“But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” – ESV Genesis 3:9
“Where are you?” is the first question in the Bible. Interestingly, it is the first question that God utters to mankind. The first question in the Bible teaches us that God seeks to ask His people questions. But why?
God is omniscient and that means He knows all things. Why then would He ask us questions? Doesn’t He already know the answer?
The questions that God asks are not so much for His sake as they are for us. God wants to draw us near to Himself, and to search and know us. God delights in His children coming to Him and hearing Him as He speaks by His Spirit through His Word. He wants to speak to us, and for us to learn to listen to Him.
When Adam and Eve sinned against God, they had gone their own way. They had lived according to their own plans, and done what is right in their own eyes (Much like we often do! Gen. 3:1-7). They had willingly broken fellowship and communion with God. Rather than truly listening and learning from their wonderful Creator and LORD, they chose to do their own will.
Yet God graciously came to our first parents, and sought them out, even when they were not looking for Him! The Bible tells us that God came “walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Gen. 3:8). Rather than join God for fellowship as would have been their normal practice and delight, Adam and Eve actually sought to hide from God because of the fear and shame that sin produces. Sin may cause us to hide from God, but in His mercy God seeks after His own.
Satan, sin and shame may drive us away from God, but God intends to draw His dear children near to Him! (John 6:37, 44; James 4:8).
John Calvin wrote: “No one will dedicate himself to God until he be drawn by His goodness, and embrace Him with all his heart. He must therefore call us to Him before we call upon Him; we can have no access till He first invites us…allured and delighted by the goodness of God.”
What grace we behold in God coming to speak to the hearts of our first parents- -and to our hearts today.
In Genesis 3, God reveals Himself as the God who not only speaks, but the merciful God who asks. Rejoice and let us behold the God who reveals His willingness to hear us, and to listen to our needs, to forgive us our sins when we repent, and this is how God reveals Himself throughout Scripture to His dearly loved children.
God comes to us and asks us the question “Where are you?” so that we can see our need for Him and turn to Him and be restored. God graciously promises His people that if we will turn to Him, He promises that He will have mercy on us and forgive us. God desires to restore His relationship to mankind that was broken by the fall. God desires to restore you to communion with Him right now.
Ultimately, God asks us the question of “Where are you?” so that we will be brought to see our sins and repent of them, finding grace in our time of need (Heb. 4:14-16).
Dearly beloved of God, do you allow God to ask you this question each day? Listen to His voice: “Where are you?” Where are you today? Where are you in your relationship to God? Are you walking with God, acknowledging His presence? Honestly, where are you? Are you hiding from God? Are Satan, sin and shame driving you from God?
Where is your heart? God is everywhere present, but are you acknowledging His presence and living in His strength? When He knocks on the door of your heart do you answer? (Revelation 3:20). Are you near God today?
The question of “Where are you?” put to us by God in the beginning, and then spoken to us every time we seek to read and meditate upon His Word, to hear from Him and to pray, is the same question that was also in the Lord Jesus’ mouth:
Jesus was forsaken on the cross, abandoned as a cursed thing because although He had not committed any sins or transgressions Himself, the LORD had laid our iniquities upon Him.
In our place condemned He stood! This is our Beloved Savior, perfect and sinless as the Lamb of God, and as He who knew no sin because sin for us, so Jesus cries out in dereliction on the cross:
“Where are you?”
Or, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”
Or, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?”
Jesus was made to be sin, having our sins imputed to Him, so that we would receive His righteousness by faith alone and boldly draw near to God.
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – ESV 2 Corinthians 5:21
Jesus reconciled us to God, and has given us access to all of our dear Heavenly Father’s questions. Let us hear Him, let us listen, and let us respond with faith and obedience because of what Christ has done for us!
Dear Beloved in Jesus Christ, God asks us ‘Where are you?’ because God desires to search us and examine our hearts by His most Holy Word and Spirit. Do not run Him! Do not run away and be driven from your only hope for joy and salvation! God wants to bring us to the end of ourselves, to show us our sins, and the habits that only bring hurt and harm to ourselves and others, so that we might repent, and find a deeper, closer relationship with our loving Lord Jesus.
Consider this question to you today: “Where are you?” Are you near to God? Draw near to God in Jesus Christ because He died for you, and He promises to draw near to you.
When you read your Bibles, and meditate thoughtfully on Scripture, let God ask you over and over: “Where are you?” And then be honest with Him…and yourself. Let his be your prayer:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” – ESV Psalm 139:23-24
In Christ’s love,