Friday, 15 February 2013
For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written. Romans 2:24
We often make our mental associations of things unseen by the things which we see. If we buy a car, a Ford perhaps, and it is a lemon then our perception of Ford the company will be negative. If our friends buy Fords too and they are all lemons, the name of Ford will be found in low esteem among those looking for a car. The term for “blasphemed” is found in Romans 3:8 and is translated as “slanderously reported.” Later, in Romans 14:16, it is translated as to “be spoken of as evil.” When you buy a dud car, your inclination is to tell others not to buy one from “that crummy company.” Or you may say something even worse. The people of Israel were selected by God as His special people and thus their actions reflect directly on other’s perception of Him. Isaiah speaks of this perception –
Now therefore, what have I here,” says the Lord, “That My people are taken away for nothing? Those who rule over them Make them wail,” says the Lord, “And My name is blasphemed continually every day. Isaiah 52:5
The gentile world at large railed against Israel because of their conduct and, by default, they railed against the God of Israel. However, Israel’s disobedience actually demonstrates God’s greatness and His mercy even more. In Ezekiel 32, God explains why He was willing to restore Israel, even after a second instance of disobedience and the crucifixion of His Son. This restoration occurred, exactly as the Bible predicted, in the last century – first in 1948 with the land and then in 1967 with the city of Jerusalem –
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went.” Ezekiel 36:22
God demonstrated mercy to Israel while showing the nations His holiness. His word is vindicated in and through His disobedient people.
An important point to consider here is that since Israel’s exile and the establishment of the church, it is we who bear the name of God – in the name of Jesus. When our actions contain inappropriate conduct, the name of God is blasphemed among the unsaved. Who in their right mind would want the title “Christian” when they see people living unholy, disrespectful lives? Our actions have consequences.
Life application: Do you have a Christian symbol on your car? If so, do people see someone who is acting properly on the road? What about those you work with. If they know you are a Christian, then are your daily actions calling them to ask more about your faith, or are they making a mockery of the name of Jesus? As you go through your day, consider how the things you do affect others’ perception about the Lord.
Lord, please be with me and guide me in my daily walk. Keep my thoughts on You and help me to never stray from right living. May my life be a testimony to Your greatness and may others seek You out because of me. This I pray to Your honor and glory. Amen.