But the Lord God called to the man,Where are you?Genesis 3:9
It is most striking to me that all religions, apart from Christianity, begin on the note of man's seeking after God. Only the Bible starts with the view of God's seeking after man. That highlights an essential difference between our Christian faith and the other major religions of the world. Furthermore, this first question here in the Old Testament is matched by the first question asked in the New Testament. Here it is God asking man,
Where are you? and in the New Testament, in Matthew, the first question that appears is that of certain wise men who come asking,
Where is he? (cf. Matthew 2:2).
If we take this account in the garden literally (as I believe we must), then it is clear that God habitually appeared to Adam in some visible form, for now Adam and Eve in their guilt and awareness of nakedness hide from God when they hear the sound of His footsteps in the garden. This indicates a customary action on God's part. He came in the cool of the day, not because that was more pleasant for Him but because it was more pleasant for man, and He habitually held some form of communication with man. We know from the rest of Scripture that whenever God appears visibly in some manifestation, it is always the second person of the Godhead, the Son. If that is true, then we have here what is called a theophany, a visible manifestation of God before the incarnation. Thus, the one here who asks of Adam and Eve,
Where are you? is the same one of whom later men would ask,
Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? (Matthew 2:2).
Notice the importance of this question,
Where are you? When people are lost, this is the most important question they can ask:
Where am I? Suppose the telephone rang and you answered it to hear a voice say,
I'd like to come to your church this morning. I thought I knew the way, but I find myself very confused. Can you help me? What is the first question you would ask?
Where are you? That is always first.
Where are you?
Today we are seeking to find a way out of a very confusing situation that prevails in our world. We will never do it until we start with this question,
Where are you? Where am I? Perhaps the reason many are unable to be helped today is either because they cannot or will not answer that question. Ask it of yourself now. Where are you? In the course of your life, from birth to death, moving as you hope you are moving, to develop stability of character, trustworthiness, integrity of being, all these qualities that we admire in others and want in ourselves--where are you? How far have you come? Until you can answer that, in some sense at least, there is no possibility of helping you.
Perhaps many of you will have to say,
I don't know where I am. I only know that I am not where I ought to be or where I want to be. That's all I can say. If that is all you can say, that is at least an honest answer, and therefore, it is the most helpful answer you can give. In that sense, it is the only right answer.
Lord, help me to examine myself with this question,Where am I?Thank You that it is out of Your grace and love that You question me.
The Bible uniquely presents God as seeking after man. How do we respond when God asks, where are you? Can we respond honestly realizing a change is required?