In the early verses of Genesis, Adam and Eve dwelt in fellowship with God, in the paradise of Eden. There was only one rule: “From the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:17).
Satan, in the form of the serpent, tempted Adam and Eve. Though they could have been content with the other trees God provided, they listened to Satan and disobeyed God.
The next time Adam and Eve heard God walking in the Garden, for the very first time in their lives they fled and hid among the trees (3:8).
God called out to Adam and asked, “Where are you?”
Do we suspect for even a moment that God couldn’t find Adam? Of course not! God could see Adam perfectly. God asked the question because He wanted Adam to contemplate his new situation. God wasn’t interested in Adam’s geographical location—say, twenty paces past the peacocks’ nest. God wanted Adam to contemplate his place in relation to God.
Adam answered, “I hid myself.” Adam was somewhere he’d never been, feeling naked and ashamed before God. His spiritual condition had changed.
Adam was beginning to experience spiritual death. God had promised, “in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Actually, Adam continued to live for many centuries after his sin. So, was Satan correct when he suggested, “you surely will not die!” (Genesis 3:4)? No, God is truth, and Satan is the liar. God was speaking of spiritual death, of the separation that occurs between God and man when people commit sin. A gulf had opened up between Adam and God. Shame and guilt drove a wedge between Adam and God, and so Adam hid himself when God approached. Soon, God would cast Adam and Eve out of the garden and into the world.
“Where are you?”
So, where are you?
If Jesus were to walk into the room calling your name, what would He find you doing? Would you run and hide, or would you run to embrace Him? Would you say, like Samuel, “Here I am!” (1 Samuel 3:4). John says that “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:8). If our thoughts of being reunited with Jesus are thoughts of punishment, we have some growing to do. The one who lives by faith will not “shrink back” (Hebrews 10:39) when Jesus returns.
I once heard a preacher say, “Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want to be caught doing when Jesus returns on Judgment Day!” While I think that sentiment could be overplayed, it’s still a powerful reminder that we are not guaranteed another moment upon the earth, and that our Lord is near (James 5:9).
In broader terms, where are you in your relationship with God? What is your spiritual condition? Are you in Christ, justified and redeemed? Are you stronger in faith today than you were yesterday? I once heard of an employee with ten years of experience passed over for a promotion given to an employee with three years of experience. When he complained, the boss explained: “He has three years of experience; you have one year of experience ten times!” Are you maturing as a Christian, or marking time? Years spent sitting on a pew is not the same as years spent increasing in faith and knowledge (Hebrews 5:11-6:2, Ephesians 4:11-16).
What defines your position? Where are you spending your time and energy? Are you working hard, making car payments, shuttling the kids to the game? Fair enough. But, is that all? What are your priorities? Are you seeking first the kingdom (Matthew 6:33), and working to expand the kingdom in your heart and in your community?
Where do you see yourself in one month, in one year, in five years? What are your goals in the Lord? It saddens me to see a man finally retire from secular work and, just when the church can most benefit from his skills and leadership and free time, watch him disappear into the mountains to retire and relax. Selfish disobedience takes many subtle forms (Luke 18:22). I imagine Jesus asking, “what are you doing up there?” Or at the very least, “what are you doing up there?” Vacations are great, but the fields are white for harvest, so save real retirement for heaven.
Where are you in your walk with God? In not too many days, we will get our opportunity to dwell with Him again in Paradise, with access to the Tree of Life restored (Revelation 22:2). –John Guzzetta