In Genesis 3, man falls from the grace and fellowship of Jehovah God. Eve was deceived by the serpent; Adam was tempted by Eve; and both of them ate of the one tree from which God had commanded them to abstain.
As a result, “the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked” (7a). So they fashioned some garments out of fig leaves to cover themselves (7b).
At this point we read one of the most remarkable statements in all of Scripture:
AND THEY HEARD THE SOUND OF JEHOVAH GOD WALKING IN THE GARDEN.
— Genesis 3:8a —
The Hebrew word translated “sound” is qôl, and is the equivalent of the Greek word phōnē, “noise, sound, voice”1 (cp. Acts 9:7 and 22:9). What, exactly, does that sound like? Whatever it sounded like, it was enough for the man and woman to go and hide themselves (8b). Perhaps it was the voice of Jehovah that caused them to hide. If so, though they were the first to run and hide at His voice, they were far from the last—for men still today try to hide from the voice of God!
Then, God asked them the monumental question:
“WHERE ART THOU?”
— Genesis 3:9 —
Of course, He knew exactly where they were; the question was to serve other purposes. God spoke this question “like a brokenhearted father speaking in love to his wayward children.”2 He was giving them the “opportunity to answer and come out into the open”2—that is, He was trying to “bring [them] to a confession of [their] sin.”3
Since “the things written aforetime were written for our learning” (Rom. 15:4) and as a perpetual example for us (1 Cor. 10:11), we need to understand that there are plenty of times in our own lives when God is asking, “Where art thou?” So let us take a few moments to “think on these things” (cf. Php. 4:8).
WHERE AM I?
Picture God looking down on His creation—or, better yet, walking in the earth in the cool of the day—and seeing His people scattered about trying to seek and save the lost, as they go about their respective, everyday lives. As He looks, He realizes He hasn’t seen someone yet—and that someone is you. As He continues to search, to no avail, He says to Himself, “Where art thou?”…
If you are a citizen of the kingdom of Christ, you are under the dominion of a King—namely, “Jesus Christ of Nazareth” (Acts 3:8). As our King, the Lord has commanded His subservient constituents to do something: disciple the nations (Matt. 28:19,20; Mk. 16:15; cf. 1 Cor. 9:23). Of all the things we do throughout our daily lives, our #1 underlying goal is (or should be) to seek and save the lost.
As we learn from the lesson from the barren fig tree (Lk. 13:6-9; Mk. 11:13,14), when a person is not fulfilling his intended purpose, he is good for nothing, and will be cut off (cf. Jn. 15:2,6; Mt. 7:19). The inspired writer of Proverbs said, “Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense/will have plenty of poverty” (12:11/28:19).
And so it is, that in the big picture of our existence—all strictly earthly pursuits are worthless pursuits. To use our time chasing after such things rather than serving our Lord and obey His command is senseless. Furthermore, it will not only end in plentiful poverty, but dreadful damnation; not just the growling of stomachs, but the gnashing of teeth (cf. Mt. 8:12; 13:42,50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Lk. 13:28)!
1 Strong, James. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Peabody: Hendrickson, 2009. p. 1683. Print. Emp. and ital. added.
2 Wiersbe, Warren B. The Bible Exposition Commentary. Vol. 1. Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2001. p. 32. Print. Emp. and ital. added.
3 Keil, C.F. and F. Delitzsch. Commentary on the Old Testament. Vol. 1. Peabody: Hendrickson, 2011. p. 61. Print. Emp. added.