This past week some friends and I were discussing how the average person probably thinks of Jesus’ birth and life as such a pretty story. In reality there were many dark and unpleasant days, beginning with King Herod the Great. The lessons to be learned were how he and those around him dealt with their circumstances.
King Herod the Great has surely been studied by many great psychologists, and for good reason. In the church world he is known for his great act of cruelty after learning of Jesus’ birth. He was terrified that someone else should be called King of the Jews, and commanded that all male children two years old and younger living in Bethlehem and the surrounding region be put to death in an attempt to stop the arrival of this new king. Having no understanding of who Messiah was, his rage ruled as babies were innocently slaughtered. (See Matthew Chapter 2)
Have you ever done anything in anger, rage or jealousy that has affected the innocent lives of others?
Bible scholars generally stop with Herod’s life here. King Herod was known for much more that is noteworthy. He certainly was successful in making Judea a prosperous country for the early years of his reign. He earned the title ‘The Great’ due to his many building projects that included the temple in Jerusalem, many theatres and other well-known buildings that made the region a thriving area for himself and the residents. From the world’s perspective he was a successful leader both for his country and among men.
Is your goal to be successful among those around you? How do you define success?
The later years of Herod’s life are well-documented but he began to take sharp turns that marked a tragic demise to his end. He introduced many types of worship into the Jewish culture, causing violence in the very region he was responsible for making strong. His personal relationships were evil and cruel to those he had once loved. He became so suspicious and jealous of one of his wives Mariamne that he ordered the death of her, their two sons and three other family members. He was involved in a great quarrel with his Nabataean neighbors that led to him losing favor with Augustus. His desire for power, money and jealousy ultimately ruined his life.
How do you treat relationships with family and business associates? Are you suspicious and jealous to the point of risking, even losing them? Have you had a Herod time in your life that you need to correct before time runs out?
The saddest part of Herod’s life is that he did not have an AHa moment. There is no great ending to his life of repentance, restoration or even remorse. There is nothing to indicate that his wife, sons or any family members did anything to cause blame for their own deaths. His own personal struggles made them innocent victims and he moved on to decimate more relationships until his own demise.
The Good News is that if you can relate to Herod today, you are still breathing and able to make some changes today. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8
He came that all might have a relationship with Him. – John 3:16
God made some things very clear, and one of them is that if we are followers of His and we truly love Him we will love His children in the same way we love Him. – John 13:34 – 35, John 14:15-31
As God has forgiven us of so much, we have so much less to forgive each other. How does Herod’s life change your choices and attitudes today?
* Written in honor of my children and grandchildren who keep fighting the good fight of faith, honor, integrity and love every day. I love you all. God loves you far more. ❤ *