Acts 12:20-23 – 20Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. 21 On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. 22And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” 23Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.
Herod was struck down because when the people he was speaking to heard him, they cried out (in an obvious attempt to appease an egomaniac) “the voice of a god and not a man”. Immediately God struck Herod and he eventually died of a worm infestation. The text says that he was struck because he did not give God glory (v.23). This, after Herod had killed James the brother of the Apostle John, had imprisoned Peter and would have killed him but for God’s miraculous intervention, killed the guards who had been guarding Peter and then threatened to cut off the food supply to Tyre and Sidon.
But for all this, the text says nothing in relation to Herod’s judgement from God. The reason Herod was killed was because he did not give God the glory. Of course, Herod’s persecution of believers, the murder of Christians and others, and the forced starvation of a whole region are all because he does not live for the glory of God. But none of those things are specifically mentioned as the reason for Herod’s death. Herod’s life was one big self centered endeavour and we would be foolish to think that God is not just as displeased with it today as He was then. And people need to be brought to see that they commit, every day, the very sin that brought God to end Herod’s life.
We have no idea how much praise God is worthy of and how little we give Him. But we should be very grateful for accounts such as this one that tell us just how much God is righteously jealous for His own glory.
And we absolutely must be brought to see the glories of the cross in all this. The cross tells us how offensive our sins are to God. The only escape from the just punishment for all our sin, is the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Herod didn’t believe it and he’s been regretting it for a very long time. You can be different.