July 13

Acts 17:16-34

Paul is in Athens, waiting for Silas and Timothy to arrive from Berea after the persecution of those violent, legalistic Jews coming over from Thessalonica. Paul sees that the people of Athens are largely involved in idol worship, so he goes into the synagogue and marketplace to speak to people about worshipping God. Philosophers challenged Paul, bringing him to Mars Hill, or Hill of Ares, or the Areopagus, a place where there was an open forum for debates. In a place where the community worshipped multiple gods, the people were expecting Paul to tell them about another god they could add to their faith.

Paul points to an idol the people had set up “to the unknown god.” They had so many gods, that they even set up a place of worship for any god they might be missing. Paul points to that altar and talks about the God they don’t know, Jehovah. What does Paul say about his God?

He made the world and everything in it, and He is Lord over all.
His presence is not contained to a building; He is everywhere in heaven and earth.
Jehovah doesn’t need anything. He is the source of life, breath, and all things.
He created human beings from one man.
God determines the boundaries and the reigns of nations.
God is near to each of us.
God hopes that people who are in spiritual blindness will search for Him and find Him.
In God is how we live and move and have our being.
God is our Father, and we are His offspring.
God cannot be molded into a metal to be worshipped.
God requires repentance.
He once overlooked ignorance, but now has given proof through Jesus’ resurrection.
He has appointed a day for Jesus to judge the world.

As in most places, some believed Paul, and some mocked him. The same is true for any of us. It takes humility of heart to receive from the Spirit of God.

Psalm 10-12

Psalm 10 is part two of an acrostic poem, meaning stanzas begin with an alphabetical letter from the Hebrew alphabet. Psalm 9 was part one with a description of wickedness outside of Israel, and chapter 10 is about corruption from within Israel, including oppression for the poor and fatherless.

In Psalm 11, David speaks of the troubles from wicked people who surround his life. He longs for the righteousness of God in his community. He speaks of God waiting to test the hearts of people, watching actions and behaviors to reveal hearts.

In Psalm 12, David wants to see people living for God, but he is surrounded by people who don’t. He writes songs and poems to express his heart for God to be seen and known.

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