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URC Daily Devotion Tuesday 13th September 2022

Tuesday 13 September 2022 
Acts 12: 20 – 24

 

Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon. So they came to him in a body; and after winning over Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, they asked for a reconciliation, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat on the platform, and delivered a public address to them.  The people kept shouting, ‘The voice of a god, and not of a mortal!’  And immediately, because he had not given the glory 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 advance and gain adherents.  Then after completing their mission Barnabas and Saul returned to Jerusalem and brought with them John, whose other name was Mark.

Reflection

Approaching Herod, known to be angry with them, would not have been an action which the people of the two ancient cities of Tyre and Sidon would have done lightly. We might imagine the conversations which would have gone on before they eventually made the decision that the threat of starvation was sufficiently overwhelming to convince them that they must seek reconciliation.

And so they made the journey.

Their first ‘off the record’ discussion with Blastus was a sensible and cautious tactic which resulted in an opportunity to meet with the king.

However Herod could not help himself, treating this encounter as an opportunity to show them who was ‘boss’. And the people of Tyre and Sidon, on the assumption that flattery will get you anywhere, cheered the speech in words which affirmed the notion that Herod was divine, a notion which was what many monarchs believed to be the case for them.

This self-aggrandisement was against God’s will and things did not end well for Herod.

But the passage ends with words that indicate that Herod, for all his power and fine robes was silenced whilst God’s word continued.

We may read this story as a warning to ourselves about exaggerating our status and increasing our power and we will find much on this theme in the gospels to challenge us day by day. But we may also read this passage and lament in our own day, the seeming lack of action on God’s part when it comes to those who take power to themselves perpetrating dreadful deeds along the way. In such situations it is hard to hang on to those final wards from the passage – ‘the word of God continued’ and we can only pray that that may indeed be so.

Prayer

As we watch in horror the actions of powerful people,
as we find our faith challenged by the ease
with which such people seem able to continue their dreadful deeds,
We pray for
all who are caught up in such situations
and for our own understanding of the hope embodied in Luke’s words
‘the word of God continued’

 Amen

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