"Then the Lord called to the man, 'Where
are you?"' (Gen 3:9).
God had granted Adam and Eve
permission to eat the fruits of any tree in the garden
of Eden, with one exception: fruits from the tree of the knowledge of good and
evil (Gen 2:16, 17). But through the
serpent's temptations, they yielded to their desires and transgressed. Consequently, they saw their own nudity, felt
ashamed and hid themselves from God. Hence God called Adam, "Where are
you?" (Gen 3:9). But is not God
omniscient? Did He not know the
whereabouts of Adam and Eve? Why should
1. To make man realize his
Through his disobedience, Adam
forfeited his status as the son of God (Lk 3:38) and
hid himself from God's love and grace.
God nevertheless remained merciful.
He did not chastise him immediately.
He hoped to remind Adam of his sin, and to offer him an opportunity to
However, Adam and Eve were
unmoved. Instead they attempted to put the blame on each other. Their outcome was exile from the garden of Eden.
Indeed, had they repented, there would have been joy in the presence of
the angels of God over them (Lk 15:7-10).
The Lord Jesus allegorized the
love of God thus: a certain man had two sons.
The younger son asked his father for his share of the inheritance which
he then promptly sold. With the proceeds
he traveled to another country and squandered everything. In poverty, he looked back and decided to
return to his father, not as a son, but as a slave. Yet, while approaching home, his father saw
him from afar and ran to receive him warmly as a long-lost but now-found
son. This moving reunion clearly
indicates the father's longings for the return of his prodigal son (Lk 15).
This young man is typical of many
people today whose only concern is to pursue worldly pleasures. They take pride in their own sufficiency and
their seeming independence from God.
They boast of their own limited endowment and intellect, not knowing
that these are in fact part of the divine providence.
2. To make man understand
Although life in the garden of Eden was harmonious and carefree, God had
entrusted Adam with a specific task: the cultivation of the garden (Gen
2:15). But having sinned against God,
Adam and Eve went into hiding, thereby forsaking their duty. The Lord called to remind them of this
“The harvest is plentiful, but the
workers are few”' (Mt 9:37) is indeed a statement of fact. Like a planting field, the church today
requires the concerted effort of the whole congregation. Paul praised the Philippian
church thus: "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering
prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation
in the gospel from the first day until now' (Phil 1:3-5). The Philippians understood the one common
goal among Christians: evangelism. And
they all united and worked towards this goal.
They did not attempt to evade or forsake their duties. Are we neglecting our responsibilities today?
Hitherto, God has been calling
“Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Is 6:8). Despite the scarce manpower and the heavy
workload, we shall remember God is our strength. The Lord requires that we give Him our best,
and He will guide and direct us. As
Isaiah did let us courageously reply "Here am I, Lord, send me" (Is
3. To make man draw near
In the garden
of Eden, our first ancestors were able to speak to God, draw near to Him and
have direct communication with Him. Many
Christians are able to enjoy a similar communion with God through concentrated
and prolonged prayers today. They feel
the closeness of God's presence in their daily lives.
Yet a sad fact remains: many
present day believers, for various reasons have drifted away. Perhaps their sins have shunned them from
God's glory. Even so, the Bible tells us
that if we confess our sins, the faithful and righteous God will forgive us and
cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 Jn 1:9). If we have not committed a mortal sin, God
will surely pardon us. Therefore we must
not depart from God owing to our sins.
Instead let us draw near to Him and repent.
In the parable of the marriage
feast, a certain man had prepared a banquet and sent his servant to fetch all
the invited guests. However, no one
came. Everyone had a legitimate
excuse. Like the invited guests, many
people now focus their attention on the worldly feast of carnal enjoyment and
pleasures. They reject the spiritual
feast offered by the Lord with numerous justifications. Church attendance to
worship God and partake in the spiritual feast have become
unimportant. The God who searches the
hearts and minds of men requires our reverent and devoted worship. As His children, we should strive to
strengthen our faith and draw closer to Him.
If this is not so, perhaps we need to examine the factors that are
keeping us from God. The truth is God
has not forsaken us; rather we have alienated ourselves from Him.
The omniscient God knew the
whereabouts of Adam and Eve after they had sinned and had hidden
themselves. Nevertheless He still called
out to them. This is to enable them to
repent and to remind them of their responsibilities and the importance of drawing
near to Him. Today, God calls us when we
have neglected His teachings or sinned against Him. He calls to remind us of the field yet to be
harvested or when we are unwilling to attend services. Hence let us ponder upon these various points
such that should He call us again, our prompt reply will be "Lord, here am
When He has brought out all His own, He goes
before Him, and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice. (Jn 10:4)