Last week’s reading took us on an incredible journey. We saw the very first time the term “Christian” was used to define a Christ follower happening in Antioch. We read about Peter’s miraculous escape from prison and certain death and watched as Paul and Barnabas went on their first missionary journey to plant churches. But the reading that I keep coming back to and thinking over is about the death of Herod in Acts 12.
Herod is on his throne wearing his royal robes, giving a speech. Nothing unusual about that, but then the passage goes on to say that “the people gave him a great ovation, shouting, ‘It’s the voice of a god, not of a man!’. Instantly, an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people’s worship instead of giving glory to God. So he was consumed with worms and died.” Herod accepted the people’s worship instead of giving it to the rightful owner of all worship, God.
In our reading in Acts so far, we’ve seen evidence of how strongly God feels about a few things, namely lying and when people elevate themselves to His level. Earlier in Acts we read about Ananias and Sapphira and how their lie cost them their lives. Now, Herod’s life is taken as well. God cares very much about how we represent ourselves as well as how we represent Him.
I’ve made a commitment to memorize 24 verses this year – 2 a month. I decided to work on a full chapter first and I chose Romans 12. It is full of the things that I really feel like God wants me to work on this year and I have loved taking these verses apart as I strive to commit them to memory. I’m in the process of working on Romans 12:3 which I think it why the passage about Herod hit me so hard. Romans 12:3 says “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Herod thought of himself more highly than he ought and if I’m honest, I can be guilty of that as well.
Every day I’m confronted with choices: do I elevate myself, or do I elevate and give glory to God? When I seek to elevate myself, I always sacrifice something. It could be that I sacrifice the truth; it could be that I sacrifice giving glory to God, or it could be that I miss the opportunity to lift someone else up. But God doesn’t want false humility in us – He wants us to be truly humble people who give all the glory to Him because He deserves it. This is not about putting myself down, it’s about doing what Romans 12:3 talks about – using sober judgment in evaluating myself, looking at myself in light of who God is and finding my proper place as His dearly loved child.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach