On Politics, Kings, and Death Angels
“…Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there a while. He had been quarreling with the people of Tyre and Sidon; they now joined together and sought an audience with him. Having secured 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. On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” 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. But the word of God continued to increase and spread…“ (Acts 12:19-25, NIV)
Luke, who wrote Acts, was a historian who liked to give his readers context for what they were reading. Here he gives an interesting “aside” really not related much (at first glance) to the spread of Christianity and the growth of the Church. But it is Scripture, superintended by the Holy Spirit who inspired him, for OUR edification. A couple of points…
Lesson 1: If I were to ever have another son, I think I might name him Blastus…what a cool name…like a super hero!
Lesson 2: Who says’ God’s not interested in politics? The Bible’s filled with politics and political intrigue. A lie has been foisted upon the church in this country that we should remove ourselves from the concerns of the world. We should only be concerned about spiritual kingdoms…not worldly ones. Well, if you happened to live in Tyre or Sidon, and wanted to eat, I think this was a pretty important issue. “If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will always be secure.“ (Proverbs 29:14, NIV)
Lesson 3: People can be sycophants…they will always try to flatter leaders to get what they want. Who knows if they believed Herod was a god or not? My guess is they didn’t really believe their slogan, they were just saying that so Herod would decide their way. “A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.“ (Proverbs 26:28, NIV)
Lesson 4: It’s easy for leaders to start believing their own press releases…or the praises of their toadies…to their own destructive ends (Wonder if today’s secret service folks are trained to deal with Death Angels?!) “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.“ (Proverbs 16:18, NIV)
Lesson 5: This is the most important lesson of them all. God’s Kingdom will continue to expand: under good administrations, under bad administrations, in the times of national crises, or in times of prosperity. If we will remain about the Father’s work, the word of God will continue to increase and spread. “Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.“ (Isaiah 9:7, NIV)