Yesterday we hiked up a 900 foot mountain cliff that overlooks the Dead Sea called Masada. King Herod designed and contrived the building of this fortress city. King Herod is known for two things: His building projects (building the unthinkable) and making enemies (he made them daily). Masada is a perfectly exhibits both of these things.
Masada is located in the Judea wilderness. Here it is dry and virtually nothing grows. This is the same wilderness in which Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights and David fled from Saul. Upon this fortress King Herod built steep walls, had two palaces (one for personal use and one for dignitaries) , deep cisterns scattered all over the mountain top for long term water supply, and he had workers bring tons of fertile dirt up the mountain so food could grow for a long term food supply, bathhouses, and a synagogue.
This fortress, sole purpose was a place that if an uprising in Israel happened he could seek long term safety and refuge. This is the same power hungry, paranoid, child-murdering king we read about in Matthew 2:1-18.
Truth be told, as believers in ministry, we can all have a bit of King Herod in us. Instead of building projects, in ministry we attempt to build our own mini-kingdoms. We can take undue praise and glory, for things that the Lord as clearly orchestrated and built though the work of His Spirit and His Word. Second, in ministry we can develop enemies. How often do we see churches falling apart because of relationships? And often seeing church leadership not being peacemakers (Matthew 5:9) in the process? Unfortunately both of these things all too much are the norm rather than the exception.
It’s important to look at the ruins of Masada and ask ourselves if we are building something that truly lasts? Is my ministry truly Christ driven or me driven? Do I have relationships that are currently in ruins?
Unfortunately, in the past I have done some kingdom building and had broken relationships. Christ is willing to set these things right if we do our part and repent and give up the sin driving them.
Remember it’s not about me, it’s all about Jesus.
Sterling Ottun, Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling, Church Ministry