Different reactions to flattery

The Israelites said to Gideon, ‘Rule over us – you, your son and your grandson – because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.’  But Gideon told them, ‘I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you.  The Lord will rule over you.’‭‭  Judges‬ ‭8:22-23‬ ‭(NIV)

On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, ‘This is the voice of a god, not of a man.’ Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.  Acts‬ ‭12:21-23‬ ‭(NIV)

No one would have blamed Gideon if he had wanted to be king.  The evidence was that because of him the Israelites had been saved in battle from the Midianites.  However, if you think back to my last post, the victory wasn’t Gideon’s, but God’s.  God had whittled down an army of 32,000 to just 300 fighting men.  Gideon knew that God should get the credit, not himself or his son.

The second incident is recorded in Acts 12 and shows Herod in all his splendour sitting on his throne and addressing the people.  The reaction of the people is to praise Herod and say that he spoke like a god.  Herod responds to their flattery by accepting their praise.  The consequences were catestrophic, as we are told Herod died as a result.

These examples aren’t put into the Bible to make us afraid in case we suffer the same fate as Herod.  They are included to remind us of how easily human nature can respond to flattery by believing what people say.  Gideon knew that when the people said he had saved them from the Midianites, that it was untrue.  Herod, on the other hand, accepted the flattery of the people when they said he spoke like a god.

Don’t believe all the hype!  Throughout your life you will probably have many instances of people telling you how great you are.  This can happen in work, in sport and even in church.   Be discerning and give God the credit for who you are and the abilities you have.

Every blessing


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