• Pastor Bowler

Where Art Thou?

“And the Lord God called unto Adam and said unto him: Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9). God is in pursuit of His runaway creation. Of course, God knew where Adam was. Nothing is hidden from Him. No one can hide from Him. Not even Jonah who fled from God’s presence and went down to Joppa to take a ship to Tarshish. Twice in Jonah 1:3 we see the phrase, “from the presence of the Lord.” It begins the verse and it concludes it. Jonah sought to do the impossible and run from the presence of the Lord.

Psalm 139 spells it out. “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”

No one can hide from God. He sees in secret. He knows the thoughts and the intents of the heart. Many today would like to hide from God. They avoid gospel services like the plague. They carefully avoid reading the Bible. They never tune in to religious programming on television. As one man said, “I deal with the subject of my salvation by never thinking about it.”

Adam tried to hide from God. And God came seeking him. “Adam, where art thou?” God was not needing information. God had seen the temptation of Satan and He had seen Eve offer the forbidden fruit to her husband.

Why then, did He say, “Adam, where art thou?” He wanted Adam to face failure and conquer his fears, and learn something about the heart of God.

Ravi Zacharias grew up in India and, as a young man, was exposed to church. In his biography he tells of hearing a preacher deal with Genesis 3:9. The sermon left him cold. He wondered what on earth the Anglican cleric was getting out when he shouted to the congregation: “Adam, where art thou?” Later, Ravi Zacharias met Christ, and has become one of today's most effective voices for the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.

Adam was God’s word for the man He created. I understand that the word is more than a personal name, but a generic word meaning humanity, or the human race. We are not mistaken if we pick God’s ancient call to our first parent out of its context and apply it to us, to our generation, or to our world.

Why was Adam hiding, or trying to hide? Verse 10 gives his answer: “I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, for I was naked and I hid myself.” Satan promised that if Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they would be free, they would be like God, and it would be better for them. He insisted that God was not fair and that God had a hidden agenda. Of course, the devil has been repeating that lie to earth’s teaming millions ever since.

He wants you to believe that religion is bondage; prayer is useless; God’s Word is not to be believed; it is better to run your own life than to submit to God. It is the lie through the generations that is believed by millions. Adam discovered what every unbeliever finds out. He found that doubting God's Word brings bondage, not liberty. He found out that disobedience to God brings fear, not freedom.

And nothing has changed. Despite the population explosion, despite the industrial revolution, despite medical breakthroughs, despite the information age, despite hundreds of years of human history, nothing has changed. We have tools and medicines and schools and technologies with instant communication networks, and Ebola, and lime disease, and coronavirus, and courts of justice.

Our world is very different from the world in which Adam lived…or is it?

Adam answered God: “I was afraid and I hid myself.” Freedom from God made man a slave of sin. Afraid! Afraid of dying, afraid of judgement, afraid of old age, afraid of the pestilence that walks in darkness and the destruction that wasteth at noonday (Psalm 91:6).

Adam found fig leaves to hide behind, the Bible says. Today, we hide in arenas, lost in the crowd of thousands watching hockey or baseball. Or, we hide in the theories of pseudoscientists who tell us that there is no God.

“I was afraid and I hid myself.” I read somewhere that the opposite of love is not hatred. The opposite of love is fear. And fear has torment. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18). Way back there at the beginning of time, Adam was confused. He had bought into the lie that God is unfair.

Winston Churchill was a brilliant leader, but he had some blind spots. He said: “If God will leave me alone, I will leave Him alone.” I believe he changed that before he died, for his funeral service, planned by him, gave powerful witness to the salvation that is found only at the cross of Christ.

Adam tried to run from God. He discovered it to be an impossible task. Maybe someone who is reading this has neglected God and tried to live without him for years. Dear friend, you need to learn what Adam learned long ago. The God of Heaven is a seeking God. He is not a tyrant. He does not delight in the death of any. He is rich unto all that call upon Him. All God wanted from Adam was a frank and honest confession.

I am glad that Adam did not say: “I'm okay. I have no needs. Please just leave me alone.” He confessed his need. And God answered him by saying, “A deliverer is coming Who will bruise the head of Satan. “And the LORD God said unto the serpent…And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:14-15). That, of course, happened at Calvary, where God’s Son dealt with sin and the curse of sin, dying, the Just for the unjust. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).

Afraid! Hiding! The ancient words from Genesis 3 are as up-to-date as tomorrow's newspaper.

Is there a heart o’erbound by sorrow?

Is there a life weighed down by care?

Come to the cross, each burden bearing;

All your anxiety—leave it there.

All your anxiety, all your care,

Bring to the mercy seat, leave it there,

Never a burden He cannot bear,

Never a friend like Jesus!

“Adam, where art thou?” Hiding? Fearful? Troubled? God wants fellowship with you. He is plenteous in mercy. His arms are wide open to receive you now.

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