“For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and holy, and observed him: and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.” (Mark 6:20)
As it turned out, Herod’s fear of John the Baptist was only a mild case, since we know that even though he wished the man no harm, because of a foolish oath prompted by lust, he had him put to death (v.26-27). Actually, we could say that Herod’s overall response to the preaching of John was varied, to say the least. It struck fear to his heart, partly because he knew it was not hypocritical—John was “a just and holy man.” And he was fascinated enough by it to be moved to action on occasion (“…when he heard him, he did many things…”). We could say, in reality, he was glad for the opportunity to hear the prophet. But, as we know, Herod’s fascination with John stopped just short of persuading him to do the right thing in a clench.
It is easy to find ourselves experiencing mixed emotions when we are presented with Biblical truth, whether through a human instrument or by “direct feed” from the Word of God We may have enough spiritual insight to know we are hearing from God and experience a blessing—even be moved to action at times. But when the chips are down, we may find ourselves unable to make the right decision. And often, like Herod, it is because we want to save face.
We should be careful about toying with truth. When it comes to a plain directive, it’s not a “see if it feels right to you” kind of thing. Even in the case of a singular, individual direction on secondary things, the proper response is the same for all of us: obedience. To do otherwise is to end up the way Herod did: “exceeding sorry” (v.26).
Some people have never been truly infected with Bible principles; instead, they seem to have been vaccinated against them.