“Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: ‘Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 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. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 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, 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, for
‘“In him we live and move and have our being”;
‘as even some of your own poets have said,
‘“For we are indeed his offspring.”
“‘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. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 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.’” Acts 17:22-31
Paul’s message to the Athenians addressed their spiritual curiosity with truth, upending their convoluted conclusion that an unknown god they worshiped they could also make. No, only the true, unique, living God would have planted such desire in them. He alone was their Creator and Source of life, and fully alive Himself, was near and intimately knowable. The gold and stones, the art and imagination of man, were all gifts from His hands, signposts leading to Him, objects and talents that displayed His creativity, magnificence, and glory. Even more, He had sovereignly appointed this time and place for them to hear this truth, to seek and find Him.
God made man in His image and planted eternity in every heart. Unlike any other creatures, we long to know what we can know only through divine inspiration. A fascination with spirituality is not the same as a real understanding of the one Spirit who ignites true worship of the unique holy God through Christ. Are there things and places we contort into more than they are? What idols of what-we-want-to-believe tenets, or shrines to success, have kept us from an authentic relationship with the knowable, personal Lord? What would God have us learn and act on today to know Him better? (Genesis 1:26-27; Ecclesiastes 3:11)
“Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art.
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word;
I ever with thee, and thou with me, Lord.
Thou my great Father, I thy true son,
thou in me dwelling and I with thee one.” ~Old Irish, translated by Mary Byrne (1880-1931)
Lord, may I daily know, love, exalt, and share You.