It’s strange that the account of a neurotic king like Herod offers so many object lessons to Christians, but in a world that’s obsessed with image and achievement, it behooves us to pay attention to his story. We saw yesterday that he built multiple monuments to himself that now live only in ruins, and today, I want to talk about something else significant we can learn from his life — that jealousy perverts justice. After working hard to earn his title as “King of the Jews,” he was determined to hold onto it. The problem was that it had already been claimed by someone else. Religious scholars had informed Herod that God would send the Messiah from Bethlehem, and that when He came, He would be Israel’s true Victor. Unfortunately, the king had no fear of the Lord, and he thought he could outsmart Him by human means. In fact, when the wise men came seeking the young Christ’s whereabouts, Herod saw a perfect opportunity to “hone in” on his nemesis, and he instructed them to return once they found Him and let him know where he could go to worship Him also. However, after being warned by the Holy Spirit not to go back to the king, the Magi left town by a different route…and then his jealousy raged full force. Rather than yield to the Lord of Creation, Herod took matters into his own hands and decreed that every young male under the age of two was to be killed. Though he couldn’t possibly outwit God, his insane envy caused unimaginable suffering to innocent families and cut many lives short. And while this is an extreme case, it’s a poignant reminder that unchecked covetousness has the potential to cause pain and destruction to many people.
My friend, it’s human nature to be envious of others, especially those who seem to prosper for no reason, but letting such feelings take root in your soul is dangerous. While you’re hard pressed to keep them from cropping up, when the devil plants seeds of jealousy in your heart, cling to the good promises of God, and be confident that nothing will stand in the way of His perfect will for your future. Though it’s tempting to take revenge and cut down those who threaten your position, the most powerful thing you can do is to pray for them. You serve a Savior who knows the beginning from the end and whose good plans always prevail. Submit your life and your outcomes to His keeping, don’t worry about other people, and you will do more than humanly possible!