What Messes We Produce For Ourselves!

And although he was grieved, the king commanded it to be given because of his oaths, and because of his dinner guests. Matthew 14:9 (NASB)

Sometimes we get ourselves into terrible situations because we realize the consequences of promises too late. The ruler Herod gave a party. He made a rash promise to his stepdaughter because her dance was so pleasing. He never thought about what she might ask for! The result: The stepdaughter asked for something he did not wish to give.

Instantly, he was in a horrible position. He could honor his promise and do what he did not wish to do. Or, he could admit his promise was foolish, reject her request, and produce unknown responses from his guests. What a horrible choice! After all, he was Herod! Because he was who he was, he should not have to make such hard choices!

Should he do a foolish thing and look "good," or should he humbly admit his mistake and look "bad?" Oh, our tragic decisions when we arrogantly try to look "good" to others!

Herodís dilemma was not an insignificant situation! Earlier he wished to kill John because John condemned him for marrying his brotherís wife. He did not kill John because such would irritate his subjects (Matthew 14:5). Now he had to humbly admit his mistake, or irritate the people he ruled. Have you noticed--even today--how frequently people tend to do anything to hide their personal foolishness?

How was Herod to know his stepdaughter would ask her motherís advice? Maybe he could kill John and postpone the inevitable by salvaging the immediate--he could "save face" now and take care of fallout later. Maybe time would produce some unseen good options. If so he could be arrogant now, preserve his reputation with his guests, kill John, and deal with the possible fallout later. Sound familiar?

Herodís fear was obvious. When he heard about Jesusí miracles, he said, "It must be the resurrected John!" (Matthew 14:2) Does that sound like a guilty conscience to you?

Do you think ahead or act foolishly? Does arrogance force you to live in hurtful pride?

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, Mar. 27, 2011


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