12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds.
14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”
18 Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.
These folks were really serious about worshipping Zeus. They were so set on the fact that Barnabas was Zeus that even when he worked miracles (that were the thing that made them think he was a god) and then told them he wasn’t Zeus, they didn’t believe him!
Paul tries to sway them. Everything they ever got that they credit to Zeus really came from the God and Father of Jesus Christ, not Zeus. He gave them the rain and food and gladness.
I think if this is how Paul talked about God in the context of Zeus worshippers, it can help us and our perspective too. Many times we get confused about what God does and what is a matter of “chance” or “luck” and we get the credit upside down.
Don’t get things backward and be the guy that says when he finds $20 on the street, “Hey, I must be living right!” But then when you lose $20 to some fee you say “I guess God didn’t want me to have that.”
This flip happens way too often.
The book of Hebrews says that Jesus is always interceding before the Father on our behalf. If you think “the universe” is against you, correct that thinking with Romans 8:34
Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. – Romans 8:34
Sometimes people won’t believe that is true, even if you work miracles right in front of them. I have trouble believing it with a Bible sitting open in front of me telling me the truth!
So don’t resort to ripping your shirt, but know the truth. God has provided everything you ever needed for your life. He’s allowed and overlooked all kinds of sin in the world, but in these times He has provided His Son for you as payment for your sins.
We can turn from worshipping all other things to a Living God, and see the closeness and His care in our lives.
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