The Song of the Mountains – verse 33.
I recall attending a carnival as a kid, and walking into the “house of mirrors.” Freaky. To see yourself from every angle. Knowing what you looked like on every side at once. It would be reasonable to conclude that this experience becomes more humbling as you age. Not fun.
In my previous Song of the Mountains article on the Sermon on the Mount, we noted that Yeshua/Jesus reminds us to be humble, and maybe even a bit circumspect as regards our attitude in light of our relationship with the Lord, we mustn’t: take ourselves too seriously or think too highly of ourselves.
This conclusion – humility for short – does not mean that we take Him less seriously. Rather, Who we are mirroring in our lives should be Him, in all directions, and from every side. We, as His image bearer, should be second in all things.
Yeshua then points us to the basis of our purpose as messianic believers here on earth as the Lord’s Prayer opens:
“Therefore, pray in this way: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Matt. 6:9).
Hallowed be Your name.
Four simple words. Yeshua reveals that through our actions, words and deeds, we are to sanctify, make holy, the name of God – not that His name is not already holy, but we, through our life, reveal His holiness, and goodness to those around us. Paul exhorts us, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (I Cor. 10:31).
Eating, drinking – the practicalities of life – and whatever else you might do – work, leisure, conversation, etc. – do it all to His glory. How might our public witness change by honoring this imperative?
Maturing in grace.
As disciples of Messiah we are commanded to sanctify the Lord’s name. Not by force, or public disruption – but with grace.
Yeshua, through the Lord’s Prayer, taught us to pray. Still, as we consider the words of this prayer, especially the sanctification of God’s name, it gives us pause.
On the sanctification of God’s name in Jewish tradition, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin writes, “Ultimately, the laws of Kiddush Hashem (sanctifying the name) are rooted in the belief that the Jews are, so to speak, God’s ambassadors to the world, chosen by God to make known both His existence and His demand that people act ethically. When Jews act with integrity, they not only bring credit on themselves, but they draw people to God. This has been the mission of the Jewish people since the time of Abraham, the first Jew, and it remains the mission of the Jewish people today.”
This same principle applies to disciples of Messiah, who are called to “love one another as I have loved you,” (Jn. 15:12) and that this love would be a witness that Yeshua was sent by God the Father (Jn. 17:23). This testifying witness is increasingly difficult to realize as we face continuing congregational splits, and disagreements leading to further denominationalism. While questions of doctrine and theology are important – dare I say vital – we must not fall short, as much as we are able, of the standard of care we are to have for each other according to Messiah’s prayer.
Are we, through our prayer, our actions and words, really honoring the personhood and character of God the Father? As we consider this question, we must consider our loyalty: I humbly submit that the only way that I can be loyal to you, our nation, or any other person, is with the Lord as the primary objective of my devotion and loyalty.
This is the example of Yeshua. He was loyal to the Father above all else. We read:
- “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not accept Me.” John 5:43.
- “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work.” John 4:34.
- “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world.” John 17:6.
- “The Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing.” John 5:19.
Now this type of loyalty in us takes time, patience, and an abundance of grace to develop – we are not perfect – yet, the endeavor is still worthy, even with bumps along the way.
How it works.
When our goal is to honor the Lord by our service, our love, our loyalty to family, friends and community, we begin to reveal Him.
In the ancient world, we find this to be true in the Bible as well. Names were closely related to the nature of the individual; if you wanted to know something about someone, you had to know their name.
Even Moses, called by God, attempted to sidestep his calling because the children of Israel might ask him, “What is God’s name?” To which the Lord said, יהוה: a name connected to the Lord’s power of deliverance, salvation, compassion and mercy. His nature about to be revealed to them.
We find the name of the Lord exalted, acclaimed, proclaimed and called upon in the Bible. His name has meaning, and power. It personifies the God who saved us.
So how do we live up to this directive from Yeshua to make holy the name of the Lord? We treat it with respect, with reverence and dignity. We walk in His name. His name has been placed upon His people, and we become, Lord willing, a mirror of His name and nature to those around us, even on every side.
Yes, we will disagree with people, and at times act imperfectly; but this is where grace, and mercy enter into life. Praying “holy be Your name” is not to make what is already holy more holy, but for us to pray that we demonstrate His holiness in our lives, whether or not those around us bow to Him.
This is a call to worship. It is a call to worship Him as He is. It is a call to worship Him with our service, our song, our everything. In an increasingly politically correct, secular environment, this petition will be easy to speak, but hard to live. I pray we all learn to do this without shame, and always with grace, even as the days linger in upheaval.
So. Who are you mirroring?
Shalom. Be well.