Examining Blasphemy

Blasphemy, by definition, means the profaning, desecration and taking in vain of the name of God, or the reviling of any of His works or deeds. It is strongly forbidden by God as dishonoring to His name (Exodus 20:7).

When God was dwelling among the Israelites, He demanded that they be vigilant about the sanctity of His holy name. God’s name is more than just an identification label, like a John or Peter. God’s name refers to His very nature, His person. For this, God demands the blasphemer to be judged, and the consequences then were to be stoned to death outside of the camp by the entire congregation. We should be grateful we no longer live in such times, lest we all likely would face similar consequences.

So how should we as believers today treat the name of the Lord? Are we ourselves guilty of this offense? How often do we recite the Lord’s Prayer and the words “Hallowed be thy Name (Matthew 6:9) without fully grasping the significance of these words?

When we take the name of the Lord in vain, it means we are using it without a purpose; using it in a flippant manner in ordinary conversation. This goes beyond using it in connection with profanity. Taking the name of the Lord and trivializing it in mindless conversation is also to commit blasphemy.

God had plenty to say regarding blaspheming His name. Several instances of Scripture, aside from the seventh verse in Exodus 20, affirm that blasphemy is strongly forbidden (see Exodus 22:28; Leviticus 18:21;19:12; 22:32; Numbers 15:30-31).

However, blasphemy can also occur through indirect actions on our part. When we act in rebellion against His Word or outright reject His teachings by His servants, we are also committing blasphemy. We can look to Nehemiah 9:26 where the Israelites were reminded of their many cycles of falling away during the judges and kings. In 2 Chronicles 36:16, the chronicler describes how the nation of Israel consistently rejected his messengers by mocking and scoffing (Jesus recounts this in Matthew 23:29-35). See also Psalm 107:11 and Isaiah 5:24 for further examples.

Scripture clearly indicates any time we insult God, it is a form of blasphemy. Proverbs 14:31 reminds us that when we neglect the poor, we are insulting God. James also speaks of the connection of dishonoring the poor and committing blasphemy (James 2:5-7).

We should also be aware of our actions and their effect on others. As Christians, we must always be conscious of both our actions and words. James also had much to say on the evil of the tongue (James 3:1-12). While Paul wrote much on being careful not to allow our actions to cause another to stumble (Romans 14:13-23), we can also be the cause for others to commit blasphemy. In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he reminds his young protégé that those in bondage to another should honor their master, as we who are servants of Christ are to honor Him (1 Timothy 6:1). The ability to cause others to blaspheme is also depicted in Ezekiel 36:20-23 (see also Romans 2:24 and Isaiah 52:5).

How often our walk with Christ is observed by the lost and unchurched. Let us not give them a reason to scoff those in Christ by our performing actions (or inactions) that denigrate the Almighty Lord. Let your walk be seasoned with salt and reflective of the Light of Christ that indwells within your heart. By doing so, we may lead one lost soul to inquire more about the God we hold in such high esteem.