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.
To understand the nature and meaning of man, we have to go back to man’s original blueprint: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’ . . . So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:26-27). God created man to image-forth and reflect His likeness.
That means man doesn’t exist for himself or even for others, but for God alone! Any other reason falls short of the true meaning and completely misses the goal. Therefore, to reject the reason for man’s existence—God—is to leave him utterly meaningless.
When we consider having been created in God’s image and after His likeness, we also have to consider all our natural abilities, including communication. Our communication is a reflection of God’s ability. When Jesus came to redeem us from our sins, He also came to redeem us from our sinful communication, making it God-honoring. That’s why Paul wrote: “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving” (Eph. 5:4). It’s meant to glorify Him!
What has that to do with today’s verse? Herod had delivered “an oration” to “the people of Tyre and Sidon.” As he spoke, “the people were shouting, ‘The voice of a god, and not of a man!’” (Acts 12:20-22). Instead of acknowledging God as the One who had given him the ability to superbly communicate, he gladly received the admiration and honor for himself.
That basically reflects what Paul wrote: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Rom. 1:21). As His creatures, we’re to acknowledge and honor Him, including for all our natural abilities.
Does Herod’s death seems too severe? Should we now be very careful to always give God the glory lest we be struck down? Herod’s lack of giving God the glory was a symptom of a major issue: man’s natural enmity against God. Instead of acknowledging and submitting to Him, man still seeks to “be like God” (Gen. 3:5). Herod’s death is a statement and reminder to all of us.
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The Devotional Writer
Author of “An Unfathomable Gift!“