The law of first mention is a strong impetus for thought, especially when God is involved. Pilate asked the Lord Jesus, ‘What is truth,’ with no real intention of hearing the correct answer, and the thundering silence was rebuke enough.
More striking however was the first question appearing on the page of scripture, and God did the asking. ‘Where are you?’ said the Lord God to a lost Adam, and the first man was near and far at the same time.
God’s queries are not to solicit his own curiosity, as if he is unknowing, and Adam heard a question that pierced his very bone and marrow, for he must address a severed conscience and a defect of character. Adam sinned, and God was inquiring as to Adam’s thoughts regarding this separation.
‘Where are you?’ not geographically such as westward of the fruit tree, or northward of the river, but ‘where are you now in relation to me?’ a question still relevant to all of Adam’s posterity.
God’s questions are always important: ‘what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?’ or ‘How can David’s son be David’s Lord?’ yet we miss the mark by not weighing these things in the sanctuary.
How many times do we traffic in the near and far, saying the right things, yet thinking the exact opposite? We are told to examine ourselves, for a doctor may inspect, but he cannot examine truly. It is a very good thing to examine myself, to note the response of that question, ‘where are you?’ in 2013, with the same import as if it was first asked to brother Adam.
Thank God Adam found his way, and his son Abel brought the correct sacrifice in faith, proof that the way of righteousness found good soil. Thus the question could have been asked to Abel ‘where are you?’ and ‘on the mercy seat’ would have been the right answer.
‘Their lips say the right things,’ saith the Lord, ‘but their hearts are far from me,’ a sad indictment of the truth of man. God desires honesty with his own, I cannot fool him. There are standard phrases that too many of us dabble in the sandbox, and we become otters in the kingdom of God, playing the fool.
‘God wants you to prosper,’ ‘I claim this or that,’ ‘I rebuke the devil,’ ‘Begone thou sickness,’ ‘You are sick because you lack faith,’ and you could add a hundred more, language meant not to build up, but to tear down.
Near and far, ‘saying’ the things that appear spiritual. but reveal a lack of depth of spirituality. ‘Where are you?’ when you say such things?? I recall a certain Michael having more respect for Satan by deferring to God for the purpose of rebuking him, and another man named Paul instructing Timothy to take a little wine for his sickness, words surely given to soothe a broken body.
If I have a context of ‘where I am’ before I go about my business, I just may arrive at a more harmonious outcome. Also, the strength of ‘that’ first question may be quite helpful for my own spiritual well-being.
So my friend: where are you?