Hopefully Devoted: May Your Name Be Kept Holy

Our Heavenly Father, may your name be kept holy (Matthew 6:9).

You must not misuse the name of the LORD your God (Exodus 20:7a).

This week I’ll start a series of messages on the Lord’s Prayer. We’ll primarily consider Matthew’s version. So our first message is on, “Our Heavenly Father, may your name be kept holy.”

Meditating on this reminded me of the commandment listed above. Typically we think of “not taking the Lord’s name in vain.” Which is what then became the meme above when I put the commandment into the positive (more “do this” than “don’t do that”).

So much can be unpacked in this one verse of teaching on prayer. I would lift up to you two helpful books for your consideration/edification/education. The first book is by Kenneth E. Bailey, “Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes.” And the other is “The Greatest Prayer,” by John Dominic Crossan.

For this post, however, I just want us to consider what it means to keep God’s name holy. When you were growing up did your parents ever admonish you to not do anything that would tarnish the family name? In some cultures this is more intensely adhered to, but there is that element of family honor to some degree across the board. And the consequences varied with the intensity.

Something that is holy is set apart, or set above all else. In the commandments, God already established that the people were to have no other gods before him, and no idols. How it became more focused on our verbal use of God’s name is subject for another time. Limiting how we honor God with merely our speech, clearly misses the full understanding of “keeping God’s name holy.”

Bottom line, keeping God’s name holy is about how we live. In all that we do, are we putting God first? Do we carry the name of God well? Is the fish on the back of our car giving other drivers a clear message who our co-pilot is? Does the cross that we wear or Jesus name on our t-shirt proclaim whose we are?

As we consider the Lord’s Prayer, let’s be sure to begin by evaluating our words, thoughts and deeds.

Sermon Seeds: Adulterous Generation

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At one point in Jesus’ ministry, the Pharisees and Sadducess (recognized religious leaders of the day), demanded that he give them a sign to prove his authority.

“A wicked and adulterous generation demands a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Then He left them and went away (Matthew 16:4, Berean Study Bible).”

Adulterous.

Aldultery we think we understand. But what about adulterous?

Understanding this word better will help us understand why this commandment is so important to God, and why Jesus spoke about it on more than one occasion.

I went to the Thessaurus to find words that might help us. Consider these: illicit, fast and loose, immoral, cheating, two-timing, moon-lighting.

What about antonyms or the opposite: chaste and pure. To those I would add loyal and committed.

Isn’t it interesting that when God begins this section of rules and commands, he starts by demanding a pure and chaste relationship with himself?

Our relationship with him becomes the standard for our relationships with our mates and with others.

But we’re not naturally wired that way. One of my favorite hymns puts it this way: “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it. Seal it for thy courts above (Come Thou Fount).”

We are prone to wander. We have wandering eyes and wavering commitment. We are tempted to move to whatever seems better than what we have—whether it’s a car, house, a job, or a mate.

We flirt with the new until our heart forgets the promises we made. Our reckless and riotous living is similar to the prodigal son described in Luke’s gospel. We don’t appreciate what we have, so we take what’s not ours…and the chasing and wandering lands us starving in a pig sty of our own making.

The solution? Return to the God who knows us best and loves us most. The God who specializes in restoring because he never stops loving.

And if you haven’t wandered yet? Keep your heart pure!

Just in case you think purity is impossible, God has a word—a promise—for you (and me!):

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