Friday, April 19, 2013

The Pride of Herod. . .

Often times in the Bible, for godly men and women, names are significant and meaningful, many times even prophetic. In the case of Herod, it is a cynical, sarcastic, scornful, and laughable naming. . . for the name Herod means:

Compound of ἥρως hērōs (a “hero”) and eidos (a view), that is, form (literally or figuratively): - appearance, fashion, shape, sight. So combined, the view or appearance or form or shape of a hero. . . heroic.
(Adapted from Strong’s Greek Dictionary)

Yes. . . how heroic Herod was. . .

Matthew 2:16
Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.

No hero. Herod had no appearance of a brave and honorable man. He was the very opposite of a hero. Baby killing Herod was a pitiful excuse for a man. The words of the Bible are often very sparse and economical, not a lot of decoration, not much detail, the foundation and girders of the events, without decorations or furnishings. It pays to read the Bible slowly, and thoughtfully, else you might miss much due to the Spartan nature of the writing, but take notice of the pain and horror hidden within this one sentence.

If this were a contemporary happening, books would undoubtedly have been written of this event. A three hour long television documentary or maybe even a mini-series would have been produced. . . a museum built with pictures and artifacts. . . containing recordings of interviews with witnesses. . . tear stained pictures of grieving mothers and fathers. . .testimonies of siblings. . . a memorial would be erected in the town square to help remember that day. . . with teddy bears, and candles, and flowers, but the dust of centuries has covered this day, and all that remains of of this first century holocaust, is one sparse sentence in the Bible. . .

Herod’s anger arose when his pride was hurt. He realized that he had been deceived by the wise men The way it is stated, it almost seems that his reaction was spurred on by this initial anger at the wise men escaping his trap.

Matthew 2:7-8
Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. (8) And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

No brave hero this king Herod, but fearful of babies, in these two verses he proves himself a liar. Rather than wishing to worship the baby Jesus, Herod wished to sacrifice Him on the altar of Herod’s unholy pride.

Nothing bothers the deceitful, quite as much as being deceived themselves. I’m sure it hurt Herod’s pride greatly. . . the scammer being scammed. . .The manipulator being manipulated and played for a fool. A deep and public wound of the pride for any man will often cause great anguish and a desire for revenge.

The logic of Herod’s reaction, seems to come almost as an afterthought: “when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, [he] was exceeding wroth” The wise men escaped his ploy and Herod was furious. . . and additionally he felt threatened by the birth of a baby in Bethlehem. . .

No cost was too high, he somehow justified in his mind the killing of an entire town's 2 year old sons, and indeed the surrounding area’s male children to protect his rule from a threat that was decades away. His love of power was so strong, that it completely corrupted Herod’s soul.

He feared that which was of no threat. Every man judges others by his own heart. Jesus was no threat to Herod. . . Jesus kingdom was not of this world, but Herod saw a mere baby as a threat to his power. . .

Proverbs 28:1
The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.

The poor mothers of Bethlehem who very likely saw their children killed in front of their own eyes. The searing pain. . . the blackness of that bloody scene. . .the screams of the children wrenched from their mothers. . . the wailing and tears. . . the horror of the mothers. . . the helpless anguish, the impotent rage of the fathers, standing by as armed soldiers invaded their homes and killed their children. . . the spiritual corruption of Herod, and of the soldiers who carried out his command.

And it availed nothing for him. . . It preserved him not. . .

Matthew 2:19-20
But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, (20) Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life.

Mothers and sons. . . paying the price for the corrupt heart of a power mad king. All men have prideful hearts, but a king with pride, combined with power, and blackness of heart. . .the resulting evil knows no bounds.

When our pride is hurt, our natural response is to want to hurt in return, but firstly being restrained by the fear of the consequences of our actions, and secondly not being powerful, we would have to exact the retribution ourselves. Whereas a king has no such limits.

What repercussions would a king face? A king does not have to do the dirty work himself. He has underlings, whom he may command to bloody their hands. . . Oh the seductions of power. The self-justification. . . only hearing affirmation, never hearing criticism. . .the distorted view of self. . .

A king can act upon his hurt pride, and we are surely not able to act in the same manner, and to the same degree as a king, but are not the desires and inclinations of our hurt pride the same as Herod’s by the measure of Jesus? Herod’s actions were magnified by his power, but in its origins, and in its flavor, how does my hurt pride differ from his?

Do you think yourself different from Herod? I encourage you to read of the Stanford Prison experiment. In 1971, members of the psychology department of Stanford University conducted an experiment, where they selected 18 student, who appeared to not have any great psychological disturbances. . . who appeared to be normal college students. These students were divided into (2) groups of (9) guards, and (9) prisoners. The setting was constructed to be very similar to a prison setting. The experiment was intended to last for two weeks, but had to be terminated after only six days, when the guards began behaving very sadistically, and the prisoners became greatly depressed, and stressed by the conditions.

Here is the web site documenting the study:

http://www.prisonexp.org/

These were ordinary college students put into positions of authority, with opportunity to exert their will over their fellow man. They were not evil beasts, deranged by some sinister spirit. . . such as we might, for example, look upon the guards in Nazi concentration camps. These were college students given uniforms, and authority, who very quickly began to act in evil ways. . .

Do you think that you are different than Herod, or these students, or concentration camp prison guards? It is the evil intent present in every heart, fertilized by power, and watered by opportunity to express itself that brings these things forth, that allows the dark seeds of evil to sprout out of the common heart. . . not out of some deranged beast in human form. . . but out of the evil dark thoughts and desires of our own hearts, are these things born.

Jesus was clear. . .

Mat 5:21-22 & 27-28
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: (22) But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

. . .(27) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: (28) But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

According to Jesus, intent has as much weight as action. If our hearts are prideful, and wanting to strike back to hurt when hurt. . . we should take no pride that we have not murdered children. . . we should be worried in that the same pride and darkness found in Herod’s heart, is found in our hearts as well. . .

Romans 12:1-3
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (3) For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Paul then goes on in the following verses, to attack the pride found in the church. . .It is this pride within our hearts which leads to every kind of evil thought and action.

Matthew 18:4
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 23:12
And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

James 4:6
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

James 4:10
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

1Peter 5:5
Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

1Peter 5:6
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

The pride of Herod, is really the pride of a man given a king’s power, and ego, and authority. Do not hate Herod. . . pity him, and fear for yourself, for within your own heart resides the pride of Herod.

Be vigilant against pride rising up in your own heart. . .
Be vigilant in being justified in your own eyes. . .
Be vigilant against fearing the rise and favor of another. . .
Be vigilant against thinking yourself special or privileged. . .

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up. . .
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up. . .
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up. . .

I love you my God. . .
Help me Lord. . .
Let your Spirit rule in my heart. . .
Let your Spirit rule in my life. . .

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