|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Knowing God”
Our Bible verse for today: “… he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being …” Acts 17:27-28 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “God is not far off”
Acts 17:16-34 is a fascinating passage of scripture which records Paul’s encounter with the scholars and philosophers of Athens. It tells us much, not just about those men in Athens in that day, but about humans in general down through the ages. And it also reveals an essential understanding about God.
In verses 22-23 Paul noted that the people of Athens were very religious. Everywhere he looked there were shrines and idols to a plethora of gods and goddesses. There was even one to “An Unknown God”. They had created that altar to cover themselves just in case they had somehow missed a god they weren’t aware of. This fascination with spiritual things was completely consistent with human nature in all cultures. As we’ve learned previously, and as Solomon taught in Ecclesiastes 3:11, God created human beings with an awareness of eternity in our hearts. All people have an inborn understanding that there is a spiritual realm, God does exist, and there is more than just this life.
In verses 24-28 Paul then goes on to explain what theologians have since come to call the Omnipresence of God. “Omnipresence” is a fifty-cent theological term which simply means that God is everywhere, all the time. There is no place that God is not.
This is what Paul meant when he said to them, “… he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being.” This is also the truth King David was reflecting on in Psalm 139:7-10 when he wrote, “Where can I go to escape your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I live at the eastern horizon or settle at the western limits, even there your hand will lead me; your right hand will hold on to me.” Through the prophet Jeremiah God Himself declared in Jeremiah 23:24, “Can a person hide in secret places where I cannot see him? – the Lord’s declaration – “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?”
This is something that’s true about God and which we need to remember. All too often we think of Him as “the God in heaven”, as if He’s far off in some distant place. No, He’s actually right here with us. He’s closer than we realize. In fact, we’re never out of His presence.
The reason we can and should interact with God as if He’s sitting in the chair next to us is because He is. He’s even closer than that. We’re surrounded by His presence; we exist in His presence; we are never out of His presence. He’s not some far-off God, He is right here with us.
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