Acts 12:21-23 – “And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.”
Here we find an example of God’s judgment when it is both swift and severe. Because God does not always judge arrogance and blasphemy suddenly, some are of the opinion that it will be overlooked. Some think God is lenient concerning such things. Such is not the case. God’s mercy or longsuffering should not be considered evidence of indifference. Herod was guilty of receiving praise rather than giving the glory to God, and the wicked man was destroyed. Josephus, the historian, gave this account of Herod’s behavior and death: He “…did neither rebuke them the people nor reject their impious flattery. A severe pain arose in his belly, and began in a most violent manner. And when he was quite worn out by the pain in his belly for five days, he departed this life, in the fifty fourth year of his age, and the seventh year of his reign.”
It is a wicked and prideful thing to take credit for that which God should receive glory. Although it is a common temptation to exalt one’s self, it is God that should be exalted. The psalmist spoke of this in Psalms 115:1 when he wrote, “Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.” When Peter visited the house of Cornelius, Cornelius fell at his feet and worshiped him. Peter lifted Cornelius up, saying, “Stand up; I myself also am a man” (Acts 10:26). After healing a man at Lystra, the people referred to Paul and Barnabas as gods. Knowing this, they ran among the people crying, “Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you…” (Acts 14:15).
God resists the proud. May we always remember that any good thing that we are able to accomplish is the result of God’s grace and activity in our lives. It is a wise and humble man who learns to deflect praise toward God. There is nothing wrong with recognizing and appreciating what others have done, but it is wrong to give them the glory that is due unto God. “To God be the glory, great things He has done!”