The children of Israel found themselves in the wilderness of Zin (Num. 20:1-13). They desperately needed water, so God instructed Moses to speak to the rock to bring forth water. Moses, however, frustrated with the complaining of the people struck the rock, and bitter water issued forth. As a result of Moses’ disobedience, he could not lead Israel into the Promised Land. That responsibility fell to Joshua.
God rebuked Moses and Aaron for their disobedience saying, “Because you did not believe in Me to sanctify Me, before the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore, you will not bring this assembly into the land which I gave to them” (Num. 20:12). Two things stand out in the Lord’s pronouncement:
1) He equated “believing in Him” with human obedience, and
2) God’s name is sanctified through our obedience.
We frequently speak of believing in God in a way where what we mean is believing something about God. Faith then, for us, is often merely belief about God. In the Bible, “to believe” in God requires our obedience. It’s not our belief or opinion about God, but our obedient response to His commands and directives. As James stated, “faith without works is dead” (2:17). Moses and Aaron’s disobedience meant that they did not believe in God in that moment.
Moses and Aaron’s disobedience to God’s command meant that they did not sanctify God’s name before Israel, rather, they profaned it. The verb translated in this passage as “to sanctify” literally means “to make holy.” Think about that. Our obedience has the ability to make God holy before people, and our disobedience profanes Him before the world. Perhaps the reason why the world around us does not treat God as holy is because we, His followers, do not live in submitted obedience to Him, making Him holy in the world.
If believing in God equals our obedience, our obedience, then, sanctifies God’s name within our world. Our disobedience results in His name being profaned. In the Bible, a person’s obedient actions determined their faith in God. That obedience makes God holy in the world.
What an incredible thought: the God of the universe, who is holy, relies, in part, upon our obedience to make Him holy within the world. What an awesome responsibility. Do we through our obedience show ourselves to believe in Him? Do we seek to sanctify Him, make Him holy, before our world through our daily obedience to Him?
In Jewish theology, you will discover two phrases:
1.) Kiddush HaShem, and
2.) Chillul HaShem
Kiddush HaShem (Hebrew: קידוש השם "sanctification of the Name") is a precept of Judaism. It includes sanctification of the name of God by being holy.
Now, the phrase "sanctification of the Name" does not occur in the Hebrew Bible, but the instruction "To sanctify His Name" and conversely "And ye shall not profane My holy name" (Lev. 22:32) is frequently expressed. Any action by a Jew that brings honour, respect, and glory to God is considered to be sanctification of his Name. In contrast, any behaviour or action that disgraces, harms or shames God's Name through our disobedience and wicked behaviour is regarded as a chillul Hashem (the desecration of God’s great Name and therefore, His reputation).
Ezekiel 36: 17 - 23
The word of Adonai came to me saying: "Son of man, when the house of Israel lived in their own land, they defiled it by their way and by their deeds. Their way before Me was like the uncleanness of a woman in her niddah. So I poured out My fury on them for the blood which they had shed upon the land and because they had defiled it with their idols. I scattered them among the nations, so they were dispersed through the countries. According to their way and their deeds I judged them. Wherever they went among the nations, they profaned My holy Name, since it was said about them, ‘These are the people of Adonai, yet they had to leave His land.' But I had concern for My holy Name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations wherever they went. "Therefore say to the house of Israel, thus says Adonai Elohim: ‘I do not do this for your sake, house of Israel, but for My holy Name, which you profaned among the nations wherever you went. I will sanctify My great Name, which has been "profaned among the nations—which you have profaned among them. The nations will know that I am Adonai'"—it is a declaration of Adonai—"‘when I am sanctified in you before their eyes.'"
Father, may our obedience demonstrate that we believe in You, and may Your Name be sanctified in our world through our obedience to Your commands, we ask and pray Beshem Yeshua HaMashiach. Amen.