For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. (KJV)
There are two major ways to view God as an individual – A GIVER OR A RECEIVER. Many religions in the world, including many denominations in the church today, have promoted the idea of God being a receiver such that the first thing that comes to mind when people think about God is what they must give to Him. But this is contrary to the Bible picture of God. Hear this: GOD IS A GIVER AND HE ONLY RECEIVES WHAT HE HAS FIRST GIVEN!. This can be explained carefully through the Scriptures. Our opening text is an excerpt from Paul’s message at Athens, a city given over to idolatry. They were so religious and superstitious that they had different idols or objects of worship and then had one for the unknown God.
The Athenians were known for always learning new things; exploring new gods! They considered Paul to be proclaiming other foreign gods. Paul began his message by showing them how the living God does not dwell in temples made with men’s hands and he is also not worshipped by men’s hands. Why? He made all things! How do you give to the One who made all things? This shatters the religious emphasis of a God who is desperately seeking to receive before He can bless, provide for, heal, save, and deliver. That is not the God of the bible. That’s a god fashioned according to the greed of men.
The moment you hear phrases like: “God is here to bless anyone who can give a thousand dollars”, just know that, that God is not the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He doesn’t receive in order to bless. He “blesses” so men can give to others. There is nothing God receives from men in the real sense. GOD IS A GIVER. Paul rounds off his discourse on Israel’s unbelief and God’s faithfulness to His covenant despite their unbelief with a doxology that expresses the greatness of God. In this, we learn that no one gives to Him to be repaid. How profound! Doesn’t this completely outlaw our vain belief in giving to God so He can repay us?
CONFESSION: I give because God first gave me, God is a giver and not a taker
Additional Studies: Acts 17:22-30, James 1:5-7, Romans 11:34-36