We ask questions in order to shed some light of revelation upon the darkness of our doubt, our uncertainty, or the unknown. But when God asks a question, he already knows the answer. . . .
~ View copy of sermon – (Genesis 3: 1-9)
Sermon Title: UNASHAMED / Genesis 3: 1-9
Sunday, March 5, 2017
First Sunday in Lent
Genesis 3: 1 – 9
Preached by Rev. Dr. Harold E. Kidd
“Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where Are You?”
The purpose of a question is to gain information that will enable one to make a wise decision or to find the answer that will provide clarity to what may at present be unclear to them, and in some cases that will provide information leading to the solution to a problem. A question is an inquiry that is made to elicit information. To use a familiar colloquial expression: If you don’t know, ask. Amen.
We ask questions in order to shed some light of revelation upon the darkness of our doubt, our uncertainty, or the unknown. “Well, Doc. How long will it take this broken leg to heal?” “How much is it going to cost me to repair my air conditioning system and how long will it take? When will I be able to go back to work?” Why this or how this?
When we ask a question, it is usually because we are seeking an answer. And one of the ingredients of life is that life is filled with mysteries that beg attention to our curiosity, and problems. And all mysterious and problems were meant to be solved in one way or another. And because we are not omniscient like God, meaning we do not know it all, we continue to ask questions, to explore this universe in an attempt to gain clarity in areas and issues where we are in doubt or confusion.
But when God asks a question. He already knows the answer. Hallelujah! He asked Jeremiah “Is There No Balm in Gilead.” He asked Abraham, “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” He asked Ezekiel, “Son of man can these bones live?” He asked Elijah, “ What are you doing hiding in this cave?” He asked Malachi, “Will a man rob God?” Jesus asked the crowd, “Who touched me?” He asked the man possessed with a legion of demons, “What is your name?” He asked the man who had lain at the pool of Bethesda for 38 years waiting for a break through, “Do you want to be made well?”
When we ask questions we seek answers. When God asks questions He already knows the answer. But He asks us a question in order to help us examine the true nature of our dilemma and to discover in Him, that He is the Great problem solver to anything and everything that ails us! Amen.
The first question recorded in the Bible asked by God is addressed to Adam. “Adam where are you?” As we survey the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3, this question “Where Are You?” was asked by God to get Adam to deal with the problem of his estrangement.
What’s interesting about this text is that prior to their disobedience, they were naked and unashamed. They had no sin consciousness. No sense of right and wrong. All God required of them was to live in obedience to his commands. Which is to suggest in a spiritual sense they were transparent before God without on consciousness of their nakedness because they were in a harmonious relationships with God.
Which is to suggest that prior to sin entering the world, Adam and Eve had no sense of guilt or shame of how they looked before God, of who they were before God, or of any barriers between them and God. It was a perfect fellowship. They could be just as God created them without any sense or need of having to cover anything up about themselves before God.
But when they ate of the forbidden fruit the eyes of their spiritual understanding was opened, and they knew they were naked, and so they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves and then they hid from the presence of God among the trees in the garden. The Fear of punishment, or being seen just as we are, sin causes us to try and hide from God. And in seeking to hide from God we are actually hiding from ourselves. Some might call this denial. When we have a problem but we try to convince ourselves we don’t really have a problem. Adam and Eve called themselves hiding because of their guilt and shame in having disobeyed God.
It may sound funny but I believe it’s true, that guilt and shame can cause us to try and hide, drown it out the voice of conscious through our materialism, or our career, or position or title; some may seek to hide their guilt and shame behind their religion, or a false sense of self-righteousness, some may seek to hide their guilt and shame behind sex, or drugs, or alcohol, or business, but whatever it is we seek to hide behind, and use to drown out the guilt and shame, God will always come to us with the question: “Where Are You?”
The thought of two human beings covered with fig leaves trying to hide from the all-seeing, all-knowing God is humorous. How could they be so silly as to think they could actually hide from God? Yet we do the same, acting as though God doesn’t know what we are doing. Our small and sometimes large acts of disobedience only prove that we are the descendents of Adam.
Adam and eve’s sin of disobedience to God’s command, created a separation, an estrangement in their relationship with God. “Adam, Where are you?” Is the first question, because if we are not right with God, in fellowship with God, in a relationship with God, in communion with God, we can never hope to be in harmony and true fellowship with one another. The horizontal can never happen without the vertical. Adam’s estrangement is our estrangement. So it is most appropriate that the first question God asks to His beloved humanity has to do with our estrangement, “Where Are You?”
And the quality of the relationship we have with God will have either a positive or negative effect upon our relationship with each other. The first five of the Ten Commandments focus on our relationship with God, then come those commandments concerning our relationship with each other. So if we are having difficulties in a relationship with a loved one, with a family member, a friend, even a stranger, we may need to check out our relationship with God first. Because the relationship with God always affects our relationship with each other.
And even while this question was raised by God to Adam during the dawn of creation, it is still a relevant question God asks of his people today. “Where are you?” Because estrangement is still one of the greatest ills that plague our society and world today. Our own inhumanity to each other. Us killing us. Us fighting us. Us undermining us. Us intolerant of us. Wherein our estrangement has caused us to become our own worst enemies. Yes, we have found the enemy and it is us. “Adam, Where Are You?”
One of the reasons I believe God asked Adam, “Where Are You?’ Is because God realizes that our honesty with Him strengthens our relationship with Him and helps make us better examples as His sons and daughters. Honesty also leads us into living a more peaceable and fruitful life with God, with ourselves and with each other. Honesty kills the twin demons of guilt and shame. While sin can break the fellowship with God, “They sewed fig leaves to cover themselves ” It could not break their relationship to God. Because God came looking for them “Where are you?”
What Adam and Eve eventually discovered, was that they didn’t need to hide from God. They needed to face the consequences for their disobedience, but nevertheless, God still loved them just the same, even as He does each and everyone of us. Coming clean with God simple means confession. Telling God all about our troubles, our mess-ups, our inconsistencies of behavior in living like we know we should, our weaknesses, our fears, our doubts. Confession is good for the soul because it cleanses our conscious of guilt.
God’s question to Adam was to force Adam and Eve to come out of their denial, and make a personal confession of their contribution in the act of disobedience. They were both accomplices in the sin. If we ever hope to bring reconciliation to any relationship, estranged parties must be willing to admit that some of the problem that got them to where they are may rest with both sides. Amen.
But when God asked “Adam Where Are?” They played the blame game. Neither was willing to admit any personal responsibility in their act of disobedience in eating the forbidden fruit. Adam blamed Eve. “That woman you gave me.” Lord have mercy. Eve blamed the snake. “The serpent deceived me.” And the serpent just grinned and said, “What do you want me to say, a snake is just a snake.”
All of us have some sin in our lives, No one can say if it had not been for you, we wouldn’t be in this mess. And that is why God sent Jesus. We could not make our way back to God no matter how hard we try. We could not pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps out of sin and estrangement from God. No one could bridge the great gulf created by Adam and Eve’s disobedience, but Jesus.
And because of what Jesus has done, in taking our sins upon Himself at the Cross of Calvary, we have the choice of being restored in a relationship with God. If we accept him as our Savior: Unashamed. “For our sake He who knew no sin, became sin that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Unashamed!
“If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness.” Unashamed! (1John 1:9) “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set us free from the law of sin and death.” Unashamed! (Romans 8:1) “For there is One God and One Mediator between God and Humanity, the Man Jesus Christ.” Unashamed! (1Tim. 2:5)
Because of what God has done for us through Jesus we can let go of our guilt, our shame, our mess-ups, our misgivings, and give them to God because God has already dealt with them at the Cross. Telling the truth about our feelings of guilt and shame and regrets and misgivings can be liberating.
“Your grace and mercy brought me through, I’m living this moment because of You, I want to thank You, and praise You too: Your grace and mercy brought me through.”