Summary: We can pray boldly because we know God is not ashamed to claim us as his own.
God Is Not Ashamed!
[You Can Tell A Lot About God—Part 2]
Matthew 22:23-33; Hebrews 11:16
Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister
First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO
Introduction: We are in the first stages of an on-going series of studies on the Lord’s Prayer. Over the next several weeks we will look at the deep meaning behind each phrase of the prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray. If we can begin to understand this important passage, we will understand much about prayer, about God, and about the faith that connects with the power of God in prayer.
We began last time to explore the opening line, “Our Father which art in heaven.” What do you mean when you say those words? What did Jesus intend for us to understand? To get at that idea we began by exploring an expression that God used to describe himself. “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” The phrase is first found in Exodus 3 when God calls Moses to the great Egyptian escape. From a burning bush, the Lord calls for Moses and tells the runaway of heaven’s plan. Moses had lived in Egypt. He knew that there are many “so called” gods. Men make up their own gods, imagine deities fashioned in their own image, and otherwise try to create gods they can control. The Bible clearly teaches that there is only one true and living God. But there are many false gods and demon-driven gods. So Moses asked a logical question, “Who are you?” He wanted to know what God was calling him to this mission impossible.
God’s answer is telling. He says, I am the LORD. That term, in all caps, is the literary convention used by the rabbis and followed by most Bible translations to designate the personal name for the God of the Jews. In English, this name is most often rendered Jehovah or Yahweh. Actually, no one knows the precise pronunciation of the name. Most likely, the name was derived from the phrase “I AM THAT I AM.” Jehovah is the self-existing God. He is. He always has been. He always will be. He is dependent on no one.
The Lord then went a step farther. He answered the “Who are you?” question with “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” In so doing, our God, the God to whom we pray when we say
“Our father,” chose to identify himself with the people who follow him. The flip side of that concept is our awesome responsibility and privilege to represent our God. People around us will come to know God in part by what they see of our relationship with him. Hebrews 11:16 is a powerful verse. Referring back to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the writer of Hebrews says our God is not ashamed to be called the God of such people. That is the kind of God we pray to. He is not ashamed to be associated with people who trust him and walk in obedience. He is proud to know us, to be called our God, AND to answer our prayers!!
In our last study we explored the notion that God is the God of individuals. The Lord didn’t just claim to be the God of the Hebrews. He was the God of real individual people. Everyone who comes to him eventually comes as an individual. There is no faith by the group plan. Every person is baptized, confesses Christ, and obeys him as an individual. That is also the way we pray. We can pray as groups, but real effective prayer rests on the faith of real individuals coming before their God. The God to whom we pray is one who delights in knowing and listening to his people individually. That should be a great encouragement to our praying.