The Price of Pride–Acts 12:20-23

God Running is a place for anyone who wants to (or even anyone who wants to want to) love Jesus more deeply, follow Jesus more closely, and love people the way Jesus wants us to.

In our last post from the book of Acts we saw how Herod put Peter on death row, and how God rescued Peter, and how the Jesus followers rejoiced for Peter’s deliverance but didn’t react against Peter’s oppressor Herod. They left that to God. (If you’re interested you can find that post here: Vengeance–Acts 12:18-23) Today we’ll look at the attitude that triggered God’s judgment against Herod, the persecutor of God’s people.

Acts 12:20-23

On an appointed day, after putting on his royal apparel, Herod took his seat on the rostrum and began delivering an address to them. The people repeatedly cried out, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died.

Acts 12:20-23

The Proverb

Remember that old proverb about the seven things God hates?

“There are six things that the Lord hates, Seven that are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who declares lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.” (Proverbs 6:16-19)

An Old Story Among Humans

That first one, haughty eyes: It speaks of pride and arrogance, which is an old story among us human beings. As early as the Garden of Eden we see it in Eve and we see it in Adam. God said to leave that one tree alone, but Adam and Eve decided they knew better. They decided, they would rather decide for themselves what was right and what was wrong, rather than follow God’s words about what’s right and what’s wrong. Adam and Eve said to God, “We know better.” “We’ll figure it out.” It’s subtle but it’s there. Pride crept in. “I don’t need God’s direction, I can figure it out for myself.” There’s a lack of humility there.

Nebuchadnezzar’s Pride and Ultimate Humility

Herod’s pride reminds us of Nebuchadnezzar’s. He was walking on the roof of his royal palace there in Babylon and he said out loud, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?”

While the words were still in his mouth, there fell a voice from heaven saying, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men. . .”

And Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity was taken from him. He was driven from men and lived like a beast of the field for seven years–until humility finally came to him. And he blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever. He acknowledged that God is behind every good thing here on earth and in heaven, including Nebuchadnezzar’s gifts and abilities as a leader and administrator (which were considerable).

Humility and Happiness

There was no seven year period for Herod though. Herod received their flattery without acknowledging his gifts as a communicator and leader were from God. He left God out of the equation. He left humility out of his personal assessment of his speech and the crowd’s reaction. And he paid for his arrogance with his life.

You know what’s funny. Over my lifetime, the happiest people I’ve known have been the humblest people I’ve known. The prideful people I’ve known always seem to be unhappy about one thing or another.

Like Herod, you and I can pay for our pride and arrogance with our lives too. We can choose pride and the unhappy life that goes with it. So we might as well live in humility. We’ll please God if we do. And we’ll experience His joy and blessings and greater happiness too. There’s a reason God hates pride. It’s damaging to our souls and it’s an enemy to our joy.

Like all sin, God hates pride because God loves you and He loves me. He wants us to flourish. He we wants us to live a life of humility so we can experience His joy and avoid the destruction that comes with pride and arrogance.

“Father have mercy on us. We’re sinners. Keep us from pride. Bless us with humble hearts. Help us to live humble lives that are pleasing to You.

“In Jesus’ name we ask this of You.


Available on Amazon!

Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)

Love Like Jesus begins with the story of how after a life of regular church attendance and Bible study, Bennett was challenged by a pastor to study Jesus. That led to an obsessive seven year deep dive. After pouring over Jesus’ every interaction with another human being, he realized he was doing a much better job of studying Jesus’ words than he was following Jesus’ words and example. The honest and fearless revelations of Bennett’s own moral failures affirm he wrote this book for himself as much as for others.

Love Like Jesus examines a variety of stories, examples, and research, including:

  • Specific examples of how Jesus communicated God’s love to others.
  • How Jesus demonstrated all five of Gary Chapman’s love languages (and how you can too).
  • The story of how Billy Graham extended Christ’s extraordinary love and grace toward a man who misrepresented Jesus to millions.
  • How to respond to critics the way Jesus did.
  • How to love unlovable people the way Jesus did.
  • How to survive a life of loving like Jesus (or how not to become a Christian doormat).
  • How Jesus didn’t love everyone the same (and why you shouldn’t either).
  • How Jesus guarded his heart by taking care of himself–he even napped–and why you should do the same.
  • How Jesus loved his betrayer Judas, even to the very end.

With genuine unfiltered honesty, Love Like Jesus, shows you how to live a life according to God’s definition of success: A life of loving God well, and loving the people around you well too.

A life of loving like Jesus.

(Kindlehardcover, and paperback now available on Amazon.)

One Comment on “The Price of Pride–Acts 12:20-23

  1. Pingback: The One Thing God Doesn’t Control–Acts 12:24 | God Running

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