Matthew 14:6-11 NIV 6 On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much 7 that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8 Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” 9 The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted 10 and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother.
Reader’s Digest held a contest asking for weird family stories. It included a couple of my favorite responses.
It was a typical noisy dinner at my parents’ home, and Dad was having trouble following the conversations. He kept jumping in with off-topic comments and asking for things to be repeated. I finally told him he needed to get a hearing aid.
Looking at me as if I were crazy, he said, “What would I do with a hand grenade?” — Pat Tornatore, St. Louis, Missouri
Can you play with me?” my preschooler asked.
“Not now,” I said. “I have too much work to do around the house.”
Taking my hand, and with the wisdom of one who has lived many a lifetime, he said, “Mom, I have advice for you. When people tell me to do work, I don’t listen to them. Then I don’t have work to do. It works for me. You should try it.” — A. Caldwell, Farmington, New Mexico
Tragically, the odd Herod family was a deadly threat to God’s servants. The son of Herod the Great was Herod Antipas, who was referred to as Herod the tetrarch (Matthew 14:1; Luke 3:1). A tetrarch is someone who governs a fourth part of a kingdom. His father, Herod the Great, divided his large kingdom into four parts and gave them to his sons, an action confirmed by the Roman senate.
Herod Antipas was the son of Herod the Great, the half-brothers of Aristobulus (of which Herodias was his daughter) and Philip. He was the brother-in-law and half-uncle to Herodias and a half-great uncle to Salome. If that wasn’t confusing enough then Herod Antipas, one of three Tetrarchs (his brothers being the other two), stole Herodias from Philip and divorced his wife who was the daughter of the King of Petra, Aretas IV. It was for this reason that John the Baptist confronted Herod Antipas for his adultery!
Antipas was a pathetic and weak man who – at the request of his soon-to-be mistress “Salome” (his step-daughter) carried out her demand (originating from her mother Herodias) to murder John the Baptist.
Herod Antipas cared about his pleasure and did not consider God, his leadership responsibilities, or his roles as a husband and father. We all have a temptation to live for ourselves and our own desires over our responsibilities. Salome used her beauty, charm, and grace for selfish and wicked pursuits. Herodias lost control of her anger and plotted to murder an innocent man. Herod, Herodias, and Salome killed a prophet for worldly goals such as lust, power, and revenge.
How do we resist these pitfalls? What is the best way for us to defend our families?
Luke 22:39-40 NIV 39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.”
Like so many other issues in life, Jesus taught the crowds and the disciples about the fundamental importance of calling on the Lord. We even read in the Lord’s Prayer that we are to call upon the Father “to lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13)
Prayer: Holy Father please grant us the faith, strength, and wisdom to week you in prayer whenever we are tempted. Assist us in strengthening our families to avoid the errors of the Herods. May they be a warning to us, and may we develop relationships with other Christians who will help us develop a deeper walk with You, a deeper love for our families, and a merciful attitude when dealing with others. In the name of the Good Shepherd we pray, amen.