“Therefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, ‘Give me John the Baptist’s head here on a platter.’ And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her.” (Matthew 14:7-9 NKJV)
Herod had a love/hate relationship with John. He was fascinated by his preaching, but Herod sure didn’t like the part where condemned Herod. He arrested John and put him in prison, He wanted to execute John, and he wanted to listen to John. So John languished in prison because Herod wasn’t sure what to do with him. Then, people threw a birthday party for him and his daughter danced for the crowd. Herod was so delighted, he offered his daughter pretty much whatever she wanted. Her mom hated John because his preaching called Herod out because he had married her. She wanted him dead and her daughter did the dirty deed for her: her request was for John the Baptist’s head on a platter. Herod had backed himself into a corner. He could either renege on his promise and tell her no, or he could kill John, which he knew was wrong. Because he’d made his offer in front of the whole crowd and he didn’t want to lose face by backing down, John was executed. If you need a good lesson on being careful what you promise others, this is it. Herod’s rash promise led to John’s death.
Did you ever make a promise you regretted? Ever give your word only to see it backfire on you? Jesus, in another situation gave a great example of how we should respond to open-ended requests that could leave you in a bind. He was asked to do a favor. You know that old question, “Hey, will you do me a favor?” The quick response is “sure.” Jesus’s response was “Tell me what you want first.” (paraphrased) Your word is so valuable because it represents your reputation. Don’t treat it lightly. Don’t give it away without thoughtful reflection. While you’re reflecting, remember that you can always share God’s love with others which is far more important than even your reputation.
Lord, give me wisdom in dealing with others. Help me to be patient when people ask for my word. May I focus on Your desires, not mine, and not the other persons. Empower me so that I’ll be willing and able to share Your word with others through all I do.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.