Good day, Kingdom Queens! Sometimes we can make common the scriptural accounts that seem more noble or popular or one-of-a-kind. In doing so, we may overlook some nuggets in the examples of people who were mentioned once, with no name, or without background information. This first stop in the unit on Avoiding the Heart of the Wicked Queen leads us to sisters, Drusilla and Bernice. I hope you’re ready for this one.
Click here to listen: Drusilla and Bernice
Also, for those who need a visual, scroll down and see the family tree here: Herod’s Family Tree
Family tree?! Yes ma’am, we examined the family tree of Herod the Great to see the line of wickedness that had a legal hold on these sisters (and their brother!). As well, we examined it to understand the reverse that our merciful God will provide an opportunity for the wicked to hear the Gospel and invite Christ and transformation into their lives.
The context of our study is Acts 21-26, with emphasis on chapters 23-26. Drusilla and Bernice were sisters, teenage brides, and known for immoral sexual sin. They were the 4th generation from Herod the Great, great-granddaughters of this man who tried to kill Jesus. Their great-uncle, Herod Antipas, was the king who beheaded John the Baptist. Their aunt Herodias was the one who engineered the situation to request John’s head. And their father, Herod Agrippa I, killed James and imprisoned Peter. Isn’t that something that all of this was in one family?! That’s perspective about the junk, the secrets, and the wickedness in our own family lines.
Our purpose for studying women like Drusilla and Bernice is to avoid their heart. Here are some ways to do that:
- Monitor and manage emotions
- Allow the Gospel message to touch our hearts
- Refuse to make a crutch out of the known wickedness in our hearts (“that’s just the way I am”)
Drusilla, first married at age 14, left her Jewish husband when Felix seduced her away through magic. Felix, a Gentile, took Drusilla as his wife. Together they heard Paul’s testimony and Felix was convicted about Paul’s exhortation to “righteousness, temperance and judgment” (Acts 24:25). Research says Paul referred to Felix as a corrupt politician and his illegal marriage to Drusilla.
Bernice was older, and in her lifetime the wife of three men and the mistress of two men. She also was known at two separate times to engage in an incestuous relationship with her brother, Herod Agrippa II. She, with her brother, had the opportunity to hear Paul as well. It is from this account that we get Agrippa’s famous response to Paul’s 27-verse report: “You almost persuaded me to be a Christian” (Acts 26:28).
There is not a record that Drusilla and Bernice, sisters who hated each other, ever got another chance to hear the Gospel. That’s a kind of haunting truth — that we must press through frustration and emotional gunk to discern the value of an encounter with the Gospel. We need to discern the weight of the experience, and even if we are embarrassed or ashamed still allow the Word entrance into our hearts.
Kingdom reigns are devalued by hard hearts. Selah, and love to all.