April 29

Text: Matthew 14:6-9

But when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod. Thereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked.  And having been prompted by her mother, she *said, "Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist."  And although he was grieved, the king commanded it to be given because of his oaths, and because of his dinner guests. (NASB)

Today is a fascinating combination of motives.  It combines Herodís interest in Herod, the physical pleasures of people, the foolishness of a thoughtless promise, the bond between a daughter and her mother, the determination of hatred, and the power of arrogance.  Evil loves complex dilemmas!

Evil used a birthday to create a dilemma!  (1) Herod the tetrarch already had decided it was in his best interest to let John live.  In his wildest dream he never would have connected his birthday party with Johnís death!  When Herod was grieved, he was not grieved for John, but for Herod!  Things were not happening as he planned.  (2) He and his guests were thrilled with the dance!  Herod was elated!  An indication of his elation was his promise.  (3) In the promise one sees one of the ways many men and many women think differently.  He thought land and power.  She thought relationship with mother who thought, ďTime to get revenge!Ē  (4) Note the mother did not consider it significant that Herodís loss of power would affect her also.  That may be an indication that she was not satisfied with Herodís reasoning.  (5) Herodís thoughtless oath placed him in a dilemma.  He could save his reputation or he could preserve his position as ruleróhe could not do both!  As often is the case with arrogance, vanity was more powerful than sound judgment.   To honor his oath and look good to his guests, he killed John.

Wonder what impact on his marriage this incident had?  Wonder how he regarded Herodias and her daughter in the future?  Wonder if he ever thought about the price of destructive pride?  Wonder if Herod learned any lessons at all?

Never underestimate the cunning of evil nor the power of hatred!

Suggestion for reflection: When do you do thoughtless things for foolish reasons?  (Read Luke 12:16-21.)

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