If you imagined a conversation with God, what do you think would be the first thing He’d ask you?
Why are you such a screw-up?
Why couldn’t you just obey?
Why couldn’t you be stronger?
Or have more resolve?
Why couldn’t you stick with your resolutions through day 2?
How could you disappoint Me by disobeying Me like you have?
Don’t you know who I am?
The first man and woman had such a conversation right after they willfully disobeyed the one rule, one simple rule, God gave them (Genesis 3). As did the first recorded murderer in human history (Genesis 4).
What do you suppose was God’s question to them?
Genesis 3:9 tell us:
“Where are you?”
Not, “How could you?”
Not, “What have you done?” That comes later. In both stories.
With Adam and Eve, God’s question comes from His love for His people. He feels the distance between them. It wasn’t there the day before. He already knows – at the very least no matter what you’re theological persuasion – that something has gone wrong.
Yet God’s primary concern – the first thing out of His mouth – is relational.
“Where are you?”
With Cain, who had murdered his brother Abel, God asks the same question, but in a different way. Instead of asking where Cain is, He asks about Cain’s brother. This is an invitation for Cain to confess his sin and perhaps (we don’t know what “might” have happened, only what did happen) be restored in relationship to God and His fellow man.
The reply of both Adam and Cain, was to shift the blame. “The woman you gave me.” “Am I my brothers keeeper?” Both responses on their part show that neither of them really knew God that well.
If they had, they would have recognized that what God wants first and foremost is a relationship with His people, not someone to punish or blame. While its true that God can’t let sin go unpunished, its also equally true that what He wants more is restoration. This is what the death of Jesus will eventually accomplish for us. Not just satisfaction for sin, but also the ability to be reconciled to God.
Maybe you and I don’t know the God of the Bible quite like we thought we did.
Thoughts for Further Reflection:
1. How would you have answered the question at the very beginning – If God came to you, what do you think would be the first thing He asked you?
2. Do you imagine God to be more of a Righteous Judge (“What have you done…so I can assign the right punishment?”) or more of a Concerned Parent (“What have you done…so I can be with you and help make it right?)?
3. Do you recognize that God is both Righteous Judge and Concerned Parent? That’s why Jesus is so crucial for us! He is the One who comes as God in the flesh, because it was His concern for His Father’s Holiness (which sin deserves a just punishment) and His relationship with His people (so He took it upon Hismelf to satisfy it).
4. How does this affect your view of God?