The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
There are a few passages in the New Testament which provide startling reminders that the God of the New Testament is exactly the same as the God of the Old Testament. Acts 12:20-23 is one of those passages.
Herod the king, the same one who lost Peter earlier in this chapter, has become angry with some of his subject people. After they worked at obtaining a peace treaty, Herod went to make an oration.
At this ceremonial political occasion, Herod accepts the acclamations of the people. He is a god, not a man. Herod the king, overseer of Israel, has publicly denied the true God. He is eaten by worms and dies.
The God of the Bible has revealed himself to his people. He has shown his patience and kindness. He has told his people how and where they can approach him. When they choose to worship other gods, or, worse yet, to accept praise as if they themselves are gods, there is no more patience in God’s attitude. He does not allow substitutes. He does not share his glory.
The Bible announces salvation only through Jesus’ substitutionary, atoning death. It is received only through faith. It is all by God’s grace, never by our works. May we grasp this better than Herod did.
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