“He who speaks flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children will fail.” (Job 17:5 NKJV).
Herod the King was undoubtedly one of the chief persecutors of the early Church. He was fully committed to persecuting Christ’s apostles.
First, Herod killed James the brother of John with sword. Second, when Herod saw that killing James pleased the Jews, who were opposed to the apostles and to the teachings of Christ they were spreading, he proceeded further to arrest Peter and put him in the prison.
But the night before the day Herod would bring Peter out to kill him, God sent His angel to deliver Peter miraculously from the hand of Herod and from the expectation of the Jews. Praise God!
In spite of the opposition and wickedness of Herod against Christ’s apostles and the Church, God was merciful to him and he continued to wax greater.
When Herod went down from Judea to Caesarea, the people of Tyre and Sidon came to him with one accord, and having made Blastus the king’s personal aide their friend, they asked for peace, because Herod had been angry with them and their country was supplied with food by the king’s country (Acts 12:19-20).
While the people of Tyre and Sidon was still standing before King Herod to appease him, something very strange, unusual, unprecedented and supernatural happened.
What was it, how and why did it happen?
The Scripture records: “So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.” (Acts 12:21-23 NKJV).
What a strange and dreadful incidence! It is worth examining very closely.
Obviously, God didn’t command His angel to strike Herod because he persecuted His Church. Neither was Herod struck because of his eloquence or fluency, nor because of the thrilling and powerful oration that he gave.
In fact, Herod was not struck and eaten by worms because of the flattery, excessive or insincere praise of the sycophants who were shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” That would certainly not be a fair judgement on Herod, for he was not responsible for the shouting or action of the people of Tyre and Sidon.
However, Herod was certainly responsible for his response or reaction to their flattery, excessive or insincere praise.
According to the Scripture, the angel of the Lord struck Herod because “he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.” (Acts 12:21-23 NKJV).
What a vital lesson for us today!
Herod died a strange and shameful death because he failed to handle or deal with wisdom his flatterers, praise-singers or sycophants. You also need to be extremely careful in your dealings with those who specialize in flattering you or singing your praises at all times.
When people flatter or praise you excessively that you are no longer a man but a god; they are simply setting you up for a sudden fall and strange destruction. Beware of your flatterers, sycophants or praise-singers! They are simply digging a grave for you.
Apparently, King Herod was not a god, but a mere mortal man like any human. However, the people of Tyre and Sidon flattered him that his voice was no longer that of man but that of god, for their selfish reason. They just wanted to court his favour, “because their country was supplied with food by the king’s country.” (Acts 12:20 NKJV).
The truth is that your flatterers or praise-singers are not sincere, they have ulterior motives, and they simply need something from you. Beware of them! Don’t allow them to praise you to your sudden and great fall and destruction.
While the people of Tyre and Sidon were flattering and signing the praise of Herod, he was foolish enough to sit down there listening, enjoying, relishing, and basking in the flattery and insincere praise of these sycophants. That was the real cause of his death!
If Herod was wise, what would he have done?
Shut the mouths of his flatterers!
Rebuke his praise-singers!
Turn his ears away from their flattery, excessive or insincere praise! Humble himself before God, acknowledging that he is just a mere mortal man, and then give glory to God for the gift of eloquence, fluency or volubility He has given him!
Beloved, it is simply suicidal or self-destructive to listen to, love, enjoy, relish, delight or bask in flatteries or praises of men. Your flatterers, praise-singers or sycophants are insincere and self-centered people; don’t pay any attention to them or their insincere praise of you.
They are just praising or flattering you to exploit, manipulate, use or defraud you. If you listen to, enjoy or dance to their music, you will become corrupt.
The Scripture warns that flattery seduces, corrupts or perverts men. “Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery…” (Daniel 11:32 NKJV).
Therefore, be humble and wise enough to know who you are in Christ, and to know that you are nothing and can do nothing without Christ (John 15:5).
If anyone dares to flatter or sing your praise because of your gifting, talents, charisma, generosity, intelligence, wisdom, eloquence, skill or expertise; deal with him with wisdom. How?
Shut him up!
Turn your ears away from him!
Turn his attention to God who is the giver and owner of all things! Humble yourself and give God all the praise, all the honour and all the glory!
Arrogating God’s glory, honour or praise to yourself is like hoarding or amassing coals of fire in your bosom. Your flatterers or praise-singers are simply raining coals of fire on your head. Only a fool will encourage them to continue. Remember Herod!
If you are in the business of showering praises, worship and glory due to God upon mortal men, desist from such foolish and wicked act today lest your hands become stained with the blood of men you have praised or flattered to their sudden fall and destruction.
The Scripture warns: “He who speaks flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children will fail.” (Job 17:5 NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, I receive today divine wisdom and courage to deal effectively with my flatterers and praise-singers. Help me to guard my heart diligently against the seduction and corruption of flattery, in Jesus’ name. Amen.