ESOCS Devotional 2 November 2023 – The King’s Irrevocable Word
MEMORY VERSE:“And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath’s sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her.” Mark 6:26
TEXT: MARK 6:14-29 (AMPC)
And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.
15 Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets.
16 But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.
17 For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife: for he had married her.
18 For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.
19 Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not:
20 For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
21 And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee;
22 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.
23 And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.
24 And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist.
25 And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist.
26 And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath’s sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her.
27 And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison,
28 And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother.
29 And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.
Reading through the record of the sad end of John the Baptist there’s one thing that catches the attention. This is the fact that though the king felt bad about the daughter’s request yet he could not reverse his earlier promise to give the daughter whatever she requested. This reveals one very important lesson about the power of words. In the olden traditions the words of kings were considered sacred and were highly esteemed hence kings were expected to always speak with caution. This is one of the reasons Solomon in his wisdom admonished that it is not good for kings to get drunk with strong drinks. This is to ensure that they do not pass judgment or make decrees under such influence. It was definitely in this state of merry and high spirit that King Herod gave his daughter an open cheque and the rest was history. The word of the king is his bond and must be honoured no matter the state or circumstance in which it was uttered.
Though the king felt sorry afterwards there was nothing he could do about it because the king’s words cannot be revoked.
This is nothing but a sad event but there are some lessons we can learn:
- God’s promises are irrevocable: This is the major source of our hope and confidence in God. In a day when we are tempted to doubt his promises, we can be assured that his faithfulness is to be trusted even more than earthly kings. He will always remain faithful to his words. As the scripture declares, He honours His words even more than His name.
- Our words are our bond. Since God always keeps His words, He also expects us to do the same. If earthly kings understand this and try to live by it, we that have been made kings of a higher kingdom must understand that our words are our bond hence we should not speak words which we have no intention to perform. It is better not to speak at all than to make empty utterances.
- Words are powerful. Since we understand the power of words, we should never be found making reckless speeches. We must have high regard for every word that comes out of our mouth. Our utterances must always be filled with grace so that it will bless the heart of the hearers. Our utterances should always be made with a sound mind.
Let us therefore always maintain caution in our utterances and speeches for our words are powerful.
FURTHER READINGS: Psalms 138:2; Proverbs 5:1-6; Ecclesiastes 8:4; Colossians 4:6
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ESOCS Devotional 2 November 2023