requires us to show him honour, reverence and great respect.
Blasphemy is treating him with contempt. We must be careful
how we act and how we speak.
This seems to have been the first arrest for blasphemy in
Israel. The law had not long been introduced and stated: “Do
not blaspheme God” and “You shall not misuse the
name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone
guiltless who misuses his name.”. While the law was
clear, Moses was unsure how to handle the offender. God left
him in no doubt: stone the man. Exodus 22:28,
1. What does it mean to “blaspheme the Name with a curse”
(v11)? Do people still do this today?
2. Is there any significance in recording that his parents
were of different races (v10)?
3. Why do you think those who were witnesses had first to
lay their hands on the man’s head?
People can blaspheme in a number of ways:
misusing or profaning God’s name (Exodus 20:7;
forsaking God (Ezekiel 20:27);
worshipping other gods (Leviticus 20:3);
sinning defiantly (Numbers 15:30–31). Discuss
examples of how each of these forms of blasphemy can happen
fact, any action that involves deliberate disrespect for God
Can you think of some other examples
of how we could sin by blaspheming?
The passage from Leviticus mentioned blaspheming the name
of God. In the Bible, God’s name stood for his character
(see Exodus 34:5–7). So his name is blasphemed when
his character is slandered or he is treated with contempt.
For example, the Assyrians blasphemed by claiming that God
was powerless when compared to their mighty army. 2
Kings 18:33–35; 19:6,22
Instead, God expects his people to respect him, acknowledge
him as holy and to treat worship with great respect. Leviticus
For example, Moses taught
is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere.
Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast
to him. (Deuteronomy 13:4)
the Psalms we read
who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob,
honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! (Psalm
right attitude is shown by the 24 elders who worship God in
Revelation. They say
are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor
and power, for you created all things, and by your will
they were created and have their being. (Revelation 4:11)
Under the law, the punishment for blasphemy was death by stoning.
However, in Jesus, blasphemy can be forgiven. The apostle
Paul describes himself as a blasphemer: Leviticus
Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and
a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance
and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me
abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ
Jesus. (1 Timothy 1:13–14)
blasphemed by rejecting Jesus as the Son of God. When he realised
his dreadful mistake, he repented and was forgiven.
However, there is a sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit
that cannot be forgiven. Jesus said to the Pharisees
tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men
will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the
Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal
sin. (Mark 3:28–29)
against the Holy Spirit seems to occur when a person consciously
and deliberately shows contempt for the power of God. Jesus
applied it to the Jews who said that his power to heal people
came from an “evil spirit”. How
can people blaspheme the Holy Spirit today?
It is essential that we show great respect and reverence for
God and his son, Jesus. To treat them with contempt is blasphemy.
This can happen through the words we say, or it can be demonstrated
by our actions.
1. The prophet Nathan told David that his sin had given the
enemies of God the opportunity to blaspheme (2 Samuel 12:14).
Read also Romans 2:21–24; 1 Timothy 6:1 and Titus 2:5.
How can our actions cause others to blaspheme God?
2. Are people blaspheming when they use the word “God”
or “Christ” as a swear word (showing surprise
or shock or annoyance)? What should you do when you hear such
1. The Jews often accused Jesus of blaspheming. Use a concordance
to find the occasions when they made this accusation. What
had Jesus done? Why might they have considered it blasphemy?
2. Consider the following passages: Hebrews 6:4–6; 10:26;
1 John 5:16. Are these talking about blasphemy against the
Holy Spirit? Why won’t such sins be forgiven?
6. What is God like?
14. Holiness and obedience