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Herod’s Pride Is An Enemy Of God

Pride is an enemy of God because it hinders man from seeking after God. It takes God’s glory and keep it for itself. God alone deserves our worship and the acknowledgement of everything we have accomplished. Nevertheless, we should acknowledge the difference between the pride that one experiences when he has accomplished a well-done task or someone close to him. And the pride that God hates. Herod is a perfect example of one who lives for himself instead of for the glory of God. His story reminds us that no earthly authority can match the power of God.

Herod’s pride eventually caused his down fall and reminds us of Proverbs 16:19-19, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. ” Let’s pick up from where we left off last Sunday. First I want us to look at God’s sovereignty over the opposition of His church. 1. God’s sovereignty over the opposition of His church (V:20-23). Last week we ended with the disappointment and failed attempt by Herod to execute Peter after he had him locked up for a week. Luke tells us that an angel of the Lord appeared and released Peter from Prison even though he was kept under maximum security. Herod sent out a search for Peter with no success.

As a result, Herod left Judea for Caesarea. Caesarea was the seat of government V:20, The account we are about to read happened about a year after Herod imprisoned Peter, but Luke connects the two to show us the sovereignty of God over the opposition of His church. The people of Tyre and Sidon(show map) depended on Judea for food. This need goes back to the Old Testament times as seen in Ezra 3:7. However, the people in these two cities in some unknown ways displeased Herod and he became angry with them and withheld their food supply. They were in a time of famine and wanted to make peace with the king.

Therefore, they spoke to Blastus, a trusted personal servant of the king to speak on their behalf to make peace with Herod. (Reminds me of a time when I had gotten in trouble as a boy and had to take the priest with me to speak to my aunt on my behalf and it worked. ) I cannot help but notice the contrast between the action of the believers when Peter was incarcerated and their action when faced with a need for food. The believers used the only means they had, they approached the throne of God in prayer but the people of Tyre and Sidon approached a personal servant of Herod to speak on their behalf.

When you are faced with a crisis, who do you approached? Yes, God may open the door for you to approach someone of influence but always remember, “When you can’t do anything else, pray. When you can do something else, pray first. ” V:21-22, Blastus, got through to Herod and convince him to meet with the people from Tyre and Sidon. The Jewish historian Josephus gives an account of this incident with Herod. It took place in the theatre in Caesarea. (Show pictures) According to Josephus, this incident took place during the seventh year of the reign of Herod Agrippa.

The festival was held to honor Caesar, and on the second day, Josephus says, Herod put on a truly wonderful garment made of silver, and came into the theatre early in the morning, at which time the silver of his garment being illuminated by the fresh reflection of a sun’s rays upon it, shone out after a surprising manner, and was resplendent as to spread a horror over those that looked intently upon him; and presently his flatterers cried out, one from one place and another from another, that he was a god; and they added, “Be thou merciful to us; for although we have hitherto reverenced thee only as a man, yet shall we henceforth own thee as superior to mortal nature. ” Neither Luke nor Josephus told us what Herod said in his speech, but to impress the people he made a stunning speech and unfortunately, Herod did not rebuke or denied the blasphemous flattery of the people. He loved it!

But listen to this, Josephus said, he looked up and saw an owl sitting on a certain rope over his head, and immediately, understood that this bird was the messenger of ill tidings as it has once been the messenger of good tidings to him. Prior to this incident, Herod was imprisoned in Rome, an owl appeared to him in a vision and a fellow prison told him it was sign of good luck for him. That proved to have been true because Herod was eventually released and became king of the Jews. However, the same prison told him the next time he sees an owl, it would die within five days. V:23, Listen to Josephus account; A severe pain arose in his belly, and he began in a most violent manner.

His pain began to become violent and he was carried into the palace and the rumor went abroad everywhere, that he would certainly die in a little time. When he was worn out by the pain in his belly for five days, he departed this life, being in his fifty-fourth year of age. What was this pain he was having in his belly? Luke says he was being eaten by worms. His pride brought him down. The audience played on his ego and he allowed it to get the better of him and he loved every minute of it. Luke gives the impression that Herod had the opportunity to deny the people for their blasphemous worship, verse 23 says, “The people kept crying out, The voice of a god and not of a man! He failed to give to God what belongs to him and kept it for himself.

The Lord says in Isaiah 42:8, “I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another. ” Do you know what is ironic about this incident? Back in the days of Ezekiel, the king of Tyre attempted to see himself as a god and God warned him through the Ezekiel that his insolence would lead to his sudden death. That’s the Scripture Gary read for us this morning. The believers saw his death as a divine revenge for what they suffered under his leadership. God executed His judgment on the enemy of His church. Notice the interesting turn of events, instead of Herod killing God’s servant Peter, Peter’s God killed Herod.

The angel of the Lord struck Peter and he woke up, the angel of the Lord struck Herod and he died. Herod went too far in testing the patience of God. He failed to accept the deliverance of Peter from his wicked hand. Instead he crossed the line in the sand between God’s mercy and his judgment. We can’t help but see the mercy and judgment of God at work in the lives of both Peter and Herod. God will grant mercy to those who trust in Him but he will not hesitate to pass judgment on those who have no place for Him. Yes my friends, our God is a God of mercy but never forget He is also a God of judgment. He has total control over the enemies of His church and no authority on the face of the earth can thwart His plan for His church.

Not only does God have control over His enemies of His church but He has control over the outreach of His church. 2. God’s sovereignty over the outreach of His church (V:24-25). God watches over His church and execute His plan even when opposition seems to stand in her way. God removed Herod from the scene and Luke reports gives his last report of the Jerusalem church. The Word of the Lord continued to grow and be multiplied. We see clearly the ineffective attempts of opposition and persecution to slow or diminish the spread of the Gospel. The church of Jesus Christ is alive and well and will remain alive and well until Jesus comes back for Hs bride.

This is gives me comfort knowing that no matter what is said about God’s church, or what is done to God’s people, no weapon formed against His church will prosper. God is preparing His church as the bride for His Son and one day, Jesus will return to claim His bride. Nations and kingdoms will rise and fall, but the church of Jesus Christ will stand the test of time and endure through every opposition and persecution. Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. ” No one can fight against God and His work. You would always lose. At the beginning of Acts 12, it looked like Herod was in control and the church was losing the battle. But at the end of the chapter, Herod was dead and the church was very much alive and growing rapidly!

V:25, The chapter closes with Barnabas, Saul and Mark returning from Jerusalem to Antioch after delivering the famine relief money with the elders at Jerusalem It is from Antioch as we will see in chapter 13 that the message of the gospel will go out to the ends of the world. Luke showed us how the gospel spread throughout Judea and Samaria and will now show us how it spreads to the ends of the earth. God is sovereign over the opposition of His church and over the outreach of His church! God is sovereign over the details of the lives of His people and this should give us peace through the challenges of life. There are some lessons we can learn from these ancient history stories because man has not changed his heart is still corrupt. 1. Never flatter anyone in order to meet your needs.

Think about it, the people of Tyre and Sidon were concerned about food for their family and depended on Herod to supply them with food and they were willing to flatter the king by calling him a god to get their needs met. How far are we willing to go to need our needs? What are you willing to say and what are you willing to do to meet your needs? 2. Never fail to acknowledge the work of God in your life.

We all like to receive praise and there is nothing wrong to receive praise the Bible say, let another praise you and not your lips, but when we fail to give God the glory, we fail to recognize that all we are and all we have come from Him and we take what belongs to Him and keep for ourselves. When someone compliments you for a job well done never forget to give the glory to God. 3. Never fail to approach the throne in heaven when in crises.

When we find ourselves in crises, we may not have someone to pull string for us but always remember we have direct access to the throne of heaven and an invitation to always approach the throne with our needs. The throne in heaven is always greater than any throne on earth. 4. Never forget to serve the Lord faithfully and leave your enemies in the hands of God. The church is called to be faithful and God will bring the success.

Pride is a stumbling block for many people who have failed to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Many people refuse to surrender their lives to Jesus because they are not willing to admit their sin and ask Jesus to forgive them. To live without Jesus is to say I can manage and I do not need Jesus and that is the worst pride a man can exhibit and that will lead to his eternal demise.

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