Redirecting Glory: Negative and Positive Examples from Acts

The Negative

In Acts 12, we are given a few brief verses that describe the death of Herod, the tetrarch of Judea in the early first Century. He takes his seat on a special day, wearing his regal robes, and waxes eloquent to the crowd. We are told the people began shouting “The voice of a god, and not of a man!”—but what was Herod’s response?

There was no response. He did nothing to correct them, nothing to remind them that he’s mortal like them, nothing to point to the true God.

Then:

“Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory,” (Acts 12:23a)

The Positive

A couple chapters later, in Acts 14, we have a contrasting story. Paul and Barnabas arrive at Lystra, and Paul, through the power of the Spirit, heals a man who had been crippled from birth. The crowd sees the miracle, and immediately start shouting “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” They mistake Paul for Zeus, and Barnabas for Hermes, and are about to offer them sacrifices, when we see the apostles response:

“But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, ‘Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news,” (Acts 14:14, 15a)

… and they proceed to share the gospel with them.

That’s the proper response when you receive praise: give the glory to God. Simple as that.

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