“And the king was exceeding sorry, yet for his oath’s sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her.” (Mark 6:26)
King Herod was having a birthday party. After the main meal of the party, Herod provided some entertainment which consisted of his step-daughter’s dancing. It was a very lewd and immoral thing, and it so excited Herod that after the dance he told the girl he would give her anything she wanted. With the help of her vile mother, the girl requested the head of John the Baptist. This request was quite a shock to Herod (“was exceeding sorry”), yet he granted the request. Why did he grant such a wicked request? The answer is that he was motivated by the wrong motives. His evil motivations involved passion, priorities, and people.
Passion. This wicked deed of Herod started with the lewd entertainment of the dancing of his step-daughter which stirred up his base passion. Herod then let this passion rule him instead of principle. Bad entertainment will always corrupt. In every town and city we have places of bad entertainment—bars, dance halls, movie houses, and gambling casinos—and they all motivate to evil conduct. They cause passion to rule instead of principle. If you want to stay holy, keep away from unholy places.
Priorities. “For his oath’s sake.” Herod’s word had more priority in his life than God’s Word. He was more concerned about keeping his word than God’s Word. This resulted in his doing a very evil deed of ordering the beheading of John the Baptist. You will never live a pure life if your word or men’s word has priority over God’s Word. To keep yourself from doing vile evil, God’s Word must have priority in your life.
People. “And for their sakes.” Herod was more concerned about the honor of people than the honor of God. He wanted to please the people at his banquet more than he wanted to please God. He was more afraid of ridicule from the people than about retribution from God. Herod wanted to be popular with unholy people more than be popular with a Holy God. Such a motivation will lead you to much evil.