William Andrew Dillard
LIVING IN THE PRESENCE OF THE ALMIGHTY
The world has seen more than its share of philosophers, particularly of a religious nature. The stoics strive for indifference in pain or joy. The Gnostics know it all and cannot be taught. The Agnostics cannot know anything for sure and discount anyone who thinks he does. Pantheists see every form of life highest to lowest as being God manifest in those forms. Hindus and others believe in reincarnation: that living well advances the form of one’s next appearance, and living poorly the opposite. The Epicurean believes the pleasure of food and drink is God, and that one should gorge those things often. If the various strains of these and others similar to them appear to be endless, it is perhaps because they are.
The ancient Greeks saw God in the form of idols of stone and wood. Paul hit their philosophy head on in his great sermon on Mars Hill recorded in Acts 17. His presentation is God-given, and brilliant. It should be given meditation time by every modern Christian. Think about it!
As Paul made his profound presentation of the one, true, living God to the philosophers on Mars Hill, he capitalized on their acknowledgment that there was an “unknown God.” He further argued in the words of their own poets that we are the offspring of God, therefore, God could not be likened to gold, silver, stone graven by art and man’s device.
Perhaps the most astounding thing those philosophers heard, and a considerable number of folks today, too, is that He is not far from everyone of us. People put much stock in privacy. They just want to be secluded from everyone and everything at times. The idea is so pervasive that some actually feel they are truly alone in ultimate privacy. They would do well to review the 138th Psalm. The Psalmist’s basic question, verse 7, is “ Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” The ultimate answer is there is no such place in the universe. The eyes of the Lord run to and fro in the universe of men. There is no refuge from His presence. He is only a prayer away from cries of our heart, and His arms are outstretched to receive all who cry out to Him in repentance and faith. Paul nailed it. God is not remote, rather He is not far from everyone of us! How comforting always, and especially in this wonderful Christmas season.