Acts 12; Joshua 15-17; Job 28
You would think that a king could be above political maneuvering, wouldn’t you? Herod, however, was a master political maneuverer. He had to keep peace with the Jews so that the Romans wouldn’t displace him. He had spent years and great sums of money rebuilding the Temple to please the Jews. They still weren’t happy. He looked around for other ways to maintain his puppet kingship. “Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also.” (Acts 12:1-3) When he discovered that hassling Christians made the Jewish leaders happy, he killed James. Noting their pleasure in the death of James, he went after Peter. He put Peter under a heavy guard to keep him until after Passover. Then God intervened. He rescued Peter miraculously. Herod tried to find out what happened, couldn’t discover the real truth, put the guards to death and went to speak to another rebellious group. These people were ready to make peace and poured on the flattery equating Herod with a god. Herod accepted their flattery as truth. He didn’t acknowledge God. It was politically expedient for him to accept the praise. That, or a gigantic ego, perhaps. Herod’s death was particularly awful. In his quest for power and political rule he rejected God and the price he paid was his life. In the United States we are too often willing to support candidates for office not on the basis of how they honor God, but on the basis of how they can work the system. As politicians get their ego stroked by us, they find it politically expedient to listen to every voice except for those speaking for God. We must speak boldly for God’s ways and seek out justice and righteousness in the political system. We must never compromise what is right for the purpose of political expediency.
Lord, we thank You for the privilege of living in this country where You placed us. Remind us to pray for the leaders that You have set over us. We pray that You would give them knowledge of Your presence and an understanding of justice and righteousness. Give us, and them, a sense of Your purpose.