ODJ: History Matters

October 29, 2018 

READ: Acts 17:26-31 

From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries (v.26).

Theologian George Ladd once rhetorically asked, “Does mankind have a destiny? Or do we jerk across the stage of time like wooden puppets, only to have the stage, the actors and the theatre itself destroyed by fire, leaving only a pile of ashes and the smell of smoke?”

A close look at the archives of history shows us a different story. From New Zealand to Alaska we find God’s fingerprint in history, geography and culture.

Paul certainly had confidence in God’s active involvement in history and His plan to direct history to a final goal. He boldly talked about this topic when he was invited by Greek philosophers to the Areopagus (an ancient court in Athens). Paul confessed that because God is the Creator of the whole world, He doesn’t need anything from humans, and “he decided beforehand when [the nations] should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries” (Acts 17:26). Every nation, every people group is equal before God. And though they’re unique in language, culture and period in history, He desires all of them to love Him.

As Paul proclaimed, God’s “purpose was for [all] nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way towards him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us” (v.27). He is calling all peoples to repentance because His final goal is “a day for judging the world with justice by the man [Christ] he has appointed” (v.31). If the Athenians would believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection and repent, their sins would be forgiven.

May we live with great hope, recognising God’s mighty hand in history and remembering “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

—Estera Pirosca Escobar

365-day plan: Acts 14:1-28

Read Romans 1:20 and note how God has revealed His character through history. 
How have you seen God at work in your personal history and in the history of your nation? What can you learn about Him through what He’s done?