be our first order of business as we come into His presence.  Worship.  Acknowledgement of Who He Is.