(Mark 6:22-24) “And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. and she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist.”
Once she danced and enticed King Herod with her lewdness and seductive spirit, Herodias’ daughter was offered anything she wanted up to half of Herod’s kingdom. What was her reply? Paraphrasing, she basically said, “Let me go ask Mama.” She could have asked for anything she wanted: riches, power, land, position. She didn’t oppose her mother’s instructions. “…but Mom, I want ______________!” As wicked as she was, she still knew to obey her mother.
(Matthew 8:31-32) “So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. And he said unto them. Go. nd when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.”
The devils trembled at Jesus’ presence, and they verbally confirmed His deity and power – which I love to show to self-proclaimed atheists – yet “good” people oftentimes deny the power and deity of Christ. As evil as the devils were, they knew to obey every word of Jesus.
And then there are those who we feel should know better.
“But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD…” Jonah 1:3
Jonah knew God commanded him to go to Nineveh, yet he tried to run and hide from God’s omnipresence as if God wouldn’t be able to locate him with a GPS.
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” (Matthew 23:27) Outwardly, the Pharisees appeared to be living for the Lord, but inwardly they were just as rebellious as Herodias’ daughter and her terrible mother.
And what about us?
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
We are the only creation of God’s that has the audacity and arrogance to refuse to obey!
How is it that we as Christians allow ourselves to be so outdone in the area of obedience by devils and a wicked girl? If she had enough sense to seek her mother’s guidance, what is our excuse? Parallel with Herod’s lust and enticement, we often yield to seduction by chasing after what we want, rather than that which God commands. We tend to scoff when Jonah ignores and runs from God, yet we do the same thing more often than we’d like to admit. The Bible commands that we “revenge all disobedience,” and we are our own worst enemies as we continue to make excuses.
We are commanded to be soul warners. We don’t always have to be the winners, but we do have to be the warners.
- “If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?” (Proverbs 24:11-12 )
- “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”
We are commanded to love the unlovely.
- “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?” (Matthew 5:46)
- “Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.” (John 4:9)
Jesus is not impressed when we love the lovely. He’s not polishing jewels for our crowns as we only lift up and encourage the teenagers who are doing right – the ones that we feel are going to make it. He wants us to diligently go after the ones who are drowning in despair and those who are sinking in sin. Real love is pursuing those who may cause some chaffing, those who may or may not be rebellious, and those who are hurt and angry. Someone once stood in the face of a young lady and told her, “You’ll never amount to anything for God.” She’s been a pastor’s wife for many years now. Be careful of discouraging the ones you feel won’t make it. The millstone is a frightening thing.
The easier path for Jesus would have been to have spent His time with the “easy ones” such as Mary, Martha, and Lazarus; however, he sought after the prostitutes, lepers, heartbroken, rebellious, widowed, oppressed, possessed, wicked, sick, and the unclean. That is pure love.
Are we like Jonah? Are we like the Pharisees? Do we vainly perform the part of a good Christian to keep our position and title looking good from the outside? To us “people watchers,” sincerity, and the lack thereof, is heartbreakingly visible. Just like God saw Jonah, He sees us, too! God is also a “people watcher.”
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he answer them saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” (Matthew 25:40, 45)