Where are you?
Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
Genesis 3:9 (NKJV)
It is not the first question asked in scripture – that was asked by the serpent in Genesis 3:1. But it is the first recorded question asked by God. Given the events leading up to this moment, God might have asked a number of similar questions: ‘What’s happened?’; ‘What have you got to say?’; ‘Why are you hiding?’ It’s not as if the Creator of Adam and Eve themselves, along with everything around them, didn’t know the answer to his question. The eternal Creator knew all that had happened leading up to them helping themselves to the fruit that they had been denied. But he still sought them when they were in hiding, following their disobedience.
Adam’s answer was evasive as he hid in his newly fashioned, and probably inadequate clothing – “…I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (v.10). The response is ironic since an all-seeing, all-knowing God already knew that he knew, and hiding was never going to be an answer. And neither was it going to cover his nakedness.
Throughout his dealings with humanity, God has asked similar questions of some Bible heavyweights. Samuel heard a mysterious voice calling him in the temple. God called out to Moses from a burning bush. Abraham was spoken to before being instructed to sacrifice Isaac, his son. Job was challenged to confess God’s greatness. The Apostle Paul was confronted on the road to Damascus.
These people had similar answers. Under Eli’s instructions, Samuel said, ‘Here I am’. Moses said the same when he heard his name called, as did Abraham. Job acknowledged that the God, who had just revealed his power and might in a tirade of poetry, could do “…everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.”1 Paul, having been dramatically interrupted in his relentless pursuit of Christ’s followers, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”2
In all his interactions with humanity, God’s intentions are to mend what has been broken – leading to the re-establishment of the perfect creation which he had observed was ‘good’. He has chosen to do this work through imperfect humans – sometimes it might feel that he is interfering in a life that was going perfectly well until that moment when we are asked, ‘Where are you?’ Sin might cause us to hide from God, but he looks for us, even in our sin. And our answer can still be, ‘Here I am.’
Here I am, my Father and Creator. What do you want me to do? Give me the strength and wisdom and love to do whatever you ask of me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Study by Maggie Mitchell
1 Job 42:2
2 Acts 9:6
About the writer:
Maggie Mitchell is chair of the Pastoral Council in the Northampton congregation of Grace Communion International
Ecton Village Hall
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