Discover His heart: He is the known God; and in Him, all things exist
A somber moment in my life was a visit to Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It’s a monument that honors fallen soldiers of war whose remains had not been identified but who are our heroes just the same. We would never want to miss out on the opportunity to honor and remember those who so valiantly gave their lives for our freedom. The Greeks of Paul’s day had a monument to an “Unknown” as well because these pantheistic Greeks did not want to miss out on an opportunity to honor and worship all gods. In Paul’s visit to Athens, he let them know exactly who their unknown god really was.
@ Acts 17
“So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: ‘Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.” (22-23)
Paul didn’t try to impress the council with his exhaustive knowledge of Jewish history, but he talked in terms that were relevant to his listeners. He talked to them about the attributes of the true and living God they had not yet discovered but who was the God of their search. They had reserved a place for God in their thinking but could not put a name or face to Him, so Paul did his best to enlighten them.
“He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since He is Lord of heaven and earth, He doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve His needs—for He has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need.” (24-25) In Verse 16 we learn that Paul was deeply troubled by the many idols he saw everywhere in the city of Athens, but the God they were seeking could not be put on a shelf or displayed on an altar. Men could not create God in their own fashion because God is the creator “who made the world and everything in it.”
Our world today is similar to Paul’s day in Athens. Men today are searching for the “unknown” to fill their deep longings inside. They talk about and worship a God that they do not know, or they create a god that sits on a shelf to serve their purposes when needed. The true and living God will never live inside the definition of man’s understanding of Him. Many individuals want to create a God that fits their own image of Him. Paul added, “For in HIM we live and move and exist,” and it’s not the other way around. (28)
Our job is to bring an understanding of God through the message of Jesus Christ to those we meet each day. The Holy Spirit’s role is to help us present a relevant message and to touch the hearts of our listeners. Of course, it’s difficult for us to talk about someone who is unknown to us or to share a testimony we don’t have. God expects us to be informed and equipped just as Paul was in his day to combat the darkness in our world.
Moving Forward: My very existence today is in HIM, and my every move is by HIM. I pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to share this truth with others today.
Tomorrow @ I John 1-3