Recently you repented and did what is right in my sight: Each of you proclaimed freedom to your own people. You even made a covenant before me in the house that bears my Name. But now you have turned around and profaned my name; each of you has taken back the male and female slaves you had set free to go where they wished. You have forced them to become your slaves again.Jeremiah 34:15-16
The remarkable phrase in this passage is,
you profaned my name. This was a serious charge to any Jew. They had been brought up to revere and respect the name of God. The scribes did not even dare to write the name of God without taking a bath and changing their clothes. And they never pronounced it. The four Hebrew letters used for the name of God they called
The Ineffable Tetragrammaton — the unpronounceable or unspeakable four letters. They never spoke the name of God. Yet God's charge against this king is,
You have profaned my name. The Hebrew word translated profane, means
deface. God's charge is,
You have defaced me. How did they do it? By failing to respect the human rights of slaves. It is an act of blasphemy against God to treat another person as somewhat less than a person. That is what God holds a nation to account for.
As we think of our own national history, we can see what a heavy charge must be leveled against us. How have we treated the American Indians, the original inhabitants of this land, or the Africans we brought forcibly into our midst? We have despised them, treated them as less than human. The God of the nations says,
That is a profanation of my name. You have profaned my name when you have done a thing like that. It is always healthy for me to remember that God's view of my spirituality, his judgment of whether I am a spiritual-minded person or not, is based not upon how I treat my friends and those I like, but how I treat the waiter at the table, or the clerk in the store, or the yardman. This is the mark of spirituality. In other words, God requires of a people that they respect the rights of all humanity. And when there is a violation of that, God takes it to account.
Father, we pray that we continue to respect humanity as we live spiritual-minded lives.
Are we compelled by God's love, seeing others through his eyes? How does this differ from the worldly point of view? Do we claim to represent Christ but dishonor his name by mistreating and demeaning others?