Recently in Alabama, President Trump scrawled giant autographs across the covers of Bibles.
Shocking? Hardly! Sad? Yes!
However, whatever sadness I feel does not come from the actions of the President, as much as it comes from the possibility of God’s people putting their adoration and maybe even their trust in a name other than the hallowed name of God.
We might be tempted to stand on our soapboxes and point fingers at the people in Alabama who clamoured for Trump’s name to adorn their Bibles; but we shouldn’t! We might be guilty of the very same attitude, even if our actions are different.
When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he said, “Our Father, who is in heaven, Hallowed be your name…”: One translation says – may your name be kept holy. My concern as I read this phrase is twofold: we don’t keep God’s name holy, set apart, and secondly we raise up other names to take his place.
We live in a world that thrives on name recognition. Making a name for one’s self is a big deal (we looked at this last month). Companies understand how important it is for consumer confidence that you maintain a good name. As we play the name game, it is relatively easy to replace the one name that is above all others.
Psalm 9:7-10 says, “But the Lord reigns forever, executing judgment from his throne. He will judge the world with justice and rule the nations with fairness. The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.”
What an awesome description of God’s greatness. Did you catch that last part? “Those who know your name trust in you.” When we truly recognize God for who he is, our trust in him grows. Inversely, our need to find other names to laud diminishes. There is more. Out of knowing the name of God (putting him back in his rightful place), and building our trust in him, grows the bedrock truth that he will not abandon all who continue to seek after him.
This has huge implications for our prayers. It reminds us that God is always with us in the midst of our everyday turmoil. No one else walks with us in the same way. No one loves and cares for us as deeply as he does. No one else can do what he can. No one else has the answers that we long for. No one! I’m truly grateful for an abundance of wonderful loving people that surround me and care for me, but they are still human. They are not God and I need God. As our need for God – the one and only “set apart” ruler of the universe – grows; our prayer deepens.