Acts 12:19b-25: Glory to God.
“19 After Herod had a thorough search made for him and did not find him, he cross-examined the guards and ordered that they be executed. Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there. 20 He had been quarrelling with the people of Tyre and Sidon; they now joined together and sought an audience with him. After securing the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of the king, they asked for peace, because they depended on the king’s country for their food supply. 21 On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. 22 They shouted, ‘This is the voice of a god, not of a man.’ 23 Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died. 24 But the word of God continued to spread and flourish. 25 When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from Jerusalem, taking with them John, also called Mark.” NIV UK
As a man was leaving church one Sunday morning he said to his pastor, ‘That was a great word today.’ ‘I know,’ replied the pastor, ‘the devil told me as I was stepping down from the pulpit!’ Of course there is a place for genuine encouragement. You are often helped by its expression when you minister in public. You can feel so vulnerable, and kind words can be timely and mean a lot. But, as a preacher, for example, you would do well to remember this story every time you speak, and especially when people pour out bucketfuls of compliments on your head. Not everyone who praises you has been deeply impacted by the word, and others who say nothing may be having a life-transforming experience. Learn from Herod, and give God all the glory. Herod was very far from being a Christian, and he certainly was no preacher, but there is a principle here whose application is obvious, I believe. Pass the praise on to Jesus. Give it to Him. Say, ‘This is not mine, Lord, but yours.’ I was reading only recently that John Stott’s life-long habit was to distance himself from people’s good opinion of him. There is wisdom in that, and it must have taken great self-discipline for someone who was so highly esteemed.
What matters ultimately is that ‘’the word of God’’ should continue ‘’to spread and flourish’’ (24). It’s not about our reputations; our little names. We can assert that God’s Word will endure long after the world’s petty Herod’s have been removed from the scene. Jesus’ church will grow; His Kingdom will spread; His Name will be held in high honour. To Him be all the glory!
PRAYER: Help me to live entirely to your praise and glory Lord.