It seems that every so often God gets me into a particular chapter of the Word, and won’t let me out of it. I know when He does this it’s because He is trying to get a point across, teach something, release revelation hidden away in His Word….something.
About a year or so ago it was Matthew 17. I had read it so many times and had been in it so long that I started to use it as my password!! In fact, one night I was in Yoakum, Texas with Paulette Reed as her ministry assistant. We were at the home of our host there and God told me to read Matthew 17 again. I was so aggravated with reading this same chapter over and over again that I argued with God and was a pretty petulant little child — I wanted to read something else. I told Him I was tired of reading Matthew 17.
Whew. I’m sure God just crossed His arms and rolled His eyes, maybe tapped that mighty toe, but as always, He just tolerated me. His response? “Fine. Read Mark 6.” Just in case you are not a Bible scholar, Mark 6 is the same exact story as Matthew 17, the story of Jesus’ transfiguration. Go figure. Enough said.
These days it’s Acts 17. Paul is going from place to place, preaching as he always does, in the synagogues and marketplace (the Amplified states that these are places of assembly, not necessarily Walmart or Kroger’s.) Here he finds himself in Athens one day, after escaping his angry and “jealous” fellow Jews in two other cities, Thessalonica and Beroea. His spirit man is “grieved and roused to anger” (Acts 17:16) because he sees idol worship everywhere. (*Note — here in America it could be “Idle Worship”!)
So, what is a fitting response to idol worship, the fitting response of an angry and grieved spirit man? Interestingly enough, more preaching!!! BUT, this time, he catches the ears of the neighborhood intellectuals who spend all their time gossiping and trying to top each others’ stories with the newest new thing they’ve heard. So — and this is where it gets more interesting — they take him to Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion. Well, not really, but Darryl and I were talking, and we decided between us that the Aeropagus (Mars Hill Auditorium in Acts 17:22) was set up probably about the same way, with the clam shell background for sound, and with hills for the listeners to sit on and watch the show.
However, Paul isn’t visiting Mars Hill to sit down and listen. He is the Main Event, THE Guest Speaker, THE Man of the Hour. He is the evening’s entertainment!
This is amazing for a number of reasons, but the most striking and personal is that Darryl and I had just listened to a message by Joel Osteen on TV the night before I read this passage and it became rhema to me. In his message Joel declared and decreed that God would cause favor to find us. That we don’t have to go seeking for promotion, it will find us. That He has all things lined up for us in advance, all the divine connections, all the people that God has chosen to bless us and help to advance us in our (His) plans. All we have to do is SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD and HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, and all these things shall be added unto us. This passage of scripture in Acts 17 backs up Matthew 6:33 perfectly!
That is exactly what Paul did. And ALL he did. He sought to be right with God. He was arguing on God’s behalf. He was seeking the Kingdom, busy about his Father’s business! He put God FIRST in every thing, and God’s Favor found him. God put him center stage, to perform the Father’s good pleasure, and get the Word out.
God has challenged me with this scripture to do the same, and I believe that this is a Now Word for you, too, in this season of acceleration. If you are finding yourself striving to accomplish what you believe is God’s will, but nothing is happening — STOP. Are you finding yourself on a different path, maybe one you don’t think is God’s plan? Jump Tracks!! Simply seek God, be obedient, stay in the Word, resist temptation. Be busy about your Father’s business. If you are doing all that you know how to do, STAND. God will send His Favor your way.