October 14, 2016
From one man He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. -Acts 17:26
I have often pondered this.
I still don’t really understand it. God is indeed sovereign. He determines much more than we are willing to acknowledge, and more than we notice. “He governs in the affairs of men“.
What does this say about current times in which men move almost at will, wherever they want to move? (At least in America and some Western nations. Then there are the Gypsies and nomads.)
I believe, at the least, this means it is OK to have differences: varying cultures, varying language, different customs. This adds to the color and rich variety of the race of men.
We are all descended from one man. That means we are of one blood. In relative terms, our differences are superficial. At the core we are one. We make much of differences, and of course in this passage God himself acknowledged them. But his plain statement is we are of one blood.
All through history there have been arguments over boundaries. Wars are fought. One group of people moves in unbidden, and uninvited, and everything changes. How does this Scripture apply to that? Notice God has appointed the period of time, as well as the boundaries, of where a people should live. Is that time forever, or did it apply to a certain length of time – a season?
I do not know all the applications of this, or if it applied only to the times in which it was written or if it was meant to apply through all history. What it does say is that God is sovereign.
We fail greatly in our attitudes. Whereas humility is what God wants, we revel in pride. That leads to uncountable poor consequences.
Why do we take such pride in our cultural backgrounds and magnify our differences? These are not of our own making. God appointed the differences. I think a better response would be humble gratitude, and a greater appreciation of the others which God has created and appointed.
We have politicized everything, and polarization is at an all-time high. We make much of differences. We ignore our common thread. Our common beginning. Our common roots. I would surmise that this is because we are a lot of unbelievers.
We have cognitive dissonance about boundaries.
If they are ours, we will go to the wall for them. If another outside ourselves sets the boundaries, we like that idea not so much. Possibly this is why there is so much rebellion against God, and against His appointed and constituted authorities.
Good grief. We don’t even like the word “authorities”, unless it’s us. Then we’ll take all the power we can accumulate.
We place undue trust in the mind and machinations of humanity. We think we are so wise. We think just the right person can solve every problem we face. We take credit for things for which the credit does not belong to us.
Submission to the sovereignty of God, though, resolves issues. Giving up the insistence on relying first on the transitory ideas of mean would be helpful more than we know.
What are you doing with the appointments God has made in your life? Do you accept them or strain against them?