Genesis 3 : 6 - 9, So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound 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 among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?" NKJV
In the aftermath of human suffering and loss, people seem to be compelled to turn to God. However, when I say, "Turn to God," I use that term loosely. In many cases when people ask, "Where was God when lives were lost?" they are only aiming to blame Him for someone else's wrong actions. If people don't know God or His Word because they have no desire or interest in doing so, then how can they ever understand why God does or does not do something? How can you explain why I do certain things if all you know about me is my name?
When Jesus was in Philippi, He asked His disciples, "Who do men say that I am?" They answered Him and said, "Some say that you are John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others say that you are Jeremiah, or one of the prophets." Then Jesus turned to those who had been walking and living with Him and asked them the same question. Simon answered Jesus correctly because the Holy Spirit had revealed Jesus' spiritual identity to him. Simon said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
If we want to know where God was at a particular time in our history or why He allows death to invade society, then we must go to Him in humility and seek His answer; it is pointless to ask the world a question about God. The people in the world don't know God. Consequently, they seek only to place blame at His feet in order to shift responsibility on Him and away from them. Let's dig deeper into this subject and see what the Word of God has to say about God's whereabouts during times of human suffering.
In the scripture for today's word, you will see that God isn't present in body form to prevent Eve from acting on Satan's lies and committing sin. She acted of her own freewill. Even so, where was God? He had already given Adam both the commandment and the warning of what would happen should they disobey His directive not to eat to the forbidden tree. Nevertheless, in spite of God's will being expressed to Adam, and although he knew before sinning what the repercussions would be, he decided to please himself instead of God.
Consequently, as a result of Adam and Eve's decision to sin, death was released on mankind. We don't see it immediately in this chapter; nonetheless, if you read chapter 4, you will see that Cain kills Abel. The first account of murder in the Bible occurred shortly after man chose to sin against God. At this point, the world's media would appear on the scene and ask, "Where was God when this evil man, Cain killed his innocent brother?"
Have you noticed that their attention is always diverted "at" God, instead of turning to Him? When God appeared on the scene after Adam and Eve sinned, He asked Adam, "Where are you, Adam?" While we're asking God where He was during a time of devastation and great loss, God is asking those who have been given His Holy Spirit and His Word, "Where were you?"
The Bible tells us that while Satan was tempting Eve, Adam was standing right beside her. He shirked his duties of defending Eve and standing up for God's will and Word and, thereby, allowed sin and death to invade our world. Now, I want you to notice that there wasn't an immediate consequence to their sin; in other words, neither of them died immediately. Nevertheless, what Satan and the world doesn't want you to know, but God does, is that shortly after they committed sin, death took one of their sons; and they lost the closeness of the other son, who committed the heinous crime.
It has been said, "Evil thrives when good men do nothing." This saying still holds true today. God has placed His church on the earth, along with civil government, to protect and preserve life. However, all too often, both God-ordained establishments turn a deaf ear to God and the cries of the innocent as they suffer at the hands of evil people.
We can choose to turn a deaf ear to sin and corruption. We can even join in with those who blame God when tragedy strikes. Nevertheless, while we're tempting the Lord with our wicked ways, God is still asking us the same question that He asked Adam on the day he abdicated his authority. "Where were you when I asked you to pray, and seek My face, and turn from your evil ways, that I might forgive your sins and heal your land? You did not do as I asked; therefore, by doing nothing, you allowed destruction to come upon you."
Here is a passage of scripture that I have preached from on many occasions. It will help us know what our responsibility to God is while we're living on earth.
Ezekiel 3 : 16 - 21, Now it came to pass at the end of seven days that the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. "Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul." NKJV
God does not want us to live with shame, regret, grief, and emotional pain over human suffering and loss. He wants us to stand in the gap and build up a hedge around our families, homes, communities, and our nations through righteous living and prayer. Let's keep those who have suffered the loss of family in the recent tragedies that have hit our land lifted in prayer. And let us never become as Adam, who silently stood by and did nothing. Ask the Lord for boldness to stand up in the evil day and be salt and light in the earth, and He will give it to you.
Taking a Stand for Righteous Living,
Pastor Asa Dockery