The Word's Christian Fellowship, Inc.

#104 Worm Food Explained!                                                                                February 2, 2014

 

Acts 12:1  Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.
2  And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
3  And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)
4  And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.

This very evil ruler, Herod, made the deliberate decision to “vex certain of the church”.  The “certain” he wanted to “vex” were the top leadership in the first-century Church.  Having made that very diabolical decision, he had James, who was chosen as an apostle by the Lord Jesus Christ, murdered by execution.  Then he had Peter, who was also an apostle chosen by the Lord Jesus Christ, tracked down, arrested and put on death row to wait for a mock trial and execution “after Easter”.  What had the Church done to Herod?  Nothing.  What had James and Peter done to Herod? Nothing. What had God and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, done to Herod?  Nothing.  The insane hatred and vengeance Herod was driven by in these actions is beyond the understanding of most of us, isn’t it?

Acts 12:5  Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

Although what follows verse 5 is the wonderful record of God’s deliverance of Peter, for the sake of the point of this writing, let’s skip down to verse 20.

Acts 12:20  And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king's chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king's country.
21  And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them.
22  And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.
23  And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost [emphasis added by underlining].

Everything is fine with our understanding until we get to verse 23 where it says, “And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory”.  That simply does not make any sense, does it?  Let’s see now:
1. Herod makes the diabolical decision to “vex certain of the church”. 
2. Herod murders the Apostle James. 
3. Herod imprisons the Apostle Peter with a view to murdering him as well. 
All that’s okay. 
But - when Herod makes a little speech and doesn’t glorify God when those listening shout, “It is the voice of a god, and not of a man”, well - that’s just simply going too far.  God is not going to put up with that kind of thing. No sirree!!!
Is that really what God in His Word wants us to understand here?  Does God actually want us to understand here in the context that it is okay to murder His men and imprison them, but if you get an ovation for your oratory skills and talents and don’t glorify Him, you’re worm food?  Of course it isn’t. 

The phrase, “because he gave not God the glory”, is a figure of speech.  It’s a class of the figure of speech irony called sarcasm.  All of us have probably used it but it is difficult for most people, including believers, to think that God would say something in a sarcastic way.  But that’s exactly what He does here.  With sarcasm, He understates ALL the diabolical evil of Herod in this entire chapter, and in so doing, ridicules Herod in a very taunting way, doesn‘t He?

Hey, speaking of sarcasm, I trust the understanding of this verse will free the endless parade of performers, politicians and professional athletes from the fear, that if they don’t say something to seemingly glorify God every time somebody gives them an award or ovation, they will be eaten of worms.  God certainly doesn’t need a host of professional athletes, performers or politicians glorifying Him for the talents and abilities they received from their genetics and further enhanced and developed by trainers, coaches or handlers.

The One True God was glorified and is glorified in the complete and accomplished work of His only begotten Son, the greatest man of all times, the Lord Jesus Christ.


© Stephen A. Harrison  The Word’s Christian Fellowship, Inc.  4415 Yank Road  Wilson, NC 27893