Acts 12:20–13:3 (NKJV)
20 Now Herod had been very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; but they came to him with one accord, and having made Blastus the king’s personal aide their friend, they asked for peace, because their country was supplied with food by the king’s country.Acts 12:20-24
21 So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. 22 And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” 23 Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.
24 But the word of God grew and multiplied.
There is a powerful image portrayed here as Herod’s death is juxtaposed with the church’s growth and success. Herod opposed the church, seeking to kill some of its leaders. He was lauded by people seeking his favor as a god. He did not stop them, but instead seemed to enjoy the adulation of the people, truly receiving this designation as a person of deity. Many of the kings of ancient days allowed themselves to be thought of as gods, or at least some derivation of god, or god-like. In this dispensation of the Spirit, God intended to establish Himself again firmly as the only deity. This is another example of a person dying when flaunting God’s commands (Uzzah touching the ark of the covenant, Ananias and Sapphira lying to God) and shows all who will see that there is only one God, and that is Jehovah. There is only one Savior, and that is Jesus. There is only one spirit that will lead, guide, comfort, and empower, and that is the Holy Spirit, and His church will prevail!
25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark.
1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.Acts 12:25 – 13:3
This passage records the fulfillment of Saul(Paul)’s first evangelistic work. He and Barnabus returned to Antioch to visit with the church and its leaders there. While they were there, in a time of prayer and fasting, the Holy Spirit separated out Saul and Barnabus to go on a missionary trip. They fasted and prayed more, and then laid hands on them, sending them away to fulfil the work to which they were called.
Sending is a real work of the church. We are to raise up ministers and send them out to evangelize the world. When the church is dormant concerning evangelism and missions, the gospel does not spread and the church begins to die. In this powerful example, God struck down a king and the Holy Spirit ordained two men to lead a powerful evangelistic mission throughout much of the known world. God showed that when people oppose Him, they will be removed, and when people love and follow Him, He will direct their lives in powerful ways. Saul and Barnabus embarked on what is called the first missionary journey, which spread the gospel even further. Listen to the voice of God, not the voice of men, when decided who you should worship and who you should shun. God’s voice is the only one that will lead you in the right path.