A Royal Coward

Here’s Today’s Devotional from The Vine

The king was grieved, but for the sake of his oaths, and of those who sat at the table with him, he commanded it to be given, – Matthew 14:9


Herod called himself a king, and yet we see he was a poor slave — a fear-filled coward! He was sorry he had made the oath. His conscience was not altogether dead. He did not want to kill John. He was afraid of public opinion, which he knew would condemn him. Then he despised himself for having been caught by Herodias in her plot to have her long-cherished revenge. He was so much a slave that, although he claimed to be a king, he didn’t have the courage to refuse such a request.

True, he had made an oath, but no promise or oath is binding which requires anyone to sin. Of course, Herod was foolish to make such a reckless promise, not knowing what it would involve. After he had made it he was bound to keep it, at whatever the cost to himself, provided nothing sinful was involved. If Herodias had asked for half his kingdom, he would have been bound to grant her request. But he was under no obligation to grant any desire which required him to commit sin.

It was not the oath, however, that really influenced Herod. He just lacked the courage to do the heroic thing he ought to have done. He was afraid of the ridicule of his guests; and he was so under the power of Herodias that he dared not refuse what she demanded. In the end, it was his weakness that wrecked him. Rather than be a moral hero Herod stained his hands with the blood of a holy man.

There are some things we have no right to make rash promises about. We need to keep our word on things that are ours to control. According to the Psalm 15:4, a good man, having made a promise to do something, must do it even if the result would be to his detriment. This is the honorable thing to do. However, no promise binds anyone to give away another man’s life. This is not his to give.

Toot, please share your thoughts on“A Royal Coward”

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