In my previous post, I mentioned that Jesus remained completely silent when He stood before Herod Antipas for questioning (Luke 23:6-12). Nothing Herod said or asked could get a response. What made Christ’s behavior so strange was the fact that He didn’t give this same silent treatment to either Annas (the former high priest and father-in-law of the high priest at the time), Caiphas (the high priest at the time), or Pontius Pilate (the Roman ruler over Judea).
The Bible doesn’t tell us why Jesus turned stone-cold silent toward Herod. It seems highly likely, though, that it had everything to do with how Herod had treated John the Baptist. John had preached God’s message to Herod about the sin Herod had committed in taking Herodias, the wife of his brother Phillip, to be his own wife (Matthew 14:1-4; Mark 6:14-18). Herod had heard that message and responded badly to it by first having John arrested and imprisoned and then later having him executed (Matthew 14:5-12; Mark 6:18-29).
It is always a serious thing when God gets a message delivered to you personally. That message might come by way of you reading a passage in the Bible. It might come by way of you hearing a sermon. It might come by way of you reading a blog post. The fact is that God has any number of ways of getting His message to you. But however and through whomever God’s message gets delivered, the important thing is your response to it.
If you respond correctly by heeding the message and making any required changes in your life, that sets you on a good path. Conversely, if you respond incorrectly by failing to heed the message and refusing to make the necessary changes, that sets you on a bad path. Think of it this way: God’s message to you will always bring you to a life-altering intersection. Whether that altering is to your benefit or detriment depends upon what you do with the message.
The Bible’s most extreme example of this spiritual truth involves all the people who hear the gospel before the Rapture occurs but do not act upon the message by believing in Jesus as Savior. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 refers to the coming Antichrist as “the lawless one” and says of the damage he will do in the seven-year tribulation that follows the Rapture:
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (N.K.J.V.)
Don’t just blow past that last part. It says that God Himself will send these people strong delusion to ensure that they will believe the lie that is the Antichrist. It’s as if God will say, “Okay, since that’s the path you’ve chosen, I’ll make sure you don’t get a chance to change paths. If you want the Antichrist instead of Jesus Christ, you’ll get him. I’ll see to that.”
Similar language is found in Romans 1:18-32. That passage describes people who rejected the truth about God and instead embraced idolatry. As verse 25 puts it, these people “exchanged the truth of God for the lie” (N.K.J.V.). There’s that thought again. The passage also makes a point of saying in three separate instances that God gave these people up (over) to their sins (verses 24, 26, and 28). In giving them up (over) to their sins, God basically said, “If that’s the path you want, have at it. It’s all yours.”
Admittedly, 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 and Romans 1:18-32 refer to lost people rather than Christians. This shouldn’t be taken to mean, however, that the Christian can reject God’s personal message to him or her and get off scot-free. And so I’ll ask you, the reader, right now, “Has God told you something lately?” Well, if He has, how did you respond to the message? Did you heed it and make the necessary changes? Or did you reject it and stay your course? If the latter describes you, then consider this post as God’s way of warning you yet again to heed His message. And consider yourself downright fortunate that He’s not already sealed you in your chosen path.