Matthew 6:5-15 — What’s In a Name? Do We Really Have the Respect for Even The Name of God As We Should?

Posted: October 14, 2015 in Gospel of Matthew, The Lord's Prayer

Matthew 6:5-15
Blueprint for Prayer (the Lord’s Prayer)

Goddddd! Ohhhh, God! Oh, my Goddddd! Those are some phrases that we throw around like a football on a lazy Sunday afternoon. There are others that are used just as often and are just as serious that are considered cuss words. You know the ones – GD, GD it! We throw these phrases around with effortlessness. We seemingly do not have respect for the name of God anymore. It is an indication of our reverence for Him. The Bible calls us to keep his name holy but we do not. The third phrase in this model of the way we should prayer that we now call the Lord’s Prayer is “hallowed be thy name”. Hallowed is old English meaning holy. Holy of course means set apart. Thus, just the mere mention of the name of God invokes holiness. Even his name is holy. Wow! Thus, we must recognize in our prayers that God’s very name is holy. It is set apart and not to be used lightly. It is not a throw around, throw away word. Thus, when we invoke his name, we must be serious. Our prayers that mention God’s name must be serious not flippant.

In ancient Israel, the name of God was Yahweh. This name was so holy to them that they would not say it out loud. They would not even write it for fear of sullying its holiness. They would replace it with the word we know as Lord. They would use YHWH as a replacement as well. Exodus 20:7 commands us to keep even God’s name holy when it says, “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain.” In ancient Israel, it was seen as being disrespectful for the great glory that is God if we did not respect His name. It starts with respecting his name and then flows through the rest of our how we interact with God. Even the New Testament teaches reverence for the name of God. Hebrews 12:28 tells us, “let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.” Therefore, the modern day flippant use of the name of God is a sign of our disrespect for God. We no longer see Him as the mighty Creator of the universe. We no longer see Him as the Righteous Judge. We no longer see Him as the Giver of Life. We no longer see Him as the Source of All Things. We no longer see Him as the Miracle Worker. We treat Him like He is the guy next door.

How would you and I act if we met the Queen of England? Do you think we would show up in our shorts, golf shirt, ankle socks, and tennis shoes (my favorite combination of clothing)? Even though she is not the ruler of our country, there is a sense of reverence that would go along with meeting with one of the few remaining monarchs in the world. We would put on the finest suit or the finest tuxedo that we could find. We would enter her court with reverence, quiet and awe. We would speak only when spoken to. We would feel quite out of place I bet. I know I would – this country boy from South Carolina who enjoys football and Five Guys and hanging out with friends around a picnic of burgers, hot dogs, and good conversation. But in this situation, you and I would do our best to be on our best behavior, our best manners, and so on. If we are to act this way around Queen Elizabeth, why then do we show such disrespect for the mere name of God. It is a symptom of a larger problem.

Just as I told a friend the other day that abortion is just a symptom of a way larger problem. That larger problem is rampant sexual sin in our society. So, I think we may be in the same boat here with the names of God and the disrespect there of. It is a symptom of a larger problem. Our culture no longer respects God and it begins with His name. If we do not respect His name, we do not generally respect Him. Even today, we no longer capitalize the pronouns when we reference God. When use the word Him, we no longer capitalize it in many writings that you see today. Even many religious scholars no longer capitalize pronouns used in reference to God. We say him instead of Him. We say he instead of He. We no longer respect God. He’s a buddy when we pray. He’s the guy next door when we talk about Him.
Let us think about this and change our ways. Let us have great reverence when we come before the Lord in prayer. Let us have a sense of awe when we use his name in the spoken word. He is deserving of such praise. He deserves our honor and our respect and even our awe. We are coming into the court of the King of the Universe when we pray. Have the sense of pomp and circumstance that it deserves.

We must remember that God is…

(the names of God below are reprinted from as accessed on 10/14/15 at 10:03am EDT)

EL, ELOAH: God “mighty, strong, prominent” (Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 139:19) – etymologically, El appears to mean “power,” as in “I have the power to harm you” (Genesis 31:29). El is associated with other qualities, such as integrity (Numbers 23:19), jealousy (Deuteronomy 5:9), and compassion (Nehemiah 9:31), but the root idea of “might” remains.

ELOHIM: God “Creator, Mighty and Strong” (Genesis 17:7; Jeremiah 31:33) – the plural form of Eloah, which accommodates the doctrine of the Trinity. From the Bible’s first sentence, the superlative nature of God’s power is evident as God (Elohim) speaks the world into existence (Genesis 1:1).

EL SHADDAI: “God Almighty,” “The Mighty One of Jacob” (Genesis 49:24; Psalm 132:2,5) – speaks to God’s ultimate power over all.

ADONAI: “Lord” (Genesis 15:2; Judges 6:15) – used in place of YHWH, which was thought by the Jews to be too sacred to be uttered by sinful men. In the Old Testament, YHWH is more often used in God’s dealings with His people, while Adonai is used more when He deals with the Gentiles.

YHWH / YAHWEH / JEHOVAH: “LORD” (Deuteronomy 6:4; Daniel 9:14) – strictly speaking, the only proper name for God. Translated in English Bibles “LORD” (all capitals) to distinguish it from Adonai, “Lord.” The revelation of the name is first given to Moses “I Am who I Am” (Exodus 3:14). This name specifies an immediacy, a presence. Yahweh is present, accessible, near to those who call on Him for deliverance (Psalm 107:13), forgiveness (Psalm 25:11) and guidance (Psalm 31:3).

YAHWEH-JIREH: “The Lord Will Provide” (Genesis 22:14) – the name memorialized by Abraham when God provided the ram to be sacrificed in place of Isaac.

YAHWEH-RAPHA: “The Lord Who Heals” (Exodus 15:26) – “I am Jehovah who heals you” both in body and soul. In body, by preserving from and curing diseases, and in soul, by pardoning iniquities.

YAHWEH-NISSI: “The Lord Our Banner” (Exodus 17:15), where banner is understood to be a rallying place. This name commemorates the desert victory over the Amalekites in Exodus 17.

YAHWEH-M’KADDESH: “The Lord Who Sanctifies, Makes Holy” (Leviticus 20:8; Ezekiel 37:28) – God makes it clear that He alone, not the law, can cleanse His people and make them holy.

YAHWEH-SHALOM: “The Lord Our Peace” (Judges 6:24) – the name given by Gideon to the altar he built after the Angel of the Lord assured him he would not die as he thought he would after seeing Him.

YAHWEH-ELOHIM: “LORD God” (Genesis 2:4; Psalm 59:5) – a combination of God’s unique name YHWH and the generic “Lord,” signifying that He is the Lord of Lords.

YAHWEH-TSIDKENU: “The Lord Our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 33:16) – As with YHWH-M’Kaddesh, it is God alone who provides righteousness to man, ultimately in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, who became sin for us “that we might become the Righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

YAHWEH-ROHI: “The Lord Our Shepherd” (Psalm 23:1) – After David pondered his relationship as a shepherd to his sheep, he realized that was exactly the relationship God had with him, and so he declares, “Yahweh-Rohi is my Shepherd. I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).

YAHWEH-SHAMMAH: “The Lord Is There” (Ezekiel 48:35) – the name ascribed to Jerusalem and the Temple there, indicating that the once-departed glory of the Lord (Ezekiel 8—11) had returned (Ezekiel 44:1-4).

YAHWEH-SABAOTH: “The Lord of Hosts” (Isaiah 1:24; Psalm 46:7) – Hosts means “hordes,” both of angels and of men. He is Lord of the host of heaven and of the inhabitants of the earth, of Jews and Gentiles, of rich and poor, master and slave. The name is expressive of the majesty, power, and authority of God and shows that He is able to accomplish what He determines to do.

EL ELYON: “Most High” (Deuteronomy 26:19) – derived from the Hebrew root for “go up” or “ascend,” so the implication is of that which is the very highest. El Elyon denotes exaltation and speaks of absolute right to lordship.

EL ROI: “God of Seeing” (Genesis 16:13) – the name ascribed to God by Hagar, alone and desperate in the wilderness after being driven out by Sarah (Genesis 16:1-14). When Hagar met the Angel of the Lord, she realized she had seen God Himself in a theophany. She also realized that El Roi saw her in her distress and testified that He is a God who lives and sees all.

EL-OLAM: “Everlasting God” (Psalm 90:1-3) – God’s nature is without beginning or end, free from all constraints of time, and He contains within Himself the very cause of time itself. “From everlasting to everlasting, You are God.”

EL-GIBHOR: “Mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6) – the name describing the Messiah, Christ Jesus, in this prophetic portion of Isaiah. As a powerful and mighty warrior, the Messiah, the Mighty God, will accomplish the destruction of God’s enemies and rule with a rod of iron (Revelation 19:15).
Let us remember who God is when we use His name, His hallowed and holy name. He is the Almighty One. He is not our buddy. He is God. He is so far above and beyond our comprehension that we should be ashamed for using His very name like we use any other word. This is the name of the One and Only. The One who existed before everything existed. He is far beyond us. We cannot comprehend His knowledge, His power, His existence. We owe Him our very existence. Let us give Him the reverence that He deserves.


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