Monday, November 17, 2008

When God Calls You Out


But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?" (Genesis 3:9)

Eve was so convincing. The fruit of the tree looked so delicious. His mouth was watering. Maybe the serpent was right. Maybe he wouldn't die after all--as God had warned. Just one bite. Just this once. He took the fruit from Eve and took the dive. His taste buds experienced the sweet taste of the fruit from the one tree in the garden from which he was commanded not to eat. The sweet experience became bitter quickly. The consequences didn't take long to take hold. He looked at Eve and noticed that something was extremely different. He looked at himself and noticed it too. They were naked. For the first time, they experienced shame. Adam had introduced God's good creation to sin. He had welcomed death to a world created for abundant life. He had welcomed destruction to a world God had created for His glory. The result? Well, you know what he did--he hid. Ashamed. Guilty. Separated. Lonely. For the first time, he was afraid of his maker. For the first time, God's holiness meant punishment for the lawbreaker. Behind the bushes, he heard God in the garden. He felt his presence. He closed his eyes, held his breath, and hoped that God would not find him.

Then God said the one thing that Adam so desperately wanted to avoid. He asked the one question that sent chills up Adam's spine. He asked, "Where are you?" Three words. One question. The conclusion in Adam's heart--busted! Adam knew that God knew where he was. This was no secret. God wasn't playing hide-and-seek with Adam. He was calling him out. He was calling him out for his disobedience. A verdict had been reached. The sentence was about to be given. Adam now realized that his nakedness reached far beyond his outward anatomy--it reached deep down into his soul. God could see his sin. God could see the mess he had made. The punishment wasn't easy. Yet, the first thing that God did was provide clothing for Adam. He sewed it together Himself. He clothed Adam to preserve his dignity. Although he had ripped God's good creation to shreds along with Eve, God still provided for the ones he loved more than anything. God is just. The sin had to be punished. But, God is also merciful. He clothed them.

When we sin, we are also exposed. The Bible teaches that we are all sinners through Adam (Romans 5:12). We sin because we are sinners. We sin because we, like Adam, just can't resist the subtle temptations in life that have such devastating results. The amazing thing is that God still seeks us out. He doesn't leave us hiding naked in the bushes. He loves us far too much to leave us broken, separated, alone, and naked. The gospel message saturates this garden tragedy. We can be restored. We can be clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Through placing our faith in Jesus Christ, we can not only be clothed, we can have right standing with God--as though we didn't sin. No more hiding. No more guilt. We can experience what it is like to start with a clean slate. A new birth. A re-birth. Washed as white as snow. The question, then, is, "What will we do when God calls us out?" Adam couldn't hide. Neither can we. But all too often, we try to act like we have it all under control. All too often, we feel like we can do enough good works to fix the problem of our sinfulness. All too often, we try to act like we aren't as broken as we really are. The problem with this thinking is that we can't fix the problem. We can't change the fact that we are sinners. But, we can seek God's forgiveness. We can seek to be restored.

Are you still hiding in the bushes? Are you still clinging to the futile possibility that somehow, by your own goodness, you will be able to escape God's gaze. Are we still trying to hide the mess that we have made of our lives from God? If so, maybe we need to be a little more honest with ourselves. Maybe it is time to finally "fess up" with God. Maybe it is time to let the father clean us up and clothe us.

When God calls you out, he is calling because he cares.