Acts Devotionals

Not Far From Us

We might try to out fox God, but the truth be said, no one and nothing catches God off guard.

(1) Think of God’s Word to Adam

Ge 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

God instructed Adan and Eve to procreate and fill the earth. By the time we get to the flood, although families spread and kept a reasonable distance between them … they did not fill the earth. Some might say those of Genesis chapter 5 did not know what God said to Adam. Actually they would have because of oral revelation being passed down. If they did not know what was said in Genesis chapter 1, how would Moses, who wrote Genesis have known? The Genesis Flood recorded from Genesis chapter 6 through 8 ends with God saying:

Ge 9:1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.

Once again this command was disobeyed with people living together and seeking to defy God building a structure to glorify the “greatness of man”.

Ge 11:3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

Due to the escalation of wickedness God sent the Flood … yet wickedness continued as did a refusal to spread throughout the earth, post the Flood. Due to God’s promise not to punish man again by a universal flood, He did something else to force man to separate and indwell the whole earth as He required.

Ge 11:5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. 6 The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” 8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel—because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

Unable to communicate with each other, families spread throughout the earth. When man is stubborn God at times uses drastic measure to bring His will about. In Paul speaking to the “meeting of the Areopagus”, he explained exactly who the unknown God is, which the statue pointed to … and for context, please read:

Ac 17:25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ 29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man’s design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”

1) God scattered the race across the planet. It is important for us to remember that God is almighty, sovereign and all powerful. Together man tried to out fox God, refusing to populate the earth … and failed. Now let’s get something out of the way immediately … God was not being hard case, difficult and unreasonable. His plan from the sixth day of creation was that man, the pinnacle of all creation was to “rule” the earth and the only way to do so was to dwell in all the earth. He placed all the minerals to eventually to be found in every part of the earth. He organized the seasons in different parts of the earth so that a variety of foods, vegetables, fruits, nuts, etc. could be grown. There were animals conducive to various lands that needed to be cared for. When God said to Adam and Eve … “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground” … He knew that to subdue the earth and rule over it man would need to multiply to fill the earth to accomplish God’s mandate. Paul tells us there is far more to it though:

Ac 17:26 that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

This is quite overwhelming …

(a) God determined the exact time frame that each person born would fit into. God set 1949 AD for me to be born and not 1452 BC. You were born at the exact time in the history of this world that God required you to be born and live on this planet! Get this … you are not a mistake! You were predestined to be born and exists on this planet! You fit precisely into God’s perfect puzzle that is unfolding each day. (b) God determined the exact part of the world you would be born in and live in. You being in your country is God’s design. There is nothing wrong with moving within your country, immigrating to another land or just working out of state or country for a season. But within the greater numbers of the land, God placed them there for His pleasure. He permitted that from one man, Adam, all people descend. This means, wherever man migrated to through his tongue being confused, God was behind him, directing him to the actual place he finds himself today. Whatever secular texts books might teach, God’s Word overrides! 2) God’s purpose in separating the race. At Babel, man created a religion with man at the helm. He was aggressively anti God and wanted to plan his future without God. Yet in separating man from man, distributing him throughout the earth was for another reason:

Ac 17:27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him.

You might ask … “how could man reach out and find God if he was far away from God?” The truth is that God is:

Ac 17:27 not far from each one of us

He is not far from man. He is present through the earth all the time. Listen to Paul’s teaching:

Rom 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

This is so mind boggling … man could find the true God without the Gospel … and when he does, and then hears the Gospel in its primitive form in the Old Testament or in is completed form in the New Testament onwards, he will accept it, believe it and follow it. What we saw yesterday about God and then today as well, reveals something of the sovereign grace, love, mercy and compassion of God.

Lord, help us to be far deeper in our understanding of the Scriptures and how they reveal how in every way, You had us in mind, as You shaped the planet with inhabitants, from which come. Amen.

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