Thursday, March 14, 2019
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Lagos, Nigeria

oday I want to tell you a story recorded in the Bible, which was also documented in the history book of the world and can be verified on the internet.

The story is about a king, called Herod Agrippa I. Actually his parents named him Marcus Julius but he took the title of king Herod Agrippa I after he ascended the throne, just like many kings of the world do even till date.

His grand father and a uncle of his father ruled before Him. The three were all referred to as king Herod in the Bible and they three had one thing in common, which is 'murder of their citizens' but young Marcus also known as king Herod Agrippa I who is the subject of this story added 'pride' to his Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resume and when his cup was full, at a public appearance, God killed him.

So the title of my sermon today is "The Danger of Pride & Contempt for God and Man"

Let us pray as Dr. Deacon Kayode Samuel leads us.

The story is about a king called Herod Agrippa I. His parents actually at birth named him Marcus Julius but he took the title of king Herod Agrippa 1 after he ascended the throne, just like many kings of the world do even till date.

And as I earlier said, the story is not only in the Bible but also documented in the history book of the world and can be verified on the internet.

Marcus Julius, later referred to as king Herod Agrippa1 was born with Silver spoon in his mouth. He was the nephew of king Herod Antipas and grandson of king Herod the Great.

In the Bible, they were all referred to, simply as king Herod but it couldn't have been only one Herod who lived so long. But we are able to identify them with one or two particular activities, which each of them was involved in and the times when the activities took place.

Actually the Bible simply referred to the oldest Herod simply as Herod, it is history books that called him "Herod the Great"

One thing however is common with the three Herods; they were all murderers. Each of them murdered dissent voices.

But the youngest Herod added 'pride' to his curriculum vitae (Resume) and he was judged at the fullest of time. God killed him mysteriously in public glare.

It was Herod the Great who murdered all the boys, 2 years of age and under in Bethlehem after Jesus was born.

At the birth of Jesus, some three wise men far from the East, saw a star which they understood as the birth of a great King and they departed their country and followed the star to where the Child was born, which happened to be Bethlehem.

Herod the Great heard of the incidence and ordered that all boys 2 years and below be taken from their mothers and be slaughtered because he would not have such a notable king to be born.

He was however not able to kill Jesus, because God had told Jesus's earthly parents to flee with Him to Egypt.

Herod the great died when Jesus was 4 years old and Jesus was brought back to the land of Israel. This story is found in the book of Matthew 2.

The son of Herod the great, Herod Antipas was the one on the throne when the murder of Jesus was conspired and He did interview Jesus. The story is in St. Luke 23.

The same Herod Antipas took the wife of his brother Philip and John the Baptist spoke against it because the law did not permit it except Philip were dead.

Herod Antipas ordered that John the Baptist be murdered at the request of his concubine, Herodias, the original wife of Prince Philip. The story is in the book of St. Matthew 14. Antipas died in 39AD i.e 6 years after Christ was murdered; having ruled from age 4 of our Lord.

The nephew of Herod Antipas referred to as Herod Agrippa 1, is the subject of this discussion. We found his story in the book of Acts of Apostles 12. He persecuted the Church very much.

He killed James, the brother of John. James and John, sons of Zebedee.

King Agrippa had concluded the plan to kill Peter, the leader of the Apostles but on the eve of his execution, God sent an angel who set Peter loose and led him out of prison (Herod gulag).

So as I earlier said, the hands of the Royal house of Herod are full of blood of innocent citizens.

Let us recap the murders, which took place in the royal House of Herod

The oldest Herod (Herod the Great) killed all boys 2 years and under in the land of Bethlehem and area.

His son, Herod Antipas beheaded John the Baptist because John told him it was not permitted to inherit Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip while Philip was still alive.

He consented to the killing of the Saviour of mankind.

The third Herod, Agrippa murdered James, one of the 12 Apostles of Christ just for the hatred of Christ and His Church.

So they had the habit of 'murder' in common. But the third Herod, Agrippa added arrogance and self esteem to his resume.

The Bible and history had it that he played philanthropy to the countries of Tyre and Sidon. The people of those countries depended on him for their survival. They paraded his garden for doles. They must kneel down in order to talk to him while he sat on his royal chair.

A time came when king Agrippa was angry with these two cities of Tyre and Sidon. We have no record of why he was angry. But the people of Tyre and Sidon could not stand his anger as it portended death. So they sent delegates to appease him.

On the day of appointment, I suppose Herod Agrippa 1put on his royal robes; perhaps the most gorgeous. He sat on his throne and made a speech to them. The story is in vs 20 of Acts 12.

I can imagine king Agrippa telling them how wise they were for coming to beg him. I can imagine him pluralizing himself saying, had they not come, they were playing with hunger and death. I can imagine him telling them how rich he was and that being benevolent to them could never run his wells of money dry and there was none like him in the whole Universe and he further guaranteed them of their salvation once they remained loyal to him and accepted his superiority over them.

It was recorded in vs 22 that ?the people gave him a great ovation, shouting, "It's the voice of a god, not of a man!"

I can imagine some of his visitors, some old as his father and grandfather, on their bellies, some on their knees accompanied probably by drummers, singing his praises, telling him beautiful things, telling him that any disease that must befall the king should befall them and their children. I can imagine one of them assuring him of his availability whenever he wants to defecate to do it in his mouth because it will be insulting for the king to bother himself going to the toilet. They told him that by seeing him, they had seen God.

Vs 23 recorded that ?"Instantly, an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people's worship instead of giving the glory to God. So he was consumed with worms and died.

Details of his death is on the internet.

Internet recorded that in the midst of his speech to the public, a crying owl perched over his head and the king was immediately smitten with violent pains.

This was the second time a crying owl would perch over his head. The first cry of the owl, many years earlier was interpreted as the herald or signal of his fortune to the kingship, with the warning that should he behold the same sight again, he would die.

How many of you listening to me knows that the coven, which the witches use is 'owl'

It means the use of Owl by witches is from time immemorial.

Let me explain the meaning of what happened to the king Agrippa 1

Anyone of my age who lived in the village will remember one species of a bird called "Kowee" I guess it was named Kowee after the manner it cries. This bird is not heard, except when a death of a native is imminent. And when it does, it is usually in the dead of the night or sometimes between 1.30 and 3.00 in the afternoon. It does 3 times, each time it cries. Whenever it cried without a laugh, old people started to make enquiry of who had taken ill because death was certain within days. It did not necessarily have to be someone living at home, it could be someone in Diaspora.

Kowee is not a carrier of only bad news. If it cries the usual three times followed by laughs, then some fortune is coming along someone in the community, at home or in Diaspora. So, the owl must have laughed the first time it perched over the king's head and he became king later

So when the crying Owl or Kowee perched on king Agrippa's head this time, he understood the implication, that the end had come. No one needed to tell him.

He then scolded his friends for flattering him and accepted his imminent death. He experienced heart pains and a pain in his abdomen, and he died after five days.

This serves a lesson to those who think very highly about themselves and people who enjoyed sycophancy.

King Herod Agrippa enjoyed these to the fullest. He however realized his folly when it became too late and he started to blame his friends and lieutenants for flattering him.

A Yoruba adage says if people are deceiving you, it is you who must refuse to be deceived or flattered.

King Herod Agrippa 1 was fooled and because he too lacked understanding, he fooled himself and he fell to his death.

I have seen some so called men of God who the whole Church must kneel down as they pass by. Lieutenants help them to dress up. Lieutenants hold their umbrella when they have to go out in rains before they enter their car or when entering a building after they exit their car.

And that is why they rarely experience the miraculous because when men appropriate to themselves, the glory that does not belong to them, God withdraws His power to perform miracles through them and the braggarts are left with no option than to be faking miracles and cooking stories.

The Bible has nothing good to say about people who esteem themselves. It warns severally about the danger of pride.

Apostle Paul counseled in his letter to the Philippians Church in chapter 2:3 "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4?Let each of you look out, not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others"

The book of Proverbs 16:18 says "Pride goes before destruction,

And a haughty spirit before [f]a fall" King Herod Agrippa put himself in the position of God and God killed him.

Proverbs 3: 34 reads "The LORD mocks the mockers?but is gracious to the humble. "God resists the proud But gives grace to the humble"

These verses were fulfilled at the end of life of Herod Agrippa. It is my prayer that those who are still alive and are living the life style of King Agrippa will learn from history, repent and change course before it is too late. You still have the opportunity to amend your ways while you still have your breadth. Agrippa, unfortunately had no second chance.

The Bible in Ecclesiastes 8: 11 says that "When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong. But Peter answers that in his second book, chapter Peter 3:9

9?The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent"

Let us pray