Why are there so many different peoples on the planet? Why are they born where they are, and in the time and circumstances in history that are their lot? These are interesting questions, and of great importance, as these things seem to make a lot of difference in people’s lives.
One of the answers to this that God gives is in Acts 17:26-27.
And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us.
Wherever and whenever a person is born, God’s purpose for them is to seek a relationship with him – that they might come to know him. Paul is here talking with Greek philosophers and intellectuals of the day who gathered in Athens to chase down the latest idea. The human problem of course is that, rather than feeling our way toward God, we end up feeling our way away from him. Paul refers to this as ignorance. But he makes it clear that there is a way out – the way of repentance. Turn around from going away from God and move towards him. Everyone needs to do this, since the day of reckoning is coming when Jesus will appear and call everyone to account. We know this is true, because Jesus is alive from the dead.
It’s a message that took the first century world by storm and turned it upside down. It’s a message that people everywhere need to hear if they are to reach out and find God. And God has entrusted us with it. What a glorious privilege and responsibility – to live out and speak out this good news to the people God has put on the planet at our time in history. Let’s support and encourage one another, especially our global partners, as we give ourselves to this great and urgent task.