“Do Not Usurp The LORD’S Praise!”(Acts12:19-24).
The cricket was idling around when an ant took hold of its arm. Before long another ant took hold of another arm. It was not long and many ants had lifted up the cricket as they carried it home for food. Instead of trying to escape,the cricket, puffed by ego started giving orders, thinking that they wanted to make it king. And that is how the cricket became food for the ants.
The cricket is ten times the size of an ant; yet how come the ants killed the cricket?
The cricket died because of its pride and its love for praise and glorification.
Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God also mean that Caesar should not take what belongs to God – even if someone inadvertently forced it upon him.
When Joseph’s brothers knelt before him and asked for his forgiveness, he raised them up, telling them that he was not God. Joseph was in effect giving to God what belonged to God.
The human specie know that flattery puffs ego, so at every opportunity those who want something tend to flatter the person from whom they are expecting. This is not ruling out that there is well-intentioned genuine and deserving praise. But praise that equates you to God is poisonous.
If you accept such praise, you are believing it that you have become God.
Herod had been quarrelling with Tyre and Sidon, the leading cities of Phoenicia (present day Lebanon). These cities depended on the grainfields of Galilee for their food.
It is likely that due to the quarell Herod had cut their food supply as a leverage to bring them to submission. This action by itself was playing God!
A delegation from these cities came to sue for peace.
The appointed day to meet with Herod was the day of a festival Herod was celebrating in honour of Claudius Caesar.
On that fateful day Herod mounted the throne adorned in all the fineries of royalty and delivered a public address to the people. Such an address is responded to by thunderous applauses; with a majority not having heard what they were applauding the loudest.
The people, in their ululations of praise shouted, “This is the voice of a god and not of a man.”
People are free to flatter you with ululations that raises you to the rank of the gods, but the blame is yours when such flattery gets into your head and you accept it.
In the case of Herod we are told that because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the LORD struck him down and he was eaten by worms and died. Josephus, an ancient historian attests that Herod was carried out and he died five days later.
Herod died because the people acclaimed him a god and he didn’t deny it.
The big lesson here is, ‘Do not play God; because whom the gods want to destroy, they first raise to their ranks!
Learn to be humble, such that when people shower you with praise, always say, “To God be the glory!” The God who seats you on a throne is the same God to unseat you in due time.
Thrones and scepters will pass away but the word of God will continue to increase and spread.
Weekend prayer: Holy Spirit help me to know my limits and to give God the praise and honour which he alone deserves. Amen!
Have a blessed weekend! Peace be with you!
Prayer point: Pray for the humility of leaders.
Rev Babila Fochang.