God is not saying that the Jews profaned the name of God while living among the Gentiles. It's not as if the Jews were sitting around having beers with their Gentile buddies lying about God, cursing God, and saying blasphemous things about him. God isn't saying that he needs to restore his name because he allowed these disobedient rebellious people to hang out with people from other nations and while they lived among them, they cursed God up one side and down the other. That's not it at all.
Originally Posted by RogerW
In order to understand the issue, we need to understand that people in ancient days believed that each piece of real estate in the world, each region, or each country was ruled over by a local God. Each people group, living in a particular area of land, was ruled by the local god of that area. So, for instance, we read in the book of Judges that the Philistines were able to capture Samson and take him prisoner. The Philistines attributed their success to their god Dagon.
Now the lords of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice, for they said, "Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hands." When the people saw him, they praised their god, for they said, "Our god has given our enemy into our hands, Even the destroyer of our country, Who has slain many of us." Judges 16:23-24
Notice how the Philistines interpreted the situation. According to their interpretation of the events, it was Dagon that defeated Yahweh such that Dagon was able to give Samson into their hands. The truth was, Yahweh allowed Samson to be taken captive since Samson allowed a woman to cut his hair. But regardless of the truth, the Philistines took this to be a great victory for Dagon -- the local god of the Philistines. And at that moment, the Philistines were allowed to believe a lie about both Dagon and Yahweh. The idea that Dagon was stronger and able to defeat Yahweh is a blaspheme of Yahweh, a lie believed on by the Philistines.
Whenever God allowed his people to be defeated in battle, or when he allowed his people to be taken captive, the surrounding nations interpreted this in terms of Yahweh's relative strength. When the Egyptians took the sons of Jacob captive, it was understood by the Egyptian people that the Egyptian gods were stronger and more powerful than Yahweh. When God allowed the Assyrians to take the Northern Ten Tribes captive, it was understood by the Assyrians and the other surrounding nations that the Assyrian gods were stronger and more powerful than Yahweh. And when God allowed the Babylonians to take the Southern Tribes captive, it was understood by the Babylonian people and the other surrounding nations that the Babylonian gods were more powerful and stronger than Yahweh. For instance, when the Assyrians took Israel captive they bragged against Yahweh as it is written in Isaiah.
For thus says the Lord, "You were sold for nothing and you will be redeemed without money." For thus says the Lord God, "My people went down at the first into Egypt to reside there; then the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. "Now therefore, what do I have here," declares the Lord, "seeing that My people have been taken away without cause?" [Again] the Lord declares, "Those who rule over them howl, and My name is continually blasphemed all day long. Therefore My people shall know My name; therefore in that day I am the one who is speaking, `Here I am.' " Isaiah 52:3-6
Notice that it isn't the sons of Israel that has blasphemed but the Assyrians are the ones who blaspheme the name of God in front of the sons of Israel. The content of their lies is the Assyrian claim that Yahweh wasn't strong enough to defeat the Assyrian gods and keep them from taking the sons of Israel captive. It's a lie that Yahweh wasn't strong enough, but from the Assyrian's point of view, he wasn't.
In Ezekiel 36, God reminds the nation that because of their disobedience, he allowed the surrounding nations to appropriate and steal their land and take them captive. And when this happened, these surrounding nations bragged against God saying,
Thus says the Lord God, "Because the enemy has spoken against you, 'Aha!' and, 'The everlasting heights have become our possession,' therefore prophesy and say, 'Thus says the Lord God, "For good reason they have made you desolate and crushed you from every side, that you would become a possession of the rest of the nations and you have been taken up in the talk and the whispering of the people." ' " Ezekiel 36:2-3
Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, "Son of man, when the house of Israel was living in their own land, they defiled it by their ways and their deeds; their way before Me was like the uncleanness of a woman in her impurity. "Therefore I poured out My wrath on them for the blood which they had shed on the land, because they had defiled it with their idols. "Also I scattered them among the nations and they were dispersed throughout the lands. According to their ways and their deeds I judged them. "When they came to the nations where they went, they profaned My holy name, because it was said of them, `These are the people of the Lord; yet they have come out of His land.' Ezekiel 36:16-20
And that is the lie; that is the blaspheme. The lie the nations told to themselves was, "Yahweh wasn't strong enough to protect his people from our gods. These people belong to Yahweh and yet, here they are in possession of our god." From the point of view of the surrounding nations, the local god of Palestine known as Yahweh wasn't strong enough to keep his people, bless them materially, or defeat his enemies in battle. The other gods in the surrounding regions were able to take from Yahweh whatever they wanted. This was a lie; but from the point of view of the surrounding nations, they had a point. Yahweh was a two-bit second rate god.
At some point God is going to say, "Okay, I have had enough of these lies and false accusations about me. I'm going to prove that I am God almighty and stronger than all the other gods around. I'm going to set the record straight with regard to all those times that I allowed my people to be taken captive. The nations are going to realize that it wasn't their gods that defeated me back then, it was my choice. And how am I going to prove it? I'm going to reenact those times again. This time my people will keep my ordinances and statutes, and when the surrounding nations come against them, I will defeat them. As it is written, "Then the nations will know that I am the Lord," declares the Lord God, "when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight."
Did you catch that? In order for God to restore his name, he has to defeat the nations "in their sight." That is, not only will God defeat the other nations, but he will do so while Israel watches. He is going to gather Israel to the land, clean them up, cause them to finally be a holy nation and they he will bring the surrounding nations against them one more time. But this time, while Israel watches from the side lines, God is going to supernaturally defeat Israel's enemies. And in this way, God is going to prove to the OTHER NATIONS that he is Lord.
Of course, all of us believers know that God's name is holy. We all have come to respect God, love God trust God and etc. But God wants to prove himself to his enemies and clear up the record once and for all.