Scripture Reading:  Acts 12:20-25

“On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them.  And the people were shouting, ‘The voice of a god, and not of a man!’  Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.”  (Acts 12:21-23)

Herod Agrippa I was the grandson of Herod the Great, who ordered the death of the baby boys in Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth.  Agrippa’s father (Aristobulus) was executed after being found guilty of plotting against his father, Herod the Great.  When Agrippa was young, his mother sent him to Rome where he grew up.  Later he gained the Emperor’s favor and was made a king.  Herod Agrippa found it politically beneficial to persecute the early church.  He had James the brother of John executed and he had Peter imprisoned (12:1,2).

At the beginning of the chapter, Herod exercised his abusive power to persecute God’s people; but when we come to the end of the twelfth chapter of Acts, things changed in a dramatic way for Herod.  The Jewish historian, Josephus, wrote that Herod held games in Caesarea in honor of the Emperor.  The people of Sidon and Tyre wanted to regain Herod’s favor.  They did so by flattering him, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!”  But all of Herod’s pomp and power came to naught when an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory (v. 23).   He died a horrible death.

Herod is an example of the many human rulers who abuse power and authority.  However, we must remember that the Supreme Ruler watches and judges all human rulers.  God gives a severe warning to earthly kings and rulers:  “Now therefore O kings, show discernment; take warning, O judges of the earth.  Worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling.  Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish in the way.  For HIs wrath may soon be kindled.  How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” (Psalm 2:10-12).

Lord Jesus, You are the one true Sovereign Ruler over all.  I pray for our human leaders.  May they do homage to You, the Son, and give You the glory that You rightly deserve.


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