Where are you?
But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9, NIV)
“Where are you?” is a question people sometimes ask of God. This is a question people ask when they come to the Arena course - and we are glad to give the answer!
Interestingly, however, when this question comes in the Bible, it’s God who does the asking. It is in fact the very first question he does ask in the Bible.
It comes in Genesis 3, at the dawn of human civilisation. God has two reasons for asking:
First, he asks it because people are hiding from him. They have rebelled, wanting to be like God, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:5). And now, as God himself comes, they hide behind the trees. If you live in God’s world as if God isn’t there, the last person you want to meet is… God!
It’s sometimes said that people everywhere are seeking God, as if we are pious and he has made himself hard to find. On the contrary, the Bible asserts that it is God who is seeking us: we are the ones who are trying to hide. We have a million excuses - often poorly thought-through - for avoiding him.
So he comes and seeks these hiding people - he wants them to face the reality that all is now not well between him and them, and to face up to what they’ve done.
Secondly, he asks the question because he wants to have these people back. This is, in fact, the beginning of the great search-and-rescue operation that occupies the storyline of the Bible, and which culminates in the coming of Jesus into the world. And why did he come? To seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). This was the search that cost the Son of God his own life, on the cross, as he died for our sins. He is that keen to have us back!
This is a search that continues as the risen Jesus continues to pursue us. So the question “Where are you?” is a question he asks of each of us, today. He asks it in love, as parents do for a missing child. He wants each of us, honestly, to face up to that. Will we come out of hiding and back to him?
My wife Rachel’s uncle has a very precious letter - from Rachel’s great grandfather. It is dated 29 Sept 1882. He was then a teenager, writing to his sister, Evy, about a meeting he’d been to in the Drill Hall, in Plymouth.
'My dear Evy, Thank you for your letter. I am writing to tell you some good news which you will be glad to hear. I went to one of Moody and Sankey's meetings on Tuesday and there I was saved. He spoke from the 9th verse of the 3rd of Genesis. It is Where art thou? He said that that was the first question that God ever asked man in the Bible, and that it was the first question that people ought to ask themselves and he said that there were two more that he was going to speak about and they were, Where are you going? and How are you going to spend eternity? I don't think he could have chosen better ones…..'
Where are you? We’ll be thinking about this some more this Monday at Arena.
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