There was a man whose mother was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan but whose father was Egyptian. He and another man who was an Israelite fought in the camp. During the fight, Shelomith’s son blasphemed the Name of the LORD.
Blasphemy is a serious sin. What is it? It is to speak slurs against God. It is to malign His Holy Name. And it is to use His beautiful name as an exclamation or without purpose. The fight in the camp had been allowed to happen but when Shelomith’s son blasphemed God, even the stubborn hearts of Israel were so shocked that the fight immediately stopped and they brought the man to Moses.
A name was not simply a label for a person. Names were chosen carefully, they meant something. Names were the symbolic representation of the person and his character. God’s name is Holy. His name was removed from scriptures and replaced with the unpronounceable substitute YHWH so that it could not be uttered in vain. His name was replaced with God and LORD it is so completely sacred. He gave Himself many names which we may use to praise Him. He is I Am, Father, Creator, Savior, Redeemer, Comforter, King of kings, Almighty, Our Peace, Our Joy, Our Strength, Our Rock, and more. To defame His name is to defame Him. Israel was so appalled at the man’s sin that they took him to Moses. Verses 12-14 describe it,
“And they put him in custody, till the will of the Lord should be clear to them.
13 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 14 “Bring out of the camp the one who cursed, and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him.”
The witnesses had become unclean just by hearing the man’s treacherous words. They laid their hands on the man to put that guilt back on him, they laid their hands on him to testify that this man was guilty, and that they agreed with the Lord’s justice. He had to pay with his life. Verses 15-16 read,
“And speak to the people of Israel, saying, Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. 16 Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.”
Blasphemy is absolutely repugnant in the eyes of God and it should be to us as well. When one blasphemes the Lord, he is hating Him. And to do so means the offender doesn’t know the Lord because he doesn’t love him. Insulting a person is also hating that person. When we curse a person, we are cursing someone God loves. To do that means we are not loving the Lord with all our heart, strength, soul and mind and we are not loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Blasphemy as with most sins is forgivable. The person who commits it is lost and when they accept Jesus, He forgives all their sins, including that one. They were lost, they didn’t know. But there is a sin which is unforgivable. It is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. In Mark 3-28-30 Jesus said,
“Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
But what is this unforgivable sin? Going back a few verses gives us some context. Mark 3:22-27 reads,
“And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” 23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.”
The Holy Spirit is God, Jesus performed His miracles by the Power of the Holy Spirit, yet the scribes were saying Jesus’ power was from Satan. They slandered Holy God by saying his power was satanic. They rejected Jesus, they spurned the Holy Spirit’s prompts, and they refused the Father. God will not forgive a person who doesn’t use his free will to come and repent. The blasphemer allows the devil to rule in his heart rather than the Holy Spirit. Matthew chapter 12 extends the event and in verses 28-32 read,
“But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can someone enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. 30 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31 Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”
Most of the lost don’t know anything about the Holy Spirit. They may “believe” in God, they may even acknowledge that Jesus lived but take it no further than that. They don’t understand who the Holy Spirit is. So for someone to speak against Him, they have to have some insight into the truth, yet they reject it. They offend Him by comparing Him to Satan. They insult Him even though they know who He is. On the cross Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). Most sins of the lost are committed in ignorance, but blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is intentional slander of His holiness.
Believer, we can’t blaspheme the Holy Spirit. But we, by our careless words and actions can cause others to blaspheme Him. We represent Jesus, we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we are chosen by the Father. When we cause someone to hate God, we cause them to blaspheme Him. When we cause someone to hate God, they may just reject Him completely and blaspheme the Holy Spirit who has been calling them, tugging on their hearts to come to know Him. Be careful with who you are. Manifest the Fruit of the Spirit not the works of the flesh. You are known by the fruit you produce.