“To An Unknown God” Acts 17:23
Unknown – Do we know the unknown God? I am quite sure that we feel confident enough to say, “Of course. He’s God, the Father of Jesus, the triune God of the Bible.” We have the correct facts. If we were standing with the company of Greeks on the day that Paul encountered this monument, they would have applauded. “You’re right. Why didn’t we think of that?”
But our answer is all wrong. It’s what the Greeks wanted to hear. But it is completely off center. The Greeks sought knowledge (facts) about the god they left out. Paul supplied the facts but dismissed the information. It is not what we know about the unknown god that matters. It’s whether or not we know Him.
“Of course I know Him”, we answer. “I believe Jesus is His Son and I worship Him.” The demons acknowledge Jesus is His Son too. That doesn’t mean they know Him.
Do you know the God Whom Isaac calls his dread?
Do you know the God Who laid waste the Amalekites?
Do you know the God Who struck down Nebuchadnezzar?
Do you know the God Who carried Israel into hundreds of years of captivity?
Do you know the God Who never answered Job’s questions?
Do you know the God Who took Peter and James to martyrs’ deaths?
Do you know the God Whose wrath shakes the universe?
Do you know the God Who hardened the heart of Pharaoh?
Do you know the God Who demands death as the payment for sin?
Do you know the God Who left Jesus on the cross?
I wonder if we really know God at all. I wonder if we are much more like the Greeks, worshipping a god who is the civilized representation of our own agendas, the god who is required to bless us with prosperity, who is at our beck and call, who forgives without a second thought, who tolerates our continual disobedience and arrogance, who shows up in church at the appropriate cue.
Do I know the God before Whom I tremble in fear of my life, overcome with His holiness to the point of utter despair in myself?
Or am I more inclined to worship a god who I can use to meet my needs?
The Unknown God is the God of the agnostos (unknown). The word is important. It means the God Who did not make Himself known. How much of the God Who is have I refused to see with the result that He becomes the God Who does not make Himself known to me?