"Where Are You?"   (July 2008)

When we were children, we played a game called “Hide and Seek”.  You’re familiar with the game- one person would close their eyes and count to one hundred while the other person would go find a place to hide.  When the one who was counting got to one hundred, they would say, “Ready or not, here I come”.  Then they would proceed to try to find the person in hiding- they would “seek” for them.  Did you know that the first “game” of hide and seek was played in the Garden of Eden?  Only it had a little different “twist” to it.  “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” (Genesis 3:8)  Adam and Eve were the ones hiding and God was the One seeking.  But unlike the game we played as a child, God knew where they were hiding-- and it was not a game but a very serious matter.  God knew where Adam and Eve were, but when He came in the cool of the day to walk and talk with them He called out to them.  “And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9)

Many people throughout history, and even today, have tried to “hide” from God.  Don’t you think that this is one of the most ridiculous things you have ever heard?  How does anyone think that they can hide from God.  He is Omnipresent- everywhere all at the same time.  His eyes are everywhere, He sees everything, nothing is hid from Him.  One of the names of God is El Roi (the God who sees).  “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3)  “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” (Hebrews 4:13)  The Psalmist said that there was no place that he could go that God could not see Him. (Psalm 139)

As we have said, when God called to Adam and Eve, “Where are you?”, it wasn’t because He didn’t know where they were.  He knew exactly where they were hiding and why.  When God asks a question, it’s not because He doesn’t know the answer.  He has a reason behind asking and that reason is not for His benefit but for ours.

God knows where we are, but often we don’t.  Often, we have to “locate” ourselves before God can step in to do His part in our lives.  For example, when Jesus asked blind Bartimaeus what he wanted Him to do for him, he answered and told Him that he wanted to see.  “And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.” (Mark 10:51)  Don’t you think it was pretty obvious to Jesus that this was a blind man and needed to be healed.  Jesus knew the answer to the question before He asked but asking it was for Bartimaeus’ benefit.  Once Bartimaeus answered the question- the answer was proof that Bartimaeus knew “where” he was (in need)- Jesus moved to meet his need and gave him his sight.

Acknowledging where you are brings you out of “hiding” so that you can receive from God what you need and only He can give.  When Adam acknowledged where he was- “And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (verse 10)- then God could do for them what they could not do for themselves- “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” (verse 21)

The Lord is still asking the same question today-- “Where are you?”  He asks it to all of us from time to time.  When He asks you, what will your answer to Him be?  Where are you?  Where are you today?  There are many places that we can be “hiding” in needing to acknowledge that we need to be “found”.  Let’s talk about some of those places.  Perhaps you are in one of them today.

Where are you?  Are you in hiding like Adam and Eve?  You know that you have sinned.  You disobeyed God and the shame and guilt have caused you to “hide” from Him?  Has the condemnation made you afraid to go to Him for forgiveness so you stay in your sin instead?  Are you trying to come up with your own solution to hide your sin? 

Where are you?  Are you living in a cave (a place of darkness) because of the enemy’s threats?  “Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.” (1 Kings 19:2)  Did you listen to the enemy and take to heart what he said?  Have you let it stop you from doing what you are called to do?  As long as you stay in the “cave” you will never come out and fulfill God’s plan for your life.  “And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria.” (1 Kings 19:15)

Where are you? Are you in a place of bitterness and anger because of the work of the Lord, or because you have served Him and you feel He has let you down?  “And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” (1 Kings 19:9-10)

Where are you?  Are you drowning in a sea of doubt because the storms of life have overwhelmed you?  Does what you are facing seem stronger and more powerful than Jesus?  Are the waves and winds of the uncertainties of life (problems in relationships, job security, etc.) beating upon you?  Are you being “pulled under” by the storm?  Are you afraid that it will destroy you?  “But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink.” (Matthew 14:30a)

Where are you?  Are you in a place of deep grief and pain?  Tragedy has hit your life, it has stolen something precious from you?  Is your heart breaking, or it feels like it’s been ripped from you, because of your loss?  Are your tears soaking your pillow at night?  Have you cried until you can’t cry any more?  “My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?” (Psalm 42:3)  “In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.” (Matthew 2:18)

Where are you? Are you being persuaded by others to do the wrong thing?  Are you listening to the council of man?  Are you letting them influence you away from the purposes of God, away from doing what’s pleasing in God’s sight, away from listening to and obeying God’s voice?  Are you following the crowd and letting them set your standards?  “And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.  And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.  And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?  And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief.  For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.  And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.” (Exodus 32:1-2, 21-24)

Where are you? Are you running from the call of God on your life?  Has He sent you in one direction but you are headed in another?  Have you taken over the task of directing your own steps?  Have you decided that you know what’s best better than God?  Have you let prejudice, pride, money, the fear of men send you in the opposite direction from the Lord’s leading?  “Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.  But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.” (Jonah 1:1-3)

Where are you?  Have you lost everything?  Has the enemy stolen your family, your home, your possessions, the respect of others, a once solid relationship, leaving you with seemingly nothing to live for?  “And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way.  So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives.  Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.” (1 Samuel 30:1-4)

Where are you? Are you like the rich young ruler, trusting in your good works and deeds to save you?  Are you hoping that keeping the commandments and going to church are good enough to get you into heaven?  Are you placing works for the Savior above a relationship with Him?  Are you doing all the religious practices but are still breaking the first commandment?  “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)  Are you placing other things above God- family, career, entertainment, your spouse, your dreams and ambitions, money, talents, etc.?  “And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.  Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” (Mark 10:20,21)

Where are you? In a state of bewilderment having been betrayed by those you love, those who were closest to you, those you trusted?  Were you unjustly accused and lied upon?  Have you been the object of jealously because of the Lord’s blessings upon your life?  “And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him; and they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.” (Genesis 37:23,24)  “And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.  And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within.  And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.  And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth, that she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice:  And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.” (Genesis 39:10-14,20)

Where are you? Are you in a time of great suffering?  Are you going through tremendous trials and difficulties?  Does it seem more than you can bear?  Were you serving and worshipping the Lord and calamity came upon you suddenly without warning?  Are you being bombarded by one problem after another?  “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.  And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.” (Job 1:1,12)  So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.” (Job 2:7)

Where are you?  Are you living in rebellion?  Have you left the “Father’s house” to pursue your own desires?  Are you living in the “pig pen” of the world?  Have you turned your back on a life of holiness, integrity, faithfulness and loving devotion to the Lord?  “And he said, A certain man had two sons:  And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.  And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.  And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.  And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.” (Luke 15:11-13,15,16)

Where are you?  Have you received a bad report?  The doctors say there is no hope, it’s only a matter of time?  Do you feel as though you are being cheated not having the opportunity or time to accomplish some things that you desire to see happen?  Does the news make you feel as though your whole world has already ended?  “In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live.” (Isaiah 38:1)

Where are you? Are you being self-righteous, critical of those who aren’t serving the Lord like you are?  Are you condemning, thinking more highly of yourself than you ought to think?  Have you set yourself up so high that you have to look down your spiritual nose to see any one else?  Are you above giving a cup of cold water to the thirsty?  Do you feel it’s beneath you to help the poor and lift up those who have been rejected by society?  Are you passing by those who are hurting without reaching even a finger to help?  Are you proud of your religious position in the church but won’t feed the hungry, visit the sick, check on the widows?  Are you judging others but excusing your own sinful actions?  “And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.” (Luke 11:39)  “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.  Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” (Matthew 23:27,28)  “And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.  And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.” (Luke 10:30-32)

I could go on and on.  There are as many different “places” to be in as there are people.  There are times in all of our lives when we find ourselves in one place or another.  Some of these places are of our own making- like Adam and Eve.  Some aren’t- like Joseph.  Nevertheless, whatever the reason we are in them is, we must first acknowledge where we are.  If we don’t acknowledge where we are-- in a place of need-- then we won’t acknowledge our need for God-- the only one who can meet the need.

Today the Lord is aware of where you are just like He was Elijah.  He is right there with you just like He was with Peter.  He is calling and waiting for you to respond just like He did for Adam and Eve.  When the prodigal son acknowledged where he was (in the pig pen), he went to his father and found him waiting with outstretched arms ready to meet him at the point of his need.  When you acknowledge where you are (wherever that may be), you’ll find the Heavenly Father’s arms ready to embrace you and minister to your need as well.