Lord, “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (Psa. 119:130). I praise You.
Read Mark 6:14-29
 King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”  Others said, “He is Elijah.” And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.”  But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!”  For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married.  For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”  So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to,  because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.  Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee.  When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.”  And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”  She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” “The head of John the Baptist,” she answered.  At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”  The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her.  So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison,  and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother.  On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWho did people think Jesus was? Were they right?
Like a sudden sword thrust, or the spark that sets a forest ablaze, Herod is surprised by the swiftness of his rash words and their effect (22; compare Prov. 12:18; Jas. 3:5). He had protected John in the past (20), but the wife he should never have taken manipulates his lack of self-control for her own ends (19,21,24). John’s tongue, on the other hand, had spoken truth (17,18). Here was a prophet who stood up against a king, fearlessly facing a corrupt ruler, not backing down even when thrown into prison. You may not wear a camel’s hair shirt or a crown, but which man do you more closely resemble in your speech, John or Herod? Does your tongue frequently run away with you, steering you into trouble (Jas. 3:4)? Or do you speak truthfully, no matter what the personal cost? Jesus said, “out of the overflow of his heart [the] mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). In other words, my speech displays what’s going on in my heart. Words matter in and of themselves, but they have a further significance: they reveal our heart’s attitudes and how closely (or not) we align with the character of Jesus.
Ask God to forgive you for any rash, unkind or unwise words that you may have spoken recently.
Good Lord, guide and guard my thoughts and my speech. Keep me from unwise or unkind words, I pray.
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