Thoughts on the Way Home

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Bottom Line - The Death of Herod


"On an appointed day Herod, having put on his royal apparel, took his seat on the rostrum and began delivering an address to them. The people kept crying out, "The voice of a god and not of a man!" And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died. But the word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied." (Acts 12:21-24).

       While Herod's death won't find its way on television's "A 1000 Ways to Die," it does present a thousand ways to preach -- here are a few: First, pride has a way of rearranging where you fit into the food chain.  From Herod controlling the food intake for Tyre and Sidon (vs. 20) to becoming the food intake for worms is no coincidence.  Pride doesn't just come before a fall (Prov. 16:18), it determines the downward acceleration.  The greater the ego with power, the greater the humiliation with pain.  Just ask Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 4:28-33) about that law of physics.

       Second, God's math isn’t the same as ours -- multiplication of the word came through subtraction (vs. 2).  An angel sets Peter free, but doesn't stay the sword from James.  Why allow one apostle to die but miraculously deliver another?  Because each of us is appointed to not only die, but to die in such a way as to bring glory to God (Jn. 21:19).  Not only that, it caused a chain of events that leads to a greater output of His kingdom -- the word grew.  Tertullian, an early church father, said: "We multiply whenever we are mown down by you; the blood of Christians is the seed of the Church" (Piper,

       Thirdly, never underestimate the power of prayer.  The small house church praying with fervency (vs. 5) yet struggling with belief (vs. 15) caused the release of an Apostle, the death of four squads of soldiers, and a king.  Sometimes when we ask for a way through the wilderness God bulldozes a canyon down main street.  It's not the size of the voice but of the ear that determines outcome.

       In 1717 when France’s Louis XIV died, his body lay in a golden coffin.  He had called himself the "Sun King," and his court was the most magnificent in Europe.  To dramatize his greatness, he had given orders that during his funeral the cathedral would be dimly lit with only a special candle set above the coffin.  As thousands waited in hushed silence, Bishop Massilon began to speak.  Then slowly reaching down, he snuffed out the candle, saying, "Only God is great!"  A lesson Herod, and many like him today, never learned.

-Mark LaCour