Acts 12:22

Cameron on Vermont state capitol steps.

Thursday, 8 December 2022

And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” Acts 12:22

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen).

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

The previous verse noted that Herod sat on his throne and gave an oration to the people. Now, in response to his words, it says, “And the people kept shouting.”

It is correct. The verb is imperfect, indicating that they shouted and continued to shout. And what they cried out was, “The voice of a god and not of a man!”

Various ideas on who shouted this can be considered. As this was a particular set day, it may be assumed that not only those of Tyre and Sidon were there but also people of Israel as well. Or it could be that only those of Tyre and Sidon were in attendance. Either way, the reaction to his speech was that he was more than just a mere mortal but was rather a god.

This is confirmed by the words of Josephus as well –

“And presently his flatterers cried out, one from one place, and another from another (though not for his good), that he was a god; and they added, ‘Be thou merciful unto us; for although we have hitherto reverenced thee only as a king, yet shall we henceforth own thee as a superior to mortal nature.’”

In the account of Josephus, it is implied that there were people of Israel in attendance, meaning they called out that his was the voice of a god as well. This is more likely the case based on the coming words of verse 12:24. The words of that verse provide a stark contrast between the words of verses 12:22 & 23. They also continue to explain the rejection of the words of the true God and their subsequent destruction and dispersal from the land.

As there is no article before “God” in the Greek, it signifies that this is probably speaking in the general sense of a divine being and not necessarily the Creator God. Regardless of that, the people before Herod are giving glory to that which is not God.

Life application: As humans, we have it in our nature to exalt others in an unhealthy manner. It has always been this way, but in modern times it has grown into various obsessions for many. Movie and TV personalities are just people. They have the ability to act well. But because we allow them into our homes each day, we begin to think of them as being greater than others. And yet, if acting is their only real ability, that is a rather pathetic person to idolize. It means that they aren’t really who they present themselves as.

Likewise, we may see a person who is very wealthy and equate that with high intelligence or outstanding effort. Hence, we seek after their words as if they are specialists in all areas. A notable example of this is Bill Gates. He got rich off computer technology. And yet, because of his wealth, he is sought out for advice in matters of health, climate, and other areas of which he has absolutely no expertise at all. In fact, he is a harmful person with a perverse agenda in many ways.

Physical strength or beauty leads to an immense amount of idolatry in our society. And yet, these are the most fleeting of all commodities. One car accident can destroy the body or mar the face of someone we idolized.

All such things are temporary, they are futile, and focusing on them is harmful. Let us think about Jesus, contemplate Him at all times, and worship God alone through Him. He is our Mediator. He is our Savior. He alone is the God/Man. He is Jesus.

O, Glorious God, forgive us for having idols set up in our hearts and in our minds. May we turn our eyes away from such things and focus on You. Nothing here can satisfy for more than a moment, and then it is gone. But in You is satisfaction forever and ever. May we look to You alone with eyes of love, thanks, and praise. Great are You, O God. Amen.