Today’s chapter shows a statement that I once read from favorite author: “God’s power cannot be contested, His punishment cannot be avoided and His purposes cannot be frustrated.” As Hebrews 10:31 states “It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.” God has given each of us, at creation, a free will. This free will can be both a gift and a curse. God is very patient and full of Grace; but He is by no means a push over or naive. God has a desire that all come to repentance and He has made that way possible. Those who oppose it will all face the fate of their foolishness and some more abruptly than others. God had allow Herod much slack in his dealings with the early church, but friends, Herod picked the wrong fight in this chapter. No person in Christ is loved any less or more than the other, we as believers, were all destitute in our sins and saved by grace. But, that being said, God chooses people to His own liking for specific duties in carrying out and spreading His Gospel. Jesus told Peter that he would be the rock on which the church would be built upon. Jesus changed his name from Simon to Peter which is translated “little rock.” This could be looked at a “chip off the old block” in modern day terms. Jesus had decided, by way of the Father, to use Peter to reach the globe for His kingdom. This made Peter’s position of utmost importance. Notice that it is not the man that is important, but his position in Christ. When Satan used Herod to try and take Peter out of the picture he paid the price with his life. Herod also died in a very pitiful, disgusting way. I remember reading the writings of Josephus, a secular historian at the time of Christ. He mentions in his writings of this awful death of Herod.
God puts up with our running from Him, ignoring Him and not understanding Him to some extent. But when God’s chosen man, who is doing His will, is trifled with, God often takes serious measures to stop it. God could have given Herod a simple heart attack, but instead God made a statement; in essence he told the world, (in my own words) “Don’t be messin with my boy Peter.” The same way that He had made a statement with the Egyptian army that He had drowned in the Red sea. The nations surrounding Egypt knew not to mess with Israel. God was protecting the line of the coming Messiah. God’s love for Peter, or for the Israelites, was not what was being protected in either of these cases. Peter, the day after his death, was in better shape than he had ever been before. It would have been better for Peter to have died that day in regards to his own happiness, safety and security. God protected the position insomuch that myriads of people would hear the Gospel through him from generation to generation.
It is amazing to hear pastors talk about people who have fought against ministries and pastors in their churches. Many people were taken out in an untimely manner. Once again, I don’t believe that God was protecting the person, but the position. I have seen in my own ministry people who have befallen death when in outright opposition to the plans of God. I have also seen some become very ill. Now please don’t attribute every illness and accident to the wrath of God. He is not sitting on an ant hill in heaven with a magnifying glass seeing who to “zap” next. But it would be a wise thing for us all to think before we contest with the plan of God and the man of God. In acts chapter five Gamaiel, a pharisee that had trained Paul, was meeting with the religious leaders about those who followed Jesus, he told them that many before had come pretending to be someone, but they died and their uprising had stopped. He continued to warn them that if they pursued against the Apostles that they might be fighting God himself.
God had begun a new stage in the work of redeeming men to Himself. Satan had pulled out all of the stops in his plans in order that he may squash the Gospel. Once again, Satan may cause a havoc, but he can never stop the work. I hope that we will remember once again; the battle is rough, but the victory has been won.