And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked. Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them. (Acts 14:8-18)
The Witness Of The Lord
Idol worship has been a problem for man since the beginning of time. Man was formed a creature of worship. The problem has always been the object of worship and man has chosen more often than not to worship himself. He enjoys that more because it does not inhibit his desire to do what he wants to do. Worshipping an idol eases the conscience that what he engages in is right because his god has said he could do that. Idols come in many forms. They can be made of wood, stone or metal and forged into any image man desires. Idol worship is also made of flesh and is more prevalent today than what is normally associated with idols. Man worships the god of pleasure, desire and fame. He still worships himself; it is just not a wooden idol he falls down before.
Lystra was a city given over to idol worship. The arrival of Paul and Barnabas caused a great stir when the people witnessed a powerful miracle of a man crippled from birth healed by the apostle Paul. Their immediate response was to worship the gods Zeus and Hermes giving credit to their idols for the miracle instead of the one true God. Paul and Barnabas tried to dissuade the multitude but had little success. What the people failed to see was the power of the one true God and the witness He had given all men to see His great might. The Creator of heaven and earth was the author of everything good. He is the one who brought the rain from the sky. Crops that yielded plentiful in the fields or groves came from the hand of the true God. Food was a blessing from the only Creator. Everything in the world that blessed all men came from a benevolent hand of a loving God. The witness of the Lord was clearly embedded in the world but man failed to see it.
The living God made the heaven, the earth, the sea and all things that are in them. His witness is stamped upon every part of the created world. Paul would write to the Romans and describe the invisible attributes of God are clearly seen in the things that are made. The problem lies in the heart of man. There is no dispute about the power of creation – the denial of man to believe in one true God is the heart of the problem. Our world is filled with the inventions of man that he has little time to see the real creation. Man is so full of himself he has no time to see God. Man is worshipping himself and doing a fine job. But the witness of God remains. Every day that awakes heralds the voice of God. Each night spreads a canvas of the power of God throughout the heavens. The witness of God is there. Have you seen it?
To assert that a world as intricate as ours emerged from chaos by chance is about as sensible as to claim that Shakespeare’s dramas were composed by rioting monkeys in a print shop. (Merrill C. Tenney, Science and Religion, ed. J. C. Monsma, 1962)