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Fear and impress God, not people!

Rev. Enoch Thompson | May 7, 2023 | Matthew 14:1-12


⁹The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted ¹⁰and had John beheaded in the prison. Matt 14:9-10 (NIV)


Our decisions, actions and inactions are often influenced by our consideration of the people around us. In many cases, we are forced by our fear of people and our attempt to impress them to make ungodly decisions. Herod seems to be an “afraid-man.” He was a man of great authority, political connections, and much wealth, but he was still very afraid, of people. His fear of people controlled and influenced his moral choices and painted a very poor picture of him, making him violate his own conscience, disobey God, and hurt his neighbour.

Herod was an “afraid-man” with regard to Herodias. Herodias, the wife of Herod’s brother who had now become Herod’s wife, must have exercised a fearsome influence upon the powerful-powerless Herod. Her looks, talks and seductions would have made Herod a puppet in her hands, and he wanted to do whatever she directed. Herod might be on the throne but Herodias, like Jezebel before her, was the power in front of, around, and behind the throne.

Herod was an “afraid-man” with regard to the ordinary people. The ordinary people imposed a fear upon Herod, for they could riot and make the state ungovernable.

”Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered him a prophet.” Matthew 14:5 (NIV). Their views of John the Baptist as a prophet must therefore be seriously considered, rather than the truth of what John was saying about the unacceptable relationship of Herod to Herodias. Herod feared the rebellion and vengeance of the people rather than the judgment and punishment by God.

Herod was an “afraid-man” with regard to the views of his social and political class. He had at this banquet well-placed political and social personalities. They had heard the oaths and promises he had made to the daughter of Herodias, and to change his mind, because the oaths have been taken advantage of by the evil intentions of an evil Herodias to commit the atrocity of the murder of a prophet of God, was less meaningful than his fear of the commentary and opinions of his social colleagues. Herod found it difficult to turn from the downward slope in which he had begun to descend because he was afraid of what his friends will think of him and wanted to impress them as a man of his word.


Who and what do you fear? Are you able to stand for truth and right, even when it does not, please people? Is it not better to obey God and be despised by people, than to bow to the pressure of humans, and offend God? What will your choices be guided by, the fear of God or the fear of mortal humans?


Lord, I am sorry for the times I have allowed people to influence my thoughts, my speech, and my choices. I am ashamed that mere mortals have had such power over me. Lord, help me from making empty boastful oaths. I pray that you will help defy my oaths and my dinner guests, resolve to fear God and escape the snare produced by the fear of people. For your dear Name’s sake, Amen.



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The Baptist Daily Devotional is a collection of God-inspired messages that will help you grow in your faith and walk with Christ. Each day, you will find a scripture passage, a reflection, a prayer and a challenge to apply God's word to your life. The devotional is written by pastors and leaders of the Ghana Baptist Convention, who share their insights and experiences from serving God in various contexts and ministries. For example, you will learn how to trust God in times of trouble, how to share the gospel with others, how to pray effectively, how to deal with temptation, how to handle conflict and more. Whether you are a new believer or a mature Christian, the Baptist Daily Devotional will inspire you, encourage you and equip you to live for God's glory.
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