The Dangers of The People Pleaser
In this text we find that Herod kills James, why is James Killed? because he is going about sharing the Good News, that Jesus has made a way for the people to overcome death - He has made the crossing to God possible. This is not something that Herod wants - he doesn't want to lose control of the people - his power base. He kills James and this pleases the people. He may not have expected his actions to be received so well, he may have thought that it went against the desires of the public. The idea that getting rid of more followers of Jesus doesn't seem to bother Herod - he is not interested in deaths, he is interested in his popularity. So he goes and arrests Peter, to put him on trial, and probably a public execution. It is extraordinary the amount of suffering the believers are now going through, Stephen has been martyred, and now James, the stakes are definitely ramping up. Peter is in Prison and the church prays for him!
How powerful is prayer? We can never know until we try it, and this prayer is answered by God! He is miraculously freed, the chains FALL OFF him! He walks away from the guards following an angel away! One soldier? NO FOUR SQUADS!
The people were pleased to have him arrested, but the church is pleased to have him freed! The will of God and his people, lined up, and so satisfying! You can hear the excitement in the voice of Rhoda! And how wonderful to see, just for a moment, the servant girl, not separate from the affairs of the house, but completely included - the household of the believers is not one of separation but togetherness. She is so excited she omits to give him entry - it must have been a detail that they may have looked back on and laughed about!
Certainly it was no joke for those who had guarded him, they were executed by Herod after they were cross examined! If only he had thought about it for a moment! How does Peter get free? Who would have done it? What a fool Herod is - what a fool some are today when the miraculous happens and they simply pass it off as another unusual accident and look no further! He should have asked Peter!
Now remember at the beginning of the passage, James is executed by Herod, and it pleased the people. Well now, Herod takes his seat above the masses and proceeds to give an oration - one that obviously pleases them, because they start chanting and worshipping him. Do you remember dagon? (1 Sam 5:3) Here Herod, just like Dagon, is toppled from his throne. He dies in front of the people who worship him - literally eaten up by worms - rotten to the core. God is not to be mocked.
Beware of being a people pleaser (you need to check yourself for your motives.) People pleasers end up doing what is wrong. Repentance is turning about. The best thing we can ever seek to be is God pleasers.