God and gods

Day 192

Prayer for the day

Our God will come and will not keep silence; before him there is a consuming flame, and round about him a raging storm.

Scripture for the day

Psalm 4-6, Acts 17:16-34

The Psalmists are great at asking tough questions. They rarely give pat answers, and often leave us thinking hard about our own life and commitment.

David asks such a question in the fourth Psalm. He queries the people around him: “How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?” A difficult question that probes deeply. It’s a question designed to make its hearers uncomfortable. Not simply for the sake of being uncomfortable, however. The question is asked so that those who are worshipping false gods and are chasing delusions will turn from their current ways and come to worship the one David calls the true God: YHWH.

It’s not a politically correct question by any means. Especially in the 21st century, calling someone’s god or journey “false” is one of the most insulting things we can utter.

We can see Paul encountering a similar problem with the same question when he is brought to the Areopagus. The city of Athens was filled with religious scholars and philosophers, people seeking the truth in their scholarship, their worship, their thought, and their lives. Their search had made them pluralistic and accepting, but had also broadened their minds so much that almost nothing was off-limits. When this happens, society struggles to have any fixed points spiritually or morally.

Paul addresses this not by yelling or scolding, but by looking at their search and validating it. They are seeking something good. He then addresses what they’ve been seeking, saying that he’s actually found what they’ve all been looking for, and teaches them the good news of Jesus Christ.

Whatever the reason or situation, the believer is to be living the gospel of Jesus Christ. HOW we live and speak will largely depend on the situations in which we find ourselves. Paul did it one way, David another. In the end, the glory of God was the aim of both men.

May it be ours as well.

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