Message: In Acts 12 persecution of the church
continued as King Herod sought the praise and approval of the Jews. He had
James killed and when he saw that this pleased them he had Peter thrown in
prison. He was set for execution as well but since it was Passover week he was
held in prison with special guards set up until the day he was to be executed.
God intervened the night before he was supposed to be executed by sending an
angel to release Peter. It was done in such a powerful and unexpected way that
Peter thought he was seeing a vision, the church that was praying didn’t expect
it and the explanation could only be credited to God. When Herod couldn’t find
Peter he had his own guards interrogated and executed. Herod left from there to
make another public appearance and the people equated him to a god. God killed Herod
shortly after this since he allowed this and took glory for himself that
belongs only to God. There are so many things to be drawn from this story but I
kept refocusing on the fact that Herod was a people pleaser. He craved the approval
of people to the point of destruction and eventually his own death.
Command: Don’t allow a desire for man’s
approval to take the driver’s seat.
Promise: Our approval comes from God and is never
Warning: Our craving for approval is
destructive and never satisfied.
Application: We all want to be accepted, but this
story shows how King Herod Agrippa was so driven for approval that he caused
destruction all around him just to get it. Interesting enough, he was the king
and didn’t need the approval of the people in order to have power. He craved
the approval of the people and his appetite for approval caused him to abuse
his position of power by having people killed. His appetite wasn’t satisfied
after he had James killed. He continued his pursuit until God shut him down.
Most of us probably can’t relate to king Herod’s brutality but we can all
relate to a desire for approval. This is something God has really had to work
out of me over the years because I recognized that even though some of the things
I did for approval appeared to be good, the motivation was for approval more
than it was to be helpful. We will never satisfy this craving for approval as
long as we continue chasing after it. We weren’t meant to be fulfilled this way
and as long as we chase after it will we destroy ourselves and those around us
in our manipulations to get it. This doesn’t mean we should stop doing good
things (or bad things if we’re the rebellious type of approval junkies)- it
means we have to pay attention to our motivations. My challenge to myself is to
question my motivations when I do things for others and try doing good things
anonymously in order to starve that craving and still be helpful.