Tidings for Tuesday

For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. Romans 2:24

What would you have done if you had been Daniel? You have a daily practice of praying three times but have been told that if you continue this practice, you will be thrown into the lions’ den. We know what Daniel did, and how God delivered him from the jaws of those voracious cats. But think about what happened to others because of Daniel’s faithfulness to God and to what he knew was right. Daniel’s enemies were tossed to their destruction in the lions’ den. And the king was made to confess not only the reality but also the supremacy of Daniel’s God. Consider Darius’ words: ‘I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for He is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and He worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, Who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.’ Daniel 6:26,27 How different would have been the result if Daniel had bowed to the king’s decree and abandoned his faithfulness. Not only would his enemies rejoiced and blasphemed God, but the king would also have lost all respect for his honourable and able prime minister. How thankful we are that Daniel was faithful so that the Name of his God was not only not blasphemed but was also exalted among the Gentiles!

As Christians who love our Lord and appreciate all of His loving kindness to us, we would never want to ever blaspheme His name. And we are offended when we hear others around us taking His Name in vain. We are very careful to honour the fourth commandment. But sometimes we are actually the cause of others breaking that commandment. A young Christian very recently asked me what is the best approach to take to those around us who use bad language, including blaspheming God. That is a very good question and one that we need to consider carefully. It is wrong to allow the blasphemy to go unchallenged. But it is also wrong to attack the offender in a harsh and accusing manner. Such an approach will undoubtedly provike an angry and probably blasphemous response. But if we respond in a gracious way, explaining kindly why we are offended by having the Name of our loving Lord so misused, we might find a softer response, and maybe even an apology.

Another way in which those around us might be led to blaspheme is if we act the part of a hypocrite. If our life does not live up to what we profess, those who watch us will know it. They will mock us and our Lord. We can deprive our watchers of the opportunity to blaspheme our God if we pattern our life after that of the Lord Jesus. If we are consistently honest, if we are always considerate and kind, if we seek carefully to live at peace with all men, then we are more likely to lead others to bless our God.

In our text, Paul is accusing his readers of being the cause of others blaspheming God. May that accusation never be true of us! -Jim MacIntosh

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