He is so Close!

SDA JournalDevotional


Scripture: So that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’  Acts 17:27-28 (NKJV)

Observation: Not far. The whole clause is very emphatic, and literally reads: “And yet He is not far from each one of us.” There is no doubt expressed in Paul’s words; he is rather making a positive statement of fact. The Lord is near to men, even when they do not acknowledge Him. This makes it a comparatively simple matter for men to find God, for He is by their side, awaiting their awakening and aiding their efforts to discover Him. God can and does reveal Himself according to the measure of zeal and earnestness shown by those who seek Him. At this point the Stoics would see parallels between their own teaching and Paul’s thinking, but the Epicureans would be repelled, for the apostle’s words constituted an attack on the basic atheism of their system.
28. In him we live. The whole clause literally reads: “In [or “by”] Him we are living, and are being moved, and are existing.” The words of the apostle express the thought that not merely our initial dependence is on the Creator, but that all our activities—physical, mental, and spiritual—are derived from Him. In the teaching of Paul the personality of the omnipotent, omniscient God is not merged, as is the God of the pantheist, in the impersonal Soul of the world, but stands forth with awful distinctness in the character of Creator and Sustainer of all life. “Through the agencies of nature, God is working, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment, to keep us alive, to build up and restore us … The power working through these agencies is the power of God” (MH 112, 113). [The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 6. 1980 (F. D. Nichol, Ed.) (353). Review and Herald Publishing Association.]

Application:  Sometimes God feels so far away, it is as if He were nowhere near us, just when we need Him most.  If it’s any consolation, even Jesus felt that way once while hanging from the cross at Calvary.  With the weight of the sins of the world on His shoulders, it seemed to Jesus as if He had been abandoned by His own Father with Whom He had shared eternity.  And maybe that scene gives us an indication why we feel so far away from God; sin makes us feel far from Him who is so close to us!
That’s why these words from the Apostle Paul, declared to the Greek philosophers, are so encouraging.  He wasn’t reminding some Christians that God us near to us; He was telling those who didn’t even know or believe in God.  What that tells me is that God is near each of us even when we reject Him, deny Him, or even rebel against Him.  He reminds of His presence with words such as, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5), or “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Mat. 28:20 ASV).
On those days when we feel alone, abandoned by God, remind yourself of these words and be encouraged by knowing that God is very close to you and your family, that He will never leave us, that He will be with us every step of the way until the end of this race.

A Prayer You May Say:  Father God, thank You for being with us, very near to us, even when we don’t feel close to You.  And thank You because You never abandon us in spite of ourselves.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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