“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hand. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ …
“For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:24-28 & 31
When I read this today, I cried. It’s not as if I haven’t read the gospel proclaimed before, but for some reason, it hit home differently for me this morning. I love how personal God is to us. He determined the times set for us and the exact places we should live! Doesn’t that seem incredibly detailed and loving? And I love how Paul points out that we can seek him, but really, he’s not far from each of us.
In verses 29 and 30 (which I didn’t copy down here), Paul explains that we, as God’s children, must know that God is not like gold or silver or stone, or an idea fashioned by man’s skill or thought, and that whereas before, he overlooked such ignorance, he now commands us to repent. I love the clincher that comes next – he’s appointed an exact day where he will judge with justice (I love the word justice) by the man he has appointed – Jesus! We know this and can count on it because he resurrected Jesus, thus conquering death. Death has no hold! Jesus has redeemed us and we have the gift of eternal life. What a story!
Somehow, I never cease to be amazed by this amazing love song. God created us with the purpose that we would then seek his face. We (all of us, each and every human) will never be complete, we will never fill that inevitable, unspeakable void, until we turn back to him. We must acknowledge him and surrender to his love and goodness. He created the earth and everything in it – and yet he loves us personally and longs for our hearts’ devotion. He hung the stars in space – and yet he knows the number of hairs on our heads. He’s so vast and all-encompassing – and yet even if we reject him, he loves us and pursues us. Wow. I love him!