Against God that is! Just been listening to the One Year Bible OT reading for a day last week which centered on Leviticus 24 and this part in particular stood out for me:
13 Then the LORD said to Moses: 14 “Take the blasphemer outside the camp. All those who heard him are to lay their hands on his head, and the entire assembly is to stone him. 15 Say to the Israelites: ‘If anyone curses his God, he will be held responsible; 16 anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him. Whether an alien or native-born, when he blasphemes the Name, he must be put to death.
And I just thought about this current generation above all others, where taking God’s name in vain is mandatory for most. I used to enjoy watching Friends until I found myself constantly having to mute the sound as every few seconds someone came off with an “Oh My G**” – now while I appreciate that many consider this isn’t truly blaspheming God’s name it got me to wondering then, if that’s not, what is?? Ultimately I look to Jewish Law and Tradition for an answer in that respect, and while there, we might consider they go extremely far in the other direction to the extent that they won’t even write the name in full i.e. G-d, because they consider that to do otherwise is an unholy act.
(Going to split my longer posts from here on when I remember, for those who are fed up with extensive posts clogging up their Tag Surfer :). )
Coming back to my earlier post about how Awesome our God is, I also can’t help feeling this is another area we completely miss the mark with as I’m amazed at how many who call themselves Christian equally think nothing of swearing in this manner, most usually Catholics for some reason. It shows an overall huge lack of respect for Him in my opinion, and something I doubt He views lightly. While we may be forgiven of our sins through the final sacrifice of Yeshua (Jesus), we don’t have a mandatory right to then walk over Him in such a manner. For those who think nothing of throwing out that OMG exclamation taken at its face value it firstly denotes that the speaker has a god they serve. Secondly that their god is a personal one in the use of the “my” and thirdly that they desire their god to be a part of whatever conversation stopper they’ve just witnessed or heard. SO, if you are speaking of the Almighty God of Israel, Jehovah, Yahweh, Creator and Redeemer, then take note – He absolutely has something to say to you! Just because Leviticus happens to be written to the Jews of that day, doesn’t discount you as being held accountable equally for your own attitude towards Him in this manner. I remember being told as a teenager that every time I said the name “Jesus” or “God” errantly, He was there asking “Why have you called my name?”, and I’d better have a good answer for Him. Childish perhaps but it got my attention alright, and stopped my errant using His Name as a swear word for any reason. Sadly, our culture is totally saturated in this blasphemy. Again, as with other heresies and blasphemies, I always find it interesting that our GOD is the only one that society has a problem with – because unlike other gods, He reveals our sinful nature to us. You’ll never hear (definitely not now at any rate) anyone blaspheme the name of Mohammed and survive to tell the tale if in the company of other Muslims, nor indeed Buddha or the name of any other false god around, because those gods don’t care about redeeming mankind – their only role is to lure people away from the One True God who can provide the one element mankind desperately needs – a cure for SIN!!! Yep that 3-letter swear word nobody uses these days :). Think perhaps we should use it more often and perhaps people would be less inclined to walk away from the One who can truly save them from it.
However, there is also the other interesting aspect to this issue – the fact that “God” isn’t His only name, and in fact in some respects may not be His ‘true’ name – He calls Himself by many other names in scripture – most prominently “Lord.” Other names include:
- Yahweh – used most commonly in Judaism where again the vowels would be removed to keep it holy.
- El Shaddai
- King of Kings
And many other titles besides. Yet for whatever reason it appears to be His “title of Being” i.e God that is used the most whether in profanity or errant swearing for other reasons. God is very adamant in His Word that He takes such actions very seriously indeed, hence the 3rd commandment!
Jesus also preached very heavily against swearing in the sense of “actionary” oaths, i.e. those requiring an action to complete e.g. “I swear by heaven I will absolutely do x, y or z”. He admonished us to never swear by anything let alone G-d’s Holy Name, and advised us to purely state yes or no when asked to promise anything.
Matt 23:20 Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. 21 And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. 22 And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.
Even worse is using God’s name to condemn others to hell as you will often hear. It is most definitely NOT our place to ever ask God to do that to another soul on this earth, and if we had any conception of what we were requesting (or should that be demanding), we would never, ever even think it let alone voice it. Most Christians at least stop short of such rash actions.
I remember also listening to a sermon on this topic last year where the speaker stated that for anyone to ‘prophesy’ in the manner of “Thus saith the Lord…” they needed to be exceptionally sure that what they were about to speak absolutely was what the Lord desired to say through them, as that was also a sin of blasphemy otherwise. I had to repent of that when I learnt it given I’d spent quite a few years in a charismatic church which almost taught all of us to do this on a regular basis without any thought or concern for what then came out of our mouths – at least I know I spoke dozens of so-called personal prophecies of sorts which I know absolutely in retrospect, were nothing more than my own perceived views of what I desired for whoever I was prophesying about or to!
And if anyone else has any more ideas on what terms blasphemy against God (especially my Jewish readers), I’d love to hear about them!