As the ruler over Galilee, Herod was feared and honored by the public.
With respect to God’s kingdom, he received no respect at all. In fact, Jesus refused to talk with him.
“He [Herod] questioned him at some length, but Jesus gave him no answer” (Luke 23.9).
Jesus put in perspective the value we entrust with earthly leaders.
The Bible reveals the evil behind powerful people in the world’s system.
The Example of Herod
Three short verses reveal the evil nature of Herod.
— Luke 9.7-9 – Now Herod the ruler heard about all that had taken place, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead,
By some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the ancient prophets had arisen.
Herod said, “John I beheaded; but who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he tried to see him.
Jesus called John the Baptist the greatest man who had ever been born (Luke 7.28).
Herod believed that he had the right to take the life of this man of God.
God gave the commandment, “You shall not kill” (Exodus 20.13), because God alone has the power over life and death.
Herod may have had religious curiosity, but he was without faith and an enemy of God’s purposes. He believed he could kill the prophet over a difference in opinion.
World Leaders and the World’s System
The Bible teaches that “the whole world lies under the power of the evil one” (1 John 5.19).
Paul describes people who refuse God’s grace with these words:
“[They are] following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient” (Ephesians 2.2).
When the devil offered Jesus the power and authority over the earth he said, “It has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please” (Luke 4.6).
This is why Jesus did not pray for the world’s system.
In the High Priestly prayer he said, “I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours” (John 17.9).
God obviously loves the people of the world (John 3.16), but the world’s system is not loved. It is to be replaced by the new heaven and new earth.
A Careful Appraisal
God challenged my thinking about leaders when Rudy Ross and I did a study of Isaiah last year.
Isaiah was only able to see God’s majesty when a well loved king died.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple (Isaiah 6.1).
Before Isaiah could be used by the Lord, his focus needed to shift from Uzziah to the King of all kings.
What I learned from Isaiah is that no matter how good a leader is, God must absolutely be supreme.
God will not share his glory with an idol. An idol is anything we substitute for God, including earthly leaders.
Even great leaders like Uzziah can be an obstacle if we put our trust in them rather than in God.
Herod is one of the worst examples of a leader and Uzziah is one of the best. Both of them operate within the confines of the world’s system that is ruled by the evil one.
We need to be aware that God’s kingdom is the most important reality of all. Our role is to be the best citizen we can be in God’s kingdom.
The earthly kingdom of government, business, and entertainment gets an overwhelming amount of interest. We must not be seduced to give our ultimate allegiance to the world’s system.
Let’s determine to be like Isaiah and trust the Lord in every aspect of our lives.
In today’s YouTube video, Rudy answers a question about Isaiah 17 and Ezekiel 38. After his explanation, we discuss today’s passage.
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