Reflection on Mark 6:14-29

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Scripture

Deeply grieved, the king regretted his promise to her, but since he had made his vow in front of his honoured guests, he could not deny her request.

Observation

King Herod hears about Jesus and what people are saying about Him. Some people insist that he is John the Baptist resurrected. Herod believes this and becomes disturbed.

Previously, Herod had had John arrested because John was publicly rebuking Herod for his immorality in marrying Herodias. At a feast for Herod’s birthday, his stepdaughter danced for the assembled dignitaries. He was delighted and promised her whatever she requested. At her mother’s urging, she requests John’s head on a platter. Reluctantly, Herod acquiesced to her demand.

Application

Our words can imprison us and others so we should be careful about what we say. Where the text says “The king regretted his promise,” an early Syrian version says he was “tied in a knot,” a very graphic description.

Our words have power to free us or enslave us.

A year ago I made a promise to “try to” do something. It seemed impossible at that point, but the promise seemed to be led by the Holy Spirit. For six months, I prayed daily for the grace to do what I had said I would try to achieve. Finally a breakthrough came as the Lord lifted me to a higher level of faith.

A vow uttered from the human soul constricts us or “ties us in a knot.” A godly promise can take us upward and higher. The difference is the source of the promise, whether it is energised by the spirit or by the flesh.

When we discover that we have spoken foolishly we should immediately take it to the Lord and seek His direction. His ways are higher than our ways, and His wisdom exceeds all human wisdom. He will show us how to be free of a fleshly promise or vow.

Prayer

Thank you Lord that you set me free from foolish vows and promises. Help me to control my tongue and only make declarations that honour you. Amen.

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