Godly vs. Earthly Sorrow.

January 22, 2023 in Today's Devotion by TGV


Bible Study Guide/ Matthew 14, (40-BSG-14Y)/ Theme: Godly versus Earthly Sorrow.

Key Text: “And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her. So, he sent and had John beheaded in prison. And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus.” (Matthew 14:9–12, NKJV)

For a retrospect on John the Baptist, read Matthew 14:1-12. Herod imprisoned John for fearlessly condemning his unlawful marriage to Herodias, the king’s ex-sister-in-law. In verse 6, the daughter of Herodias dances for Herod during his birthday celebration. In verse 7, a highly pleased Herod vows to give her anything she desires. In verse 8, at her mother’s urging, the girl demands the head of John the Baptist. Finally, the reluctant king, forced to keep his promise, has John beheaded (verses 9-12).

Notice how Herod goes from “pleased” (v. 6) to “grieved!” (v. 9). Dr. Luke adds, “Then the king deeply regretted what he had said; but because of the vows he had made in front of his guests, he couldn’t refuse her.” (Mark 6:26, NLT) Mark says Herod was “very sorry” (perilupos). He was heavy-hearted but not enough to change his mind. His remorse fell short of godly regret and thus was not sufficient to counter his pride and vanity at having given his oath before his esteemed guests. Even in this reaction, notice that it is all about Herod, and there is no expression of pity, compassion, or sorrow for John! Herod is like the little boy who was caught with his hand in the cookie jar! All Herod was sorry about was that he had been trapped by Herodias’ cunning into carrying out this dastardly deed! He may have had a touch of remorse but not an ounce of repentance!

Paul’s words were “prophetic” for Herod when he wrote, “For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10, NLT) Indeed, there would be 2 deaths. The temporal death of John, but the far worse eternal death of Herod!

Secondly, note a sharp contrast between the two men—(John and Herod). John was wise: godly and disciplined. He lived for God and lived a sanctified life. Herod was foolish: he was carnal, fleshly, and secular. This scene demonstrates it. Herod foolishly lived only for this world: for fame, power, wealth, position, and for the sensual pleasure and stimulation of the flesh.

Thirdly, note what drinking and suggestive dancing, and lust did to Herod. It led him to — (a) compromise, allowing his step-daughter (Salome) to expose herself before the guest; (b) give anything for sensual satisfaction, up to half of his kingdom; and (c) commit murder of the innocent blood.

How easily can we be influenced? John was influenced by his cunning concubine, his dancing daughter, his careless covenant, and his beer-drinking buddies. Afraid of the jeers, “Herod, are you too religious to put away a Prophet?” The fear of being considered weak proved that he was weak indeed.

Beloved, who influences you? Actually, every friend influences you for the good or the bad. How does each of your friends influence you? Listen, “Wicked Oaths” ought to be repented of, not acted out. In the sight of heaven, it was Herod who perished, not John. May the LORD help us to be like his servant John, “even to the point of death!” Amen.

Today’s Mandate: “Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.” (1 Corinthians 15:33–34, NKJV)

Exhortation: “Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:22–24, NKJV)



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