Not chance, but determined (Acts 17:26-27)

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Do you believe in chance or that you just happened to be born where you are and live in the area where you are purely based on luck (or lack of it) and how things turned out? The Bible teaches us otherwise and that God has determined allotted periods and boundaries of your dwelling place so that you may seek God and find Him. God is sovereign over all things, and He had already written down all your days even before you were born (Psalm 139).

Acts 17:26-27 says, “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,”

In Acts 17:22-34, Paul speaks at the Areopagus to all those in Athens, including all foreigners, hearing and sharing new ideas. Here Paul argues that the inscription to the unknown god refers to Jehovah, who created all things, including all humans. Paul insists that all must repent and the time of ignorance God overlooked. Now He commands all people everywhere to repent because He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a man He has appointed, which is through Jesus Christ (Acts 17:29-31). 

Deuteronomy 32:8 says, “When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.” 

In Acts 17:26-27, we are taught that all on the face of the earth from one man, and having determined where they live, how long they live, and the boundaries of their dwelling with the ultimate purpose that “that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.” The apostle here opposes Stoical Fate and Epicurean Chance, ascribing the periods and localities in which men and nations flourish to the sovereign will and prearrangements of a living God.

Paul is saying that He has placed everyone precisely where they are so that it may lead them to know their creator. Their idolatries cannot be excused because His revelation in the created universe is sufficient. In fact, he is not really far from each of us in that general revelation, even as their own pagan poets have recognised. Acts 17:28 says “for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.'” So there are two things. One is that it is the duty of man to seek God; secondly, God shows Himself clearly that man has no excuse for their ignorance. Romans 1:19-20 says, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

Even though such evidence is around, they cannot perceive it because of the effects of sin and because of the lack of proper judgment, they pass over without understanding all the signs of God’s handiwork in the heavens and the earth. It is only possible through the gift of God, by His grace through faith, and the illumination of the Spirit. Men are still without excuse because even though God has made Himself available to be groped for and found, men continue in their own ways rejecting all that is of God. Acts 14:1 7 “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.”

In conclusion, there is no such thing as “chance”; instead, God has allotted periods and boundaries that we should seek God and may feel our way toward Him and find Him. If you are in Christ, praise God that His Holy Spirit has made Himself visible to you. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I pray that you may come humbly before His presence, seeking and crying out that His Spirit may open your eyes so that you may find Him. Amen!