When we think about the particular Herod in the Christmas story (there are several Herods in the Bible!), words come to mind like: evil, deceptive, cruel and self-seeking.
Herod’s power was threatened by Jesus, and he was so consumed with his own authority, he decided to do whatever it took to eliminate the threat. Herod’s addiction to worldly power drove him to becoming a mass murderer.
Herod may be an extreme case, but the lesson for us remains:
The desire to make a name for ourselves can lead us to sin we didn’t know we were capable of committing.
Our opportunities to bring God glory often require us to make decisions that go against the popular choice or the expected path.
Ambition isn’t always bad, but if our ambition is for our own glory, we are likely to find ourselves entangled in a life of compromise and sin.
Worldly power does not provide lasting peace or security.
Herod spent his entire career in power looking over his shoulder, expecting to be overthrown, because he knew he wasn’t leading faithfully from the heart.
He couldn’t escape his own deceit or his own deception.
God is our only guarantee of lasting peace, contentment, and security. No other counterfeit solution will do.
We have to take our sin seriously.
Too often, we take our need for approval too lightly. We think because it’s a problem that a lot of people struggle with, it’s not that serious.
But sin is sin, and sin is always serious because sin separates us from God. And when sin is left unaddressed, it can escalate quickly.
We can’t dismiss our sin as something that is “just this once” or “not that big of a deal.” Because if we do, we’re likely to do it again… and each time, it usually progresses in the amount of damage done - to our own lives, to the lives of others, and to the cause of Christ.
God, forgive me for the times I seek the approval of others. Every time, even if I gain the approval of others, it doesn’t satisfy me. You are the only One who can satisfy my soul. Keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. Help me to take my sin seriously. Convict me and bring me back in line with You quickly. I love You. Amen.