Hallowed Be Thy Name

   You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God. – Exodus 20:7 (NIV)

When my son and his friends were in high school and a part of our church’s youth group, they’d really get into the worship music.

One song especially seemed to be a favorite: “Blessed Be the Name of the Lord.” When we’d come to the part where we sang the words of Proverbs 18:10 – “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” – they’d have the entire church doing the motions with the words: flexing triceps for “strong”; forming a tower with two arms raised above the head, hands together at the fingertips; running in place (“run into it”); and, of course, a baseball umpire’s motion when a player is safe.

The motions reinforce the words and make them easier to remember. And quite a number of folks, especially those with too much on their minds or those whose years are creeping up on them – and I fall into both categories – need some help remembering things, especially names.

God’s name isn’t hard to remember, though. I hear it around me everyday, often in ways that give no honor to the name the Jews considered so holy, they wouldn’t even pronounce it or write it out entirely: YHWH. The first line of the Lord’s Prayer reinforces the holiness of God’s name: “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9). The word “hallowed” means “to make or consider holy or sacred; to honor as holy or sacred.”

Little, if anything, in our society today is even considered holy, let alone God’s name. The word itself conjures up visions of pious saints, perfect in all they said and did. This, of course, is false. Only one Person who ever walked this unholy ground we call earth was ever perfect – Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity. The rest of us struggle with our human nature.

God’s holiness is something we humans cannot fathom. When the prophet Isaiah saw the vision of God seated on His throne (Isaiah 6:1–7), and angels surrounding Him, calling, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty,” he immediately felt his sinfulness.

“Woe is me!” Isaiah cried. “I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

Centuries later, the apostle Peter, after a night of fruitless fishing, obeyed Jesus and let down his nets one more time – for the catch of a lifetime. Falling at Jesus’ feet, Peter cried, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”

Both Moses and Joshua, when approaching the Holy, were told to “take off your sandals, for place where you are standing is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5; Joshua 5:15).

Job’s reaction, after God responded to his complaints about unfairness of his troubles, after catching a glimpse of the Holy, cried, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. . . . My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:3,5–6).

How do we react today when we are given glimpses into God’s holiness? Like Job, Moses, Joshua, Isaiah, and Peter, are we made painfully aware of our sinfulness, of our unworthiness? Or do we walk away, allowing the glow of the Holy in our hearts and lives to fade when we go out into a world where nothing is truly holy?

“Let those who love Your name be joyful in You.” – Psalm 5:11

Too many times, O LORD, I hear Your holy name used flippantly. Forgive me when I, too, take Your name, and all it means, lightly. Teach me what “holy” means. Amen.

Read and  meditate on Isaiah 6:1–7 and Psalm 119:33–48

(c) 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

I Will Not Bow Down


For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. – Psalm 96:5

“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in the heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them” (Exodus 20:4–5).


When I was in college, one of the girls in my dormitory claimed to be able to foretell someone’s future by reading the lines in that person’s palms. Of course, I had her read my palm.

“You’re going to get married and have four boys,” she told me.

I raised two sons and a daughter.

Who isn’t curious about the future? Who doesn’t want to know what the coming days and years have in store? In high school, a group of us got together one Friday evening and played with a Ouiji board. We were just looking to have some fun. We were clueless that we were on dangerous ground, dabbling in the occult.

The occult – practices that are used to seek supernatural knowledge and power – is expressly forbidden by God Himself: “Let no one be found among you . . . who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD” (Deuteronomy 18:10­–12). Why? Because this supernatural power and knowledge doesn’t come from God – it comes from His archenemy: Satan and his demons.

Today we don’t have to look very far to find those who claim to be able to foretell the future. The means they claim to use are many: tarot cards, psychic ability, the stars, séances. They hang out their shingles or advertise their wares on television. Witchcraft and sorcery are the themes of many a television show or movie, even on children’s networks.

Consulting the stars to foretell the future is to bypass the Maker of the stars – the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, infinite, immutable, sovereign, holy, one and only God. And the second commandment forbids us to worship anything but God.

You may not dabble in the occult, but there are other ways God gets nudged out of first place. Matthew Henry, the renowned Bible commentator, gave us insight into how this can happen:

“Pride makes a god of self, covetousness makes a god of money, sensuality makes a god of the belly; whatever is esteemed or loved, feared or served, delighted in or depended on, more than God, that (whatever it is) we do in effect make a god of.”

I may not bow down physically to an idol, but whenever I put anything before God, I am worshipping that thing – giving honor and reverence to it that belongs only to God. I need to examine my life daily and ask God to show me the idols that have crept into my life.

I need to know Him better, love Him more and serve Him with every thought, word, and deed, because the closer I get to God, the more I realize that He and He alone, controls the future, and He and He alone is worthy of my total praise and adoration.


“Their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but they cannot smell; they have hands, but they cannot feel, feet, but they cannot walk; nor can they utter a sound with their throats. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them” (Psalm 115:4­–8).

You alone, O God, do I worship. Amen.

Read and meditate on Exodus 20:4–6Psalm 115

(c) 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.