"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands."
Thoughts for Today:Paul previously said, "Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you." In other words, "You worship an UNKNOWN GOD, and now I'm going to tell you about Him." These faces of God, or rather personality traits, tell us a lot about God and our relationship with Him. Let's look at this first one: God the Creator.
In our passage today Paul begins with the idea that God "made the world and everything in it." I think God is concerned that whenever man builds something for Him, we have a tendency to not just limit Him, but also to change His identity. That is why God says in Exodus 20:25, "If you make an altar of stones for Me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it." God wants us to see Him for who He says He is, not by our own or someone else's interpretation.
For example, if we were to go to Rome today and tour the Vatican, I'm sure we would be overwhelmed with the beauty and artistry of Michelangelo's paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. However, the mistake we could make (which has been made for hundreds of years) is to define and limit God by Michelangelo's interpretation. It is somewhat interesting to look at this magnificent work of art and realize that by just by using man-made tools, even Michelangelo defiled this representation of God.
Paul says that God is not only the Creator of the universe and everything in it, but "He does not live in temples built by [human] hands." Why? Because if we want to understand and get to know God, we have to let God tell us about Himself; we can't start with someone else's limited perspective. If we do, we will become just as confused and disoriented about who God is as the Athenians were.
Questions to Ponder:How have you come to know God? Is it through Scripture and your own experience of doing His will, or the interpretation of an artist (or someone else)? We really have to be careful of how we have defined God; He isn't limited to temples built by human hands. What limitations have you placed around God? What does Scripture say that contradicts your understanding; your limitations?