Wednesdays with Watson is a weekly reading taken from my favorite Puritan writer, Thomas Watson. This week’s selection is taken from The Lord’s Prayer.
Let us hallow and sanctify God’s name. Could we but see a glimpse of God’s glory, as Moses did in the rock, it would draw adoration and praise from us. Could we ‘see God face to face,’ as the angels in heaven do, could we behold him sitting on his throne like a jasper-stone, at the sight of his glory we should do as the twenty-four elders, who ‘worship him that liveth for ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power.’ Rev iv 11. That we may be stirred up to this great duty of hallowing, adoring, and sanctifying God’s name, let us consider:
(1) It is the very end of our being. Why did God give us life, but that by living we may hallow his name? Why did he give us souls, but to admire him? and tongues, but to praise him? The excellence of a thing is the end for which it was made; as of a star to give light, and of a plant to be fruitful. So the excellence of a Christian is to answer the end of his creation, which is to hallow God’s name, and live to that God by whom he lives. He who lives, and of whom God has no honour, buries himself alive, and exposes himself to a curse. Christ cursed the barren fig-tree.
(2) God’s name is so excellent that it deserves to be hallowed. ‘How excellent is thy name in all the earth!’ Psa viii 9. ‘Thou art clothed with honour and majesty’ Psa civ I. As the sun has its brightness, whether We admire it or not, so God’s name is illustrious and glorious, whether we hallow it or not. In him are all shining perfections, holiness, wisdom, and mercy. He is ‘worthy to be praised’ 2 Sam xxii 4. God is dignus honore, worthy of honour, love, and adoration. We often bestow titles of honour upon those who do not deserve them; but God is worthy to be praised; his name deserves hallowing; he is above all the honour and praise which angels in heaven give him.
(3) We pray, ‘hallowed be thy name’; that is, let thy name be honoured and magnified by us. If we do not magnify his name, we contradict our own prayers. To say, ‘hallowed be thy name,’ yet not to bring honour to God’s name, is to take his name in vain.
(4) If men will not hallow God’s name, and bring revenues of honour to him, he will get honour upon them. ‘I will get me honour upon Pharaoh’ Exod xiv 17. Pharaoh would not hallow God’s name; he said, ‘Who is the Lord that I should obey him?’ Well, says God, if Pharaoh will not honour me, I will get honour upon him. When God overthrew him and his chariots in the sea, he got honour upon him. God’s power and justice were glorified in his destruction. There are some whom God has raised to great power and dignity, and they will not honour his name; they make use of their power to dishonour him; they cast reproach upon his name, and revile his servants. If they will not honour God, he will get honour upon them in their final ruin. Herod did not give glory to God, but God got glory upon him. ‘The angel of the Lord smote him because he gave not God the glory, and he was eaten of worms.’ Acts xii 23.
(5) It will be no small comfort to us when we come to die, that we have hallowed and sanctified God’s name. Christ’s comfort a little before his death was, ‘I have glorified thee on the earth.’ John xvii 4. His redeeming mankind was hallowing and glorifying God’s name. Never was more honour brought to God’s name than by this great undertaking of Christ. Here was his comfort before death, that he had hallowed God’s name, and brought glory to him. So, what a cordial will it be to us at last, when our whole life has been a hallowing of God’s name! We have loved him with our hearts, praised him with our lips, honoured him with our lives; we have been to the praise of his glory. Eph i 6. At the hour of death, all your earthly comforts will vanish; to think how rich you have been, or what pleasures you have enjoyed upon earth, will not give one drachm of comfort. What is one the better for an estate that is spent? But to have conscience witnessing that you have hallowed God’s name, that your whole life has been glorifying him, what sweet peace and satisfaction will this give! How glad is that servant who has been all day working in the vineyard, when evening comes, that he shall receive his pay! How sweet will death be when they who have spent their lives in honoring God, shall receive the recompense of reward! What comfort was it to Hezekiah, when on his sick bed, that he could appeal to God, ‘Remember, Lord, how I have walked before thee with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight.’ Isa xxxviii 3. I have hallowed thy name, I have brought all the honor I could to thee, ‘I have done that which is good in thy sight.’