Day 69: Naturalism, Oppression and Wrath

Acts 12:18-23 :

Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers about what had become of Peter. When Herod had sought for him, and didn’t find him, he examined the guards, and commanded that they should be put to death. He went down from Judea to Caesarea, and stayed there. Now Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon. They came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus, the king’s personal aide, their friend, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. On an appointed day, Herod dressed himself in royal clothing, sat on the throne, and gave a speech to them. The people shouted, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he didn’t give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died.

After posting a sixteen guard watch on a single man, you can imagine how angry Herod must have been. If you have ever worked for an unreasonable boss, you can probably understand the feelings that the guards must have felt. Herod’s family wasn’t known for their kindness. Remember, Jesus Himself was hidden from an earlier leader in that family because he had all of the children in Bethlehem killed that were His age. It was a Herod who killed John the Baptist. The guards were probably scared to death when they woke up and found Peter gone.

It isn’t unusual for an evil leader to challenge God. When God took Peter away, Herod questioned the soldiers and then killed them. That is pretty good evidence that the miracle actually occurred. Usually, when faced with death, the real guilty person is revealed. Herod appears to have believed that a miracle wasn’t possible. Today, we call that kind of belief Naturalism. He appeared to believe that there was no God who could possibly have interfered with the guards. Notice, that when a person believes in naturalism, people can be made guilty in court for things that they didn’t do. This is because a naturalist will not accept evidence that defies their belief system. We see this same thing happening against Christians today.

In this case, Herod decided to make himself out to be a god. Isn’t it interesting that Herod died in a supernatural way? This illustrates God’s kind of jealousy. He doesn’t want anyone to take His glory. If someone tries, they may end up like Herod. This also makes it clear that any leader who is praised as the Messiah and doesn’t deny it is clearly wrong and under God’s judgment. We can also understand what God must think about Humanism because it attempts to make humanity a replacement for God. It is very likely that this philosophy is directly responsible for many of the problems that our world faces today.