On Herod's birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced for Herod and his group. Herod was very pleased with her. So Herod promised that he would give her anything she wanted. Herodias told her daughter what to ask for. So she said to Herod, "Give me the head of John the Baptizer here on this plate." King Herod was very sad. But he had promised to give the daughter anything she wanted. And the people eating with Herod had heard his promise. So Herod ordered that the thing she asked be done. He sent men to cut off John's head in the prison. And the men brought John's head on a plate and gave it to the girl. Then the girl took the head to her mother, Herodias. John's followers came and got his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus what happened.
— Matthew 14:6-12 NLT
"Up to no good." My parents and grandparents used that phrase a lot when I was growing up. As I've come to middle adulthood, I like the phrase, too! There are some things, some activities and some places, that are only for those folks who are "up to no good." Our decision to sin and betray our faith occurs when we choose to put ourselves in those places because we know what they're about. Once we're there and involved, it becomes very difficult not to get sucked into the vile activities involved.
The only thing that was greater than Herod's fear of the people was his sinfulness. Bedding his brother's wife, he has his niece/step-daughter perform a lustful dance that arouses his passion and the vilest of instincts among his drunken companions.
Clearly this is a situation where everyone is "up to no good." The results are tragic and horrifying. The despicable way that John's body is desecrated speaks volumes of the decadence and debauchery that have taken over in Herod's world.
The clear lesson for you and me is to avoid the presence of evil and the places where everyone is "up to no good."
Holy and merciful Father, guard my heart from wickedness and guide my steps away from evil. Through your Spirit, give me the gift of discernment so that I may recognize when Satan is trying to lure me into situations that are disastrously evil and vile. I want to serve you in honor and integrity. Please forgive me for my sin and empower me to do your work. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
- Romans 13:11-14
- 1 Peter 4:3-4
- Ephesians 5:10-12
About This Devotional
What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.
What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.