What is blasphemy?

The Question

How do we blaspheme against God? (Isaiah 52:5)

- OF from San Angelo, Texas


The Answer
Part 1: Defining blasphemy
Part 2: How can we blaspheme today?

Defining blasphemy (Part 1)

Let’s examine the Bible text you referenced and see what it says about blasphemy. In Isaiah 52:5, God himself is speaking and he is referring to the Assyrians, Israel’s archenemy. “’Now therefore, what do I have here,’ declares the Lord, ‘seeing that My people have been taken away without cause?’ Again the Lord declares, ‘Those who rule over them howl, and My name is continually blasphemed all day long.’”

How then is God’s name being blasphemed? We must first look to a definition. Blasphemy is the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God/the act of claiming the attribute of deity. (Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, copyright 1969) How were the Assyrians doing that? Another reference in Isaiah gives us a pretty good idea.

Isaiah 37:23-24 tells us and again it is God himself speaking through the prophet. “’Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? And against whom have you raised your voice and haughtily lifted up your eyes? Against the Holy One of Israel! Through your servants you have reproached the Lord, and you have said, “With my many chariots I came up to the heights of the mountains, to the remotest parts of Lebanon; and I cut down its tall cedars and its choice cypresses. And I will go to its highest peak, its thickest forest.”’”

Do you catch the arrogance, the haughtiness? Can you feel the contempt and lack of reverence for God? He could! And he condemned it as blasphemy and in time he would judge them and punish them for it. Ultimately God is not mocked!

How can we blaspheme today? (Part 2)

From my own observation, a general spirit of blasphemy is rampant today. Why? The book of Daniel tells us that in the end times knowledge will increase. “But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase. (Daniel 12:4)

It seems to me that we have an explosion of knowledge on the earth today. Along with that we have a growing irreverence for God and our utter dependence on him. Rather than gratitude for his bountiful blessings we often look to ourselves and how great a job we are doing without needing him. All of this will eventually have a disastrous result just as it did for all the peoples in the Old Testament who thought they could thumb their nose at the Almighty.

How can we avoid blasphemy? We can live life in a humble state because the truth is we are in a humble state. We can do nothing on our own. Our increased knowledge is a meaningless drop in the bucket compared to the all-knowing and sovereign God. We can meditate on the holiness of God and that will make plain our own lack of holiness. We can spend time every day looking around at all there is to be thankful for. Let us bow down in deep reverence to our God every day. That will surely keep blasphemy far from us.

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