Fifty Days of Prayer | Day 21

Herod was always an opportunist. He made his decisions by determining what would secure popularity and, thus, power. It's the reason why he attacked the church, killed James, and imprisoned Peter. He thought the Jews would like him (12:1-3). Herod would willingly kill the four squads of soldiers because they lost Peter (12:18-19). His father before him was the one who ordered the murder of all boys aged two and under in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16). Because we do not fight flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12), then flesh and blood cannot stop the expansion of the church. When the gospel comes into an area it creates all kinds of social disturbance. It threatens the powers that be. So, we pray that the gospel would come to Houston with such power that it upends the ungodly power structures in our neighborhood. 

We're given another picture of Herod. Being the governor over Israel, he was responsible for maintaining peace. But, he was angry with two cities Tyre and Sidon. Needing his provision of food, they came to terms with one another. To celebrate he dressed himself in his royal robes and gave a speech. The people declared him to be a good (12:22). As Herod had "flexed" his power in attacking the church, so God would flex his own. Because he accepted the worship due only to God and had attacked Christ's church, "Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down...and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last" (12:23). So, we pray that the Lord would remove any earthly powers that oppose the church and steal glory from the Lord.

Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there.

Now 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. On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” Immediately 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.

But the word of God increased and multiplied.

And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them John, whose other name was Mark.
— Acts 12:18-25