Pray then, in this way Matt. 6:7-13 Pt. 2
Topic: Sunday AM Passage: Matthew 6:7–6:13
Pray then, in this way;
given to the congregation upon the death of Joan LaLiberte, vicar of st. Marks Episcopal in Tonopah, Nv. died Nov. 12th 2014 [Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Luke 12:25
We've had a shock this week. A reminder. A wake up call.
The way I heard the story, Mother Joan, as she liked to be called, was in the back of the van, letting the 2 men up front carry on in chatter she probably had no interest in. Perhaps her plan was to take a nap.
I don't know how old she was. My guess would be 5 - 8 years older than I am.
She was looking forward to good years in Tonopah. Even at 62 I don't think of decline. Not yet. I think perhaps I may have 25 fairly good years left on the clock. My guess is that Mother Joan probably had similar thoughts. Good years. Still time.
She had bought Maggie Ray's old house and was enjoying fixing it up as best she could on a fairly meager stipend. Probably why she figured she'd save some gas money and ride up north on the Senior Van last Wednesday.
Sovereign God had other plans. Suddenly you're jolted dead awake by the van careening out of control from one side of the highway to the other, fishtailing, and you get a glimpse of the truck that is coming in your window. And then your life is over.
1 O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD,
Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
3 For the LORD is a great God
And a great King above all gods,
4 In whose hand are the depths of the earth,
The peaks of the mountains are His also.
5 The sea is His, for it was He who made it,
And His hands formed the dry land.
6 Come, let us worship and bow down,
Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.
7 For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.
God is a sovereign King. A Great King who controls everything. Nothing catches Him by surprise. He knew to the milli-second when Joan LaLiberte's life on earth would be over.
He doesn't tell us why He does things. He does tell us, if we belong to Him, everything, everything, whether it seems like it or not, is working for our good. He causes that to happen for His own. He doesn't tell us why we have to go through problems on the way. He just says, I am a Great King, you need to trust me.
Some day in heaven, we'll look back and this life will seem like it was 5 minutes long. And we'll say, my, how we wasted time on stuff and stuff and stuff that was gone in 5 minutes and didn't matter at all.]
Matt. 6:7 - 13 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8“So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
9“Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth
as it is in heaven.
11‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]
Gore Vidal died in August of 2012. He was 86 years old. He was the father of the derisive term that gets thrown around amongst people of higher liberal learning these day. Sky God. He loathed the Sky God. Here are some of his words as quoted by Al Mohler upon the news of his death.
“The great unmentionable evil at the center of our culture is monotheism,” Vidal asserted, “From a barbaric Bronze Age text known as the Old Testament three anti-human religions have evolved — Judaism, Christianity and Islam. These are sky-god religions.”
He went on to describe the “sky-god” as patriarchal and jealous. “He requires total obedience from everyone on earth, as he is in place not just for one tribe but for all creation.”
He claimed that America’s founders were “not enthusiasts of the sky-god,” but that devotees have had an inordinate influence throughout most of the nation’s history. “From the beginning, sky-godders have always exerted great pressure in our secular republic,” he argued. “Also, evangelical Christian groups have traditionally drawn strength from the suppressed.” He blamed the “sky-godders” for “their innumerable taboos on sex, alcohol, gambling.”
In one scathing paragraph, he pressed his case:
“Although many of the Christian evangelists feel it necessary to convert everyone on earth to their primitive religion, they have been prevented — so far — from forcing others to worship as they do, but they have forced — most tyrannically and wickedly — their superstitions and hatred upon all of us through the civil law and through general prohibitions. So it is upon that account that I now favor an all-out war on the monotheists.”
He was not reluctant to state his main concern:
“The ongoing psychopathic hatred of same-sexuality has made the United States the laughingstock of the civilized world. In most of the First World [Europe], monotheism is weak or nonexistent, private sexual behavior has nothing at all to do with those not involved, much less with the law.”
I found it interesting to look through the glasses of secular hatred at our God. He is, in fact, the sky God. He dwells in heaven! And soon He'll reclaim this earth that we live on which has been occupied temporarily by an evil enemy, Satan.
Vidal's hatred of God is like a drop in the bucket compared to Satan's. Vidal was just an old reprobate duped by Satan. He has gone to where all of those who hate the sky God and love evil, will go.
I thought the whole derisive "sky god" thing that we hear often these days was a good place to begin where we left off last week.
Pray therefore, in this way; Our Father, who dwells in heaven...
The earth is vast. Ask Mother Nature. Or the soil. Or the Coral reef. Or the water. Or the rainforest.
To the frantic people who are losing sleep worrying about it, the world, this earth, is all they've got.
And it is vast, and glorious. I've stood at the eastern cliffs atop Table mountain up in our wilderness areas and been overwhelmed with the beauty and vast emptiness of this place in the middle of no-where we call home.
I've been at 12,500 foot level in the bristlecone pines on a 2 track road with 2 flat tires as I put on my spare spare and have thought to myself, it would take weeks to find me, I've wandered so far off the regular roads with my giant cameras.
I love the wildness and have renewed my spirit often with views that take your breath away. That's why I moved here.
But this world, so vast and breathtaking to us, is just a little footstool for our God. He really is the sky God. Our Father, who art in heaven.
He spoke all of this into existence. He said the words and it happened. When it pleases Him, He'll speak it out of existence and speak a new heaven and a new earth into existence.
Let me show you briefly 2 word pictures that try to explain in human terms what I believe is probably unexplainable. Paul seems to agree;
2Cor. 12:3 And I know how such a man-- whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows-- 4was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.
I think this is Paul saying, I'm not going to try to explain what I saw. There are no adequate words.
2 others did try. Isaiah and John. Listen to their descriptions of where Almighty God, our Father, dwells;
Isaiah 6:1 In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 2Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3And one called out to another and said,
“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory.”
4And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.
John takes a whack at it in;
Revelation 4:1 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.” 2Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne. 3And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance. 4Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads.
5Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God; 6and before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. 7The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. 8And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say,
“HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.”
9And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”
This is our Father, who dwells in heaven. This is to whom we pray!
And some little reprobate pipsqueak like Gore Vidal and millions of others like him, shake their collective little fists at God Almighty?? How laughably rediculous.
We who have believed in the death and resurrection of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins (John 1:12) But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name . . . we have a Father, who dwells in Heaven.
As breathtakingly vast and beautiful as the world is, it pales in comparison to the fact that God has adopted us, in His son, to be His children, and His Son, Jesus, has told us to . . . speak with Him. Prayer is speaking with God of very God, who dwells in heaven, and who is to us, Father.
Not a few scholars like to point out that while the greek word here for father is Pater, Jeus spoke in aramaic and would have used the intimate word of a little child for it's father, abba. Daddy, who dwells in heaven.
I didn't note the date, but some time in the last couple of months, I was listening to a preacher on the radio talking about this prayer, thinking to myself, pay attention, you've got to preach on that, and very soon.
He made me think again of this idea of Hallowed, be thy Name.
That is really the first idea in this prayer outline, once we've identified who it is we're praying to. Abba, Father. Our Father, who dwells in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
In our prayer outline, this is where we begin. Hallowed be thy name. What does it mean.
Hallowed. To make Great. We're actually praying that God will make His name Great.
This is a thought you can get lost in, and I want to spend a few minutes here, and perhaps show you a meaning to these words that has escaped you.
The greek word is hagiazo. If you look it up in Vine's dictionary of New Testament words, you will learn that it means set apart because of value. Vines says the opposite of this word is koinos, which means common.
Thus, to hallow something means to hold it in most high regard. The treasure that is set apart from all other treasure.
The prayer is a prayer asking that God would make His own name great.
This has effected my prayer life just in the last couple of months. I have understood that Jesus is teaching us to pray that the name of God would be set aside as holy, Highest treasure. God, please make your name great.
And I've been personalizing this idea. I've been praying many times a day, God, make your name Great in Tonopah Nevada. Do a work here that is so extraordinary. Do a thing in Tonopah that people around the world will look at and say, God is real. He must be. This could not have happened apart from the hand of God. Do a work here that makes men come face to face with the reality that you are Real. Uncommon! Hallowed.
AND, please let us join you in whatever it is that you're going to do to make your name spectacular in Tonopah. Please hallow your name, and please let us join in.
I have no idea what that kind of a work of grace in Tonopah might look like. All I know is that it will be the Almighty who makes His name great in Tonopah, Nevada, and whatever it is He does, I want to be in on the fun. I want to be a second hand participant in the miracles He's going to do to make His own name Great. Right here. In Podunk Nevada.
What is it about God's name? Why is it important to hallow, to set apart for honor, His name?
Bear with me for a few minutes and take a whirlwind trip through the Bible while we think about this. It's the foremost thing we do when we pray. It must be important.
Ex. 34:12 “Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst. 13“But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim 14—for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God—
Ezekiel 36:22-23 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes”
Psalm 29:2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
Psalm 115:1,2 Not to us, O LORD, not to us, But to Your name give glory Because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth. 2Why should the nations say, "Where, now, is their God?"…
Isaiah 48:10,11 "Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. 11"For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another.
Because we are fallen, born in sin, spiritually dis-functional, this concept of God's glory being pre-emminent above every other thing is not natural for us to grasp.
We talked about this briefly a couple of weeks ago, and as long as you allow me to be your pastor, we'll visit this often, because this is counterintuitive. It seems wrong to us.
It's like if God were the person living next door, and all he wanted to ever talk about is his glory and his great name, we'd avoid him. We don't like people like that. We'd see him waiting on the other side of the fence and we wouldn't go outside until he went inside. We avoid people like that. Our mother taught us not to be like that.
So, it's counter-intuitive because we're broken, spiritually.
But if you hang around this book long enough, what you discover is that what we want most of all, that enexplainable longing that our deepest most satisfying experiences of worship brings us, is connected to us making Him look great.
Our greatest experiences of joy, our most satisfying mirth, our deepest satisfactions, the ones that make us want to leave this earth and go home to Him, are all connected to His glory.
That's counterintuitive to my fallen flesh. But if it's true, and it is, the most loving thing God can do, is demand my worship of His glory. If God didn't love me, the thing most damaging to me, is to allow me, in my broken flesh, to go down every dead end street this world can offer, looking for the satisfaction that my soul longs for, and never finding it.
If God allows me to continue on my broken course, I'd die like Gore Vidal, shaking my fist at the God I hate, throwing slurs at him, calling him derisively the sky god, and calling His book a barbaric bronze age text.
Vidal did that because he weighed what satisfaction he could get by grasping at this worlds dead end pleasures, he was a homosexual, and those pleasures, he weighed in the balance against worship and glory of God, and said, I'll take what I can get now, and I hate you for saying it's wrong.
He dangled over hell on that tightrope, shaking his fist at God, then one day, he took his last breath and fell in.
That's a hideous picture. Frightening. Ghastly. But that's the picture for every one of us, if God didn't step in and say, there is a way to Joy. There is a way to mirth. There is a way to deepest satisfaction, even here in this broken place, and then, after the last breath here, in unspeakable Glory. And the way there is worship of the name above all names.
It is love that causes God to keep moving us toward - worship.
And so, I would urge you to think again about this prayer Jesus taught His disciples to pray.
We are His children, why? John 1:12 again; But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name
He is our Father, we are His children, because of what? Belief in the Name.
Hallowed be thy Name.
Maybe if we live long enough and the Lord is gracious, we'll study Paul's letter to the Ephesians together.
Ephesians chapter 1 is a challenge to even the worlds smartest people. Paul gets all revved up and some of his sentances get very long and complex in the ideas he presents. He just unloads, and forgets for a minute that he has to talk down to most of us.
He says in vss. Eph. 1:3 - 6: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
He blesses, with every spiritual blessing
He chose us before the foundation of the world
He makes us holy and blameless
He predestined us. He adopted us as sons. He was kind to us. Why?
To the praise of His glory of His grace.
All of God's goodness to us, a goodness that is otherworldly, a goodness that will satisfy us forever and ever, is all mixed up together with His glory.
When we pray Hallowed be thy name. Make your name Great! We're praying down all of these blessings on us. It's all mixed up together.
That's why I've begun to pray over and over, Make Your Name Great, in Tonopah Nevada. Hallow Your name, right here where I live.
Because I understand, when He answers that prayer, we're going to get overwhelmed in a flood of blessing.
Our Father, Who art in Heaven, Make your name GREAT in Tonopah. And while you're doing that, by grace, include us in it. We want to come along for the ride.
I pray that we do.
More in The Lord's Prayer
November 30, 2014Pray then, in this way Matt. 6:7-13 Pt. 4 The Lords Prayer
November 23, 2014Pray then, in this way Matt. 6:7-13 Pt. 3 The Lords Prayer
November 9, 2014How Not to pray; When Bad Words reach God