Paul stands in the midst of the Areopagus and addresses the philosophers and “religious” men of Athens (Acts 17:16-34). His eye had taken in the objects of their worship . . . and his spirit was exasperated at the folly of such “smart guys” thinking that “the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.” What foolishness! But one thing these idols did indicate, is that these men had a homing instinct.
Paul, in his dissertation as to the identity of “the unknown god,” provides a masterful summary of the dynamics put in play by “the God who made the world and everything in it.” He explains that this God is the Lord of heaven and earth and, as such, doesn’t live in temples made by man. Nor is He dependent on human hands to meet His needs and satisfies His appetites. In fact, this God is supreme . . . He the genesis of everything else. He is the One who, in Himself, gives life and sustaining breath to all mankind. This is not some puny fake god that is put on a shelf or encased in a shrine. But Paul’s God, as declared by the prophet Isaiah, is a God whose throne is heaven, and the earth is His footstool (Isa. 66:1). And as such, He has put within the heart of men a homing instinct.
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, in the hope that they might feel their way toward Him and find Him. Yet He is actually not far from each one of us . . . (Acts 17:26-27 ESV)
That they should seek God. That they should pursue their homing instinct.
Creation bearing testimony to all men that something greater than themselves exists. The heavens stirring the souls of all people to have an innate sense of a dynamic that exists beyond just their five senses. Though creation testifies of a Creator, and though they seek God, and though He is “actually not far from each one of us,” they are blindfolded by sin. Like children playing pin the tail on the donkey, they wander towards something in hope of hitting the mark and securing some sort of benefit, but don’t know exactly where it is or what the prize could be.
Enter “the 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 17:30-31 ESV)
Turn your eyes away from your idols and altars and look to the Man, to the One who has conquered death. Take off the blindfold and gaze intently on Him who, through the validation of resurrection, can be believed when He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Stop groping aimlessly, arrogantly relying on your own ingenuity and intuition, and confess that you are blinded by sin and in need of a Savior who can give sight to the blind. Humble yourselves before the God of heaven and believe that the One He has sent to “judge the world in righteousness” has also paid the price for the world’s unrighteousness. And that, for all who believe, there is no condemnation because they are in Christ Jesus the Righteous One (Rom. 8:1).
O’, how hard men and women have worked at suppressing their homing instinct. Many not seeking any god, but instead setting themselves up as their own idols. Others refusing to acknowledge in their head what they sense to be true in their hearts.
But for those who, by God’s grace, have heard the call to come home, and have responded by faith, to them belongs the prize . . . life to the full. Knowing abiding communion with the Creator, because of the finished work of the cross through His Son. Fully assured of eternity in His presence . . . confident they’re going home.
By His grace . . . for His glory.