“And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, 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?’ And he said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.’ He (God) said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree which I commanded you not to eat?” – Genesis 3:8-11
This story started out so well! We were introduced to the God of all Creation! His mighty voice calling the universe into existence...”let there be light!” He is The “Beginning” of all things and all things exist for His pleasure! Then, as the centerpiece of this work of art, He lovingly brought us into the picture, uniquely creating us in His image and personally hand crafting us for fellowship with Him. He breathed into us His very “breath” and gave us life! Life with purpose and promise! Wow! This is going to be good. Except for…that tree!
This is another part of the story that is essential to know in order to fully understand the rest of the Bible. All of a sudden the paradise of Eden is interrupted by distrust, selfishness, and poor choices that bring unwanted consequences. Does this sound familiar? This is not just a story of Adam and Eve ruining life for the rest of us. It continues to be our story. A selfish people set on being our own God and haunted by the bad choices we make because of it. We refuse to trust the God who loves us and go our own way defying His direction and design. The Bible calls this SIN. It is the condition that has broken the relationship that God intended for us to enjoy. Not one of us is exempt. We all have sinned and fall short of that original glory. You see, the tree is not the problem and God was not setting us up for disaster. Remember, He created you with a choice so that you could come to Him in a genuine loving relationship. The tree was necessary to provide the opportunity to make that choice. Truth: There will always be a forbidden tree in the garden of your life.
So, now what? They goofed up. They have broken the relationship and lost their purity. Nothing left to do but hide in shame and wait for the judgement. The story that had so much promise is now destined to be the shortest story ever told. But wait…
“But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?'” – Genesis 3:9
Instead of the fierce condemnation of an angry God we hear the voice of a loving Father, “Where are you?” He calls to Adam and Eve. It is an invitation to return to His presence. If we didn’t know better we might expect God to scrap this experiment and start over. After all we are only 3 chapters into the first book! But, instead, we hear Him walking in the garden searching for us. As disappointed and hurt as He must have been He still came looking. We see a Creator that does not give up on us. When we are lost He looks for us. When we run He pursues us. When we make mistakes He forgives us. When we are afraid He longs to comfort us.
God has not given up on us. God is saying to us today…to you…”I’m still here. Where are you?” The rest of the Bible from this point on, reveals to us God’s beautifully designed plan of restoring that original relationship. But, we still have that choice.