“For God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” —John 3:16
Herod the Great had many children and of them were Herod Antipas, Herod Philip and Herod Archelaus. John the Baptist called Herod Antipas out for his adulterous relationship when he married Herod Philip’s wife, Herodias, to be his own. Hearing this criticism by John and recognizing that he was a political threat since large crowds went to listen to him, Herod Antipas decided to take action by arresting John and putting him in prison.
Although Herod Antipas did not like John’s message, what he really did not like was God’s judgment on his life choices. Herod Antipas took measures to metaphorically lock God’s voice out of his life. However, from time to time, Herod Antipas would send for John. Mark 6:20 tells us, “When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.” Similarly, we can lock away God’s Word, only to bring it out every now and then and interact with it.
Eventually, Herod Antipas had John the Baptist beheaded because of the very sin that John warned him about in his life. The story of Herod Antipas provides a powerful lesson for us. If we do not like what God is saying to us, we may begin by locking away His voice and throwing away the key. Then, we harden our conscience, our mind and our heart against Him. As sin takes hold, not only does His voice diminish in our life, we can actually get to a place where we silence it altogether and kill the voice of God.
Yet, Scripture tells us that God loved the world so much that He laid down His life for humanity. The problem is that the world does not love Him back. Some remark, “God just does not suit my needs” or “I think Christianity is a bit narrow-minded and old-fashioned” or “I find it too exclusive; I want God to affirm everything about my life.” Others reject God altogether, saying, “I don’t believe in God. I don’t need a crutch to get through my life—that is for the weak.” C. S. Lewis once said, “Atheists express their rage against God although in their view He does not exist.” We can spend all this time and energy expressing our rage against something that we do not believe is true or exists; however, Lewis adds, “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.”
May we not silence the voice of God or harden our hearts against Him, but receive His warning with repentance and thanksgiving.
Lord God, thank You for how much You love the world that You laid down Your life. Help me not to silence Your voice or harden my heart against You, but receive Your truth with repentance and thanksgiving.