7 Questions God Has for You: “Where are you?”
Rev. Michael F. Bailey
July 3, 2016
Genesis 3:7-15 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ He said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’ The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.’ Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent tricked me, and I ate.’ The Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures;
upon your belly you shall go and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.’
First, a word of thanks and praise to God for such an incredible VBS! Thank you leaders and volunteers for shaping the future by giving your God-given time, talent and treasure to expose children to the love of Christ! It was so experiential, organized and fun! I may have to preach one day in that showy purple robe I was able to wear. And next year, like a lot of you folks, we’re sure to make it our grandchildren camp!
And what gratitude we all have on this, the eve of our nation’s 240th anniversary. In the midst of the fun tomorrow, please pause and pray for all of those who have and are keeping us free. Joey, our son in law, is currently deployed in Africa. His little girl, our 20-month old grand daughter, Emery, has to give daddy a kiss every day on a picture on the cell phone or in a frame. We have many Christ Church families in the same situation and so do many of our fellow citizens. Please don’t let the cynical, negative pursuit of votes in this season cause you to doubt that, even with problems, we are blessed to live in this great land of plenty and freedom.
Today, we begin a sermon series I hope will bring us all some spiritual growth, by the grace of God. We’ll be looking at 7 questions God asks in the Bible, but not as long ago queries of others, but of us, personally! And we start with a question from our passage: “Where are you?’
You know the rich context of our story: Adam and Even have been created and are placed in the Garden to have the life God wants them to have – in a word, Paradise; that is, having all they need and perfect fellowship with God. The Fall, the disobedience, soon comes about and Adam and Eve hide in the garden. The all-knowing God of the universe comes looking for them and even with divine knowledge of all that is, asks them, “Where are you?”
Here’s a question this brings to mind: could it be that God asks them the question for their benefit rather than God’s own, since an all-knowing God knows perfectly well where they are?
And could it be that, though God knows where we are in all dimensions of our lives, that is, where we are, spiritually, relationally, in our service and generosity lives – God asks us the same question for our benefit, not Gods?
Let’s think of the image of the Garden of Eden as God’s desire for our lives, expressed in God’s Creation for us, as it was for Adam and Eve: a life of Shalom; wholeness; provision and fellowship with God.
And yet, disobedience led Adam and Eve not to enjoy the “Garden life” God desired for them but led them to hide in the garden away from God. Though God knew where they were, in God’s omniscience, God asked them where they were. Perhaps God did so, so that in answering they’d realize what they had done.
And the same is true for us, isn’t it? We so often live lives not enjoying the best life God has and wants for us, don’t we? We so often plaster fig leaves over the parts of our lives we try to hide from God.
Yet, God knows where we are hiding and what we are hiding, so God asks, “Where are you?” And God asks this question of us in grace and with yearning for us to come back to God and the life God has for us. So, “where are you?’ in your spiritual journey in Christ? Where are you in your relationships with others? Where are you in serving God and others? Where are you in giving? What dimensions of your life have you tried to cover with a fig leaf, hoping that God won’t notice?
God is a God of love, grace and forgiveness. God is a God of restoration. God’s grace meets you where you are, even in your hiding place, God seeks you out, but God loves you too much to leave you there. God’s love and power are able to help you, if you trust God’s love enough to come to God.
There is even a grace note in the judgment portion of our passage. God tells Eve that one of her offspring, and God’s, Jesus, will crush the serpent, Satan. God’s power and love overcome all evil. Will you accept this love and power? Will you trust God, even today, to accept you and your “hiding places” in love and forgiveness? Will you trust God’s love enough to tell God “where you are” so God can take you to a new and better place? God hopes so and seeks you – will you be found?
Share any fond memories you have of Vacation Bible School.
Share memories of the Fourth of July.
Share where you see grace in God seeking out Adam and Eve.
Share some common problems people try to cover with fig leaves.
Share some of the ways people try to hide from God.