Hallowed be Thy name

“I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of Me in their hearts, that they may not turn from Me” (Jer 32:40).

Often when I pray as our Lord taught us to pray for my household and congregation, I cannot get past the first petition, Hallowed by Thy name. Everything else flows from this. For one who hallows God’s name, God is never in the margins. The reality of His existence, the riches of His self-revelation, the bounty of His love, and the wholesome demands of His law constantly impinge upon the consciousness of such a person. This is not a dreadful thing (in the sense of dreading harm), for the fear of God, which is much the same as hallowing His name, is the fear of a child beloved of the Father. There is deep awareness of His authority, a yearning to please Him, and a sense of awe at His presence, but all of this attracts rather than repels, precisely because God’s name to us is Father. The one who fears God’s name trembles before Him because He is great and good – because He deserves that His creatures should tremble before Him, and the heart does so willingly – not because He is fearsome and terrible to His little ones. The chick beneath the wings of the hen knows the power of its mother, and her terrible wrath against those who would harm her offspring; and it trembles with gladness, not with dread.

But how, oh how, in this distracting world, shall God’s people be brought to fear Him? What will birth and nourish this fear in their hearts, so they need not constantly be hedged in by admonishments from without, but may from within bring forth fruits of true faith? The answer, of course, is that God Himself must do it; the first petition itself bears witness to this. So fulfill Your promises of the New Covenant to us, O Lord. Put Your fear in our hearts, that we may not turn from You. Fill Your ordinances with the power of Your Spirit, and by them inscribe Your glory on the tablet of our hearts.

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