Read: Acts 17:16-31
While Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. —Acts 17:16
Bible in a year:
Exodus 9-11; Matthew 15:21-39
The Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, Ireland, has an extensive collection of ancient Bible fragments dating back to the second century AD. One fragment on display is a piece of Acts 17:16.
The message that ancient fragment displays, however, is as contemporary as today’s newspaper. It reads, “While Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols.” Paul was angered by the proliferation of idols in ancient Athens, and I am convinced he would be upset with us today.
Some idols that we see in today’s world are different than the ones in Paul’s day. Whether it’s wealth, fame, power, athletes, entertainers, or politicians, contemporary idols abound. As always, our spiritual enemy, Satan, seeks to lure us away from the Savior to the false worship of idols. Christians are not immune, and thus we must guard our hearts against self-righteous anger toward unbelievers who seem to worship everything but God.
We must also be drawn by Christ’s love to reach out to those who don’t know Him. Then, like the believers at Thessalonica, they may turn “to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thess. 1:9).
The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be,
Help me to tear it from Thy throne
And worship only Thee. —Cowper
An idol is anything that takes God’s rightful place.