-Acts 17:16-32. AGAIN, God has had me in Acts 17. This time, with a different twist. Read it from God’s point of view, as if instead of Paul, it’s God in the story. See if you read it the way the Lord described it to me. My (His) comments are in bold.
Amplified Bible (AMP)
16 Now while Paul (God) was awaiting them at Athens (substitute AMERICA), his (His) spirit was grieved and roused to anger as he (He) saw that the city was full of idols. (American Idol!)
17 So he (He) reasoned and argued in the synagogue with the Jews and those who worshiped there, and in the marketplace [where assemblies are held] day after day with any who chanced to be there.
(Notice who He is reasoning and arguing with…the JEWS. That is You and Me. He is trying to get through to us. Day after Day. Every day. And still….)
18 And some also of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him and began to engage in discussion. And some said, What is this babbler with his scrap-heap learning trying to say? Others said, He seems to be an announcer of foreign deities—because he preached Jesus and the resurrection. (The Epicureans and the Stoics both had a philosophy of “self-love” through pleasure, although they differed in the method of getting there. Sounds like us, America.)
19 And they took hold of him and brought him to the [a]Areopagus [Mars Hill meeting place], saying, May we know what this novel (unheard of and unprecedented) teaching is which you are openly declaring?
20 For you set forth some startling things, foreign and strange to our ears; we wish to know therefore just what these things mean—
21 For the Athenians (Americans), all of them (and by extension, all of us), and the foreign residents (strangers in a strange land, in this world but not OF it) and visitors among them spent all their leisure time in nothing except telling or hearing something newer than the last— (TV. Movies. Video Games. Tabloids. Gossip. Adultery. Fornication. Etc. In a quick vision I saw people gossiping standing in church. Hello! This is US!)
22 So Paul, standing in the center of the Areopagus [Mars Hill meeting place], said: Men of Athens (America), I perceive in every way [on every hand and with every turn I make] that you are most religious or very reverent to demons. (DEMONS! Idol worship is satanic.)
23 For as I passed along and carefully observed YOUR objects of worship (God KNOWS what Our idols are, what we worship instead of Him), I came also upon an altar with this inscription, To the unknown god. (I AM UNKNOWN to this people.) Now what you are already worshiping as unknown, this I set forth to you.
(God goes on to describe Himself! This is truly awesome!)
24 The God Who produced and formed the world and all things in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in handmade shrines.
25 Neither is He served by human hands, as though He lacked anything, for it is He Himself Who gives life and breath and all things to all [people]. (He doesn’t NEED us. We NEED Him.)
26 And He made from one [common origin, one source, one blood] all nations of men to settle on the face of the earth, having definitely determined [their] allotted periods of time and the fixed boundaries of their habitation (their settlements, lands, and abodes),
27 So that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after Him and find Him, although He is not far from each one of us.
28 For in Him we live and move and have our being; as even some of your [own] poets have said, For we are also His offspring.
29 Since then we are God’s offspring, we ought not to suppose that Deity (the Godhead) is like gold or silver or stone, [of the nature of] a representation by human art and imagination, or anything constructed or invented.
(This is where it gets heavy!)
30 Such [former] ages of ignorance God, it is true, ignored and allowed to pass unnoticed; but now (NOW!) He charges all people everywhere to repent ([b]to change their minds for the better and heartily to amend their ways, with abhorrence of their past sins), (This is where we still are, for the moment, but we are headed into the next paragraph QUICKLY!)
31 Because He has fixed a day when He will judge the world righteously (justly) by a Man Whom He has destined and appointed for that task, and He has made this credible and given conviction and assurance and evidence to everyone by raising Him from the dead. (God talking about Himself!!)
32 Now when they had heard [that there had been] a resurrection from the dead, some scoffed (like always); but others said, We will hear you again about this matter (and joined with us, sided with us and joined our team).
Thank you Lord for revealing Yourself to us through Your Word. Thank you Lord for opening our eyes and our ears. We long to be closer to you, draw near to