I received a forwarded email the other day from my mom; actually I had seen it once before a long time ago, but reading it again was compelling. The email basically lists people who scorned or denied God in some way or another, usually publicly, and recounts the terrible demises these people suffered. I’m assuming all of the accounts are true; I haven’t checked them out, and other than John Lennon I’m not familiar with the stories themselves. Valid or not, these stories make a sobering point: God will not tolerate those who show contempt toward Him.
In the Vigilantes Of Love song “Babylon,” Bill Mallonee uses a historical example of what happens to those who deny God’s power: “The Titanic‘s captain said God couldn’t sink her/You might say he learned a healthy respect.” In Galatians 6:7, Paul says it more bluntly, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked” (NIV).
There’s an episode in today’s reading (Acts 12) that paints this picture vividly. After settling a dispute with the people of Tyre and Sidon, King Herod makes an address to the people at Caesarea. In a show of completely misplaced awe the people begin to shout “this is the voice of a god, not a man.”
Now, we know from how Herod’s family story is woven through the Gospels that he had enough exposure to both Judaism and fledgling Christianity to have a healthy respect for His power. However, he didn’t humble himself enough to stop the crowd’s cries, and God immediately struck him down with worms that ate him alive from the inside out…a disgusting, cringeworthy thought, if you ask me.
God is dead serious about His power and sovereignty. I can’t thing of a more fitting response that to be completely humbled by and in awe of Him.