As the missionary journey continued, God was blessing the team with amazing success. As is always the case, with that success came spiritual attacks. So, Timothy and Silas put Paul on a boat to Greece and Paul landed in Athens. While he was taking in the city, He made an amazing discovery. These people who did nothing but sit around and search for meaning and purpose missed the one true source of both.
Paul addressed the philosophers and noted that these people had fashioned gods for every thought or situation. They had a God for every possible scenario. They even had a place for the unknown God. Paul went on to explain that they could know the unknown God, and that would in-fact change their lives. Some laughed at him, some simply pondered the notion as thinkers do, but there were some whose lives were changed.
My old preacher used to say, God created man in His image, and men have been trying to return the favor ever since. Paul was talking to a group of folks that had been trying to return the favor. They wanted to make gods that fit their plan rather than follow the true Adonai and allow His plan to unfold and shape their lives. Nothing has changed.
In our culture, we shape for ourselves gods that bring success, power, gratification, or any other self-perceived need we think we have. Since we are the designer of our gods, they have no real value–yet, we worship them with an intensity that would transform anyone that directed the energy in serving the one true God. Paul told these mighty philosophers and now tells us, “Use the wasted energy you expend upon your idols to seek the one true God; and get to know this ‘unknown’ God in your life.”
If we would seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, then all the other things we want, and need will be added to us.(Matt 6:33). That was a promise from the Lord then and remains so now. God is a gentleman, though. He will not force that upon us, we must follow willingly. But, if we will, He will meet our needs, fill our spirit, and prepare us for an eternity with Him in Glory. I think it well worth the effort to trust and follow the Lord!
God Bless You
14 Then the brothers immediately sent Paul off on his way to the sea, but Silas and Timothy remained there. 15 Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens, and after receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they departed.
Paul in Athens
16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. 18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. 19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.
Paul Addresses the Areopagus
22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,[c] 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for
“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;[d]
as even some of your own poets have said,
“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’[e]
29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 So Paul went out from their midst. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.