Read: Psalm 8
The first petition is a petition about God’s name: “Hallowed be thy name.”
God’s name is unique and special, because God’s name reveals who He is. Our names are not like this, for our names are merely tags to distinguish us from each other. Our names do not describe who we are, what we are like, whether we are kind or cruel, rich or poor, healthy or ill. Our names do not describe our hopes and aspirations. Perhaps our parents gave us our names to honor a family member who bears that name, or because they liked the way the name sounds, or because the name has a significant meaning. But for all of their significance, our names can never reveal who we are. In the end, they are just a way to address each other.
However, God’s name is different. When God speaks His name, He is telling us who and what He is. To know God’s name is to know God Himself!
This is true of God’s proper names first of all. His name, God, literally means mighty. It reveals Him as all-powerful, both to create and to save. His name, Jehovah, literally means I AM. It reveals Him as the eternal and unchangeable God of the covenant. His name, Lord, refers to His sovereign dominion and authority over all things. His name, Father, reveals Him as the God of the covenant, who brings His chosen people into covenant fellowship with Himself. His name, Shepherd, reveals Him to be the tender, compassionate leader and pastor of His people. These names are more than mere handles to address God; they are His revelation of Himself to His people.
Scripture goes even further yet. It identifies God’s name to be certain things that we would not normally consider the name of God. For example, Psa 8:1 says that God’s name is revealed in the creation: “O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.” This does not merely mean that God’s name is praised as excellent in all the earth. It means that all of the earth is God’s excellent name. No matter where the believer looks in creation, he sees the revelation of God, and therefore the name of God. That is why Lord’s Day 47 explains this petition about God’s name in terms of God’s works.
The response of the believer is to exclaim with the Psalmist in a different place, “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.” (Psa 103:1).