BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD GOD OUR FATHER
A seminary professor was vacationing with his wife in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. One morning they were eating breakfast in a little restaurant, hoping to enjoy a quiet family meal. While waiting for their food, they noticed a distinguished-looking, white-haired man moving from table to table, visiting with the guests. The professor leaned over and whispered to his wife, “I hope he doesn’t come over here.” But sure enough, the man came over to their table.
“Where are you folks from?” he asked in a friendly voice. “Oklahoma,” they answered. “Great to have you here in Tennessee,” the stranger said. “What do you do for a living?” I teach at a seminary,” he replied. “Oh, so you teach preachers how to preach, do you? Well, I’ve got a really good story for you.” And with that, the gentleman pulled up a chair and sat down. The professor groaned and thought to himself, “Great, just what I need – another preacher story!”
The man started, “See that mountain over there?” He pointed out the restaurant window. “Not far from the base of that mountain, there was a boy born to an unwed mother. He had a hard time growing up because every place he went, he was always asked the same question: ‘Hey, boy, who’s your daddy?’ Whether he was at school, in the grocery store or drug store, people would ask the same question, “Who’s your daddy?” He would hide at recess and lunch time from other students. He would avoid going into stores because that question hurt him so bad.
“When he was about 12 years old, a new preacher came to his church. He would always go in late and slip out early to avoid hearing the question, ‘Who’s your daddy?’ But one day the new preacher said the benediction so fast, the boy got caught and had to walk out with the crowd. Just about the time he got to the back door, the new preacher, not knowing anything about him, put his hand on his shoulder and asked him, “Son, who’s your daddy?’ All the folks standing around got deathly quiet.
“The young lad could feel every eye looking at him; but the new preacher, discerning that something was not quite right, quickly spoke up and said to the scared youngster: ‘Wait a minute! I know who you are. I see the family resemblance now. You are a child of God!’ And with that, he patted the boy on the shoulder and said, ‘Boy, you’ve got a great inheritance – go and claim it.’
“The boy smiled for the first time in a long time and walked out the door a changed person. He was never the same again. Whenever anybody asked, him, ‘Who’s your daddy?’ he’d just tell them, ‘I’m a child of God.’ “
The distinguished gentleman got up from the table and said, “Isn’t that a great story?” The professor responded that it really was a great story. As the man turned to leave, he said, “You know, if that new preacher had not told me that I was one of God’s children, I probably would never have amounted to anything!” And he walked away.
The seminary professor and his wife were stunned. He called the waitress over and asked, “Do you know that man who was just sitting at our table?” The waitress grinned and said, “Of course. Everybody here knows him, That’s Ben Hooper. He’s the former governor of Tennessee!”
Ben Hooper might not have known who his biological daddy was but he, like every other child of God including you and me, knew that he was somebody – a very important person. To Ben, the distinction of divine sonship far outweighed any other distinction, even that of serving as a two-term governor of a great state.
Because “our Father in heaven” was Ben’s Father too, Ben endeavored to use special gifts which God bestows upon His children . . . to tell his story about how he discovered the joy of belonging to God’s Family.
Furthermore, Ben decided early on that, in appreciation for God’s grace gifts, he would spend the rest of his days seeking to praise God in all his ways. Thus, Ben praised God by telling his story to whomever whenever.
Jesus instructed us to praise God, saying when we pray and living in such a way that our lives also say, “Hallowed be thy name!” What this praise phrase means is, “May your name be kept holy!” Or, “Let your name be treated with reverence!”
We honor God when we treat His Name respectfully, reverently and in no way associate His Name with anything profane.
And, in keeping with the ideal in Hebrew culture that one’s name represents one’s very being --- the sum of who a person is and what he stands for --- the name LORD God identified God’s moral character, divine authority, eternal existence.
Remember: Moses asked God what to say if the Egyptians inquired “What is His Name” regarding the One who sent Moses to deliver God’s people. In essence, God instructed Moses to tell them that he had been sent by “the Eternal One” . . . whose character is pure holiness and whose authority extends over all creation. So when you pray, say, “Hallowed be thy Name”!
In the tradition of King David – forgiven, healed, granted victory over sin and death – we approach the throne of God with reverence and respect. Our desire is that the LORD will be honored as the Holy God He is by praising Him for who He is . . . proclaiming the good news about Him . . . pronouncing the glory of His works to everyone. Thus, David’s Prayer of Praise is ours too – Psalm 96:1-9 . . . 10-13 . . .
Praise Him for Who He is --- The Holy One . . . Our Creator . . . Our King . . . Our Deliverer . . . Our Judge! He is before all, above all, over all, in all, through all!
The Holy One . . . always has been, is now, forevermore shall be . . . existed before the heavens and the earth . . . is the great idea behind all that now exists - in the heavens and on the earth . . . is the Presence that accompanies us through all the days of our existence on earth . . . abides with us as we finish our journey in the here and now . . . is waiting for us when we all get to Heaven. Praise Him!
Proclaim the good news about Him! If and when we were ever unbelievers, the bad news for us was that idols of this world had no life about them - no mind, no personhood, no feelings, therefore no compassion. No life. No love. No hope. Certainly no standards of holiness.
Inasmuch as those who choose to worship and serve idols are on their way to Hell . . . Q: Which idol cares? None! If folks go to hell, who cares? No idol cares!
Good News! The LORD God, whose majesty and power are evident in all of creation lives . . . reigns . . . cares . . . saves . . . sees His children through the valleys - all the way to that grand and glorious place He has prepared for all who love Him!
Pronounce the glory of His works to everyone! No matter one’s nationality or geographical location or culture, the glory of God is meant for ALL nations and every tribe on this terrestrial ball. There is no continent, nor country. nor culture on this planet in which His works cannot be praised.
Yet, heathenistic, atheistic deniers and defiers of Truth about the LORD God abound on all seven continents, among all nations, within the boundaries not only of paganized but also of civilized masses of people. God help them!
May somehow, in some way, one day, the glory of the LORD be recognized and responded to - before it is too late.
Meanwhile, back home, where we exist and move and have our being, let us continually give thanks to God for His gifts that have blessed our lives and set our sights, not on things of this earth but, on things above --- because we know who He is, we have received and responded to His Good News of salvation, and we seek as best we can to pronounce the glory of His works to everyone!
Yes, of course! As a means of worshipping and serving our Maker, Father, and Redeemer, we bring offerings unto the LORD --- at least four types of which none is more important than the other - not to appease but to please the LORD our God!
We His children please our Father in Heaven with offerings of praise . . . possessions . . . prayers . . . the presentation of ourselves - “living sacrifices, holy and acceptable, unto God” (Romans 12:1).
“May the words of my mouth, the meditations of my heart, and my offerings of praise, possessions, prayers and personality be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer, Amen.”