Have you ever wondered what that gruesome scene must have looked like in Acts 12? Verse 23 said this about the death of King Herod: “Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.” Eaten by worms! Gross!
It was a gruesome death. Proud King Herod thought he was tough stuff. He sought self-glory rather than giving God the glory. He tried to win the approval of man by opposing the church of Jesus Christ. He killed James the Apostle and tried to kill Peter.
And proud, powerful Herod stepped over a line. God had had enough and sent his angel who inflicted King Herod with tapeworms (or something similar). According to Jewish historian, Josephus, within 5 days Herod was dead.
Meanwhile, “the Word of God increased and multiplied” (Acts 12:24). God’s mission is UNSTOPPABLE. Proud people, on the other hand, are quite stoppable.
So, why be afraid as we carry His mission forward? How did Martin Luther say it?
“And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God hath willed
his truth to triumph through us.”
1. Humility: why does God find such offense in man’s pride? What’s so bad about pride?
2. Hope: what might be some lessons from this passage to help us not respond to fear when we become aware of opposers of the gospel, whether it’s militant opposition from Islam, ridicule opposition from the entertainment world, or even personal opposition in daily life?
3. Consider taking some time to praise God for his omnipotent, sovereign commitment to see his gospel go forward. Pray for God’s grace that we might be willing to not hide in fear when we see opposition.