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Summary: God calls us. Jesus has taught us, "Many are called, but few are chosen." However, the first time man was called by God, what was the purpose of His calling? The message explores that call and refocuses the divine call to our generation.

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The LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” [1]

G

reat questions are not meant to reveal information to the interlocutor; great questions are meant to compel the one questioned to discover what should have been obvious. All of us have a tendency to wear masks. In fact, the Greek term from which we get our word “hypocrite,” was used of an actor who donned a mask to play a part. Wearing such masks has become an unconscious part of our human condition. Though it is painful to admit, each of us wear masks to maintain a semblance of self-esteem, to maintain a sense of self-control in our daily walk. This is, after all, the basis for the statement Paul provides in the Corinthian Letter. “Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” [1 CORINTHIAN 13:12].

Few of us would be comfortable living lives that were emotionally naked; none of us are comfortable exposing our vulnerabilities. We are uncertain what others might think of us if they knew us; thus, we wear masks so that those with whom we associate won’t know who we truly are. Even our spouses only gradually are able to peel away out masks to discover who we really are. If we are uncomfortable appearing emotionally naked before our family, friends and colleagues, you may be assured that it can be even more devastating for an individual compelled to appear spiritually naked before the world.

We imagine that we are self-sufficient—strong and capable of handling any challenge. Modern culture trains us to esteem such self-sufficiency. God is available for tasks deemed too difficult to handle; but overall, we imagine ourselves able to handle any problem. Especially we who bear the Name of the Son of God are careful to avoid appearing as sinful. We readily see the sinful condition of others, easily pointing out their sin; yet, we resist anyone who speaks of us as sinners. “I’m not as bad as…” and we fill in the name of some poor soul whom we deem more blameworthy than ourselves. However, as we spend time in the presence of God—reading His Word and seeking His will in prayer, we discover who we are; and the exposure of the real self is not always pleasant. God strips away the façade we have so carefully constructed to hide our lives; He does so in order to teach us dependence on Him who gives us life.

Throughout the Word of God are a number of great questions of life. God poses the questions, and as we hear His Word, we are compelled to examine who we are. The answer to the questions He poses is sometimes painful, seldom pleasant; however, if we respond wisely and truthfully, the result will redound to our good and His glory. One such question worthy of examination is the first question God asked that is recorded in the Word of God. It is a simple question. God raised the question of Adam when he sought to hide himself from God. God called out to Adam, hidden among the trees of the Garden of Eden, “Where are you?”

GOD SEEKS MAN; MAN DOES NOT SEEK GOD — It is a grave error for any individual to imagine he or she searched out God. God may reveal Himself, but no person can discover God. Neither can an individual actually seek God; for in the flesh, the individual is dead to God. The works of the sinful nature preclude searching for God; rather, God seeks man.

Ever since the fall of our first parents, people flee from God’s presence. Before the Fall, Adam and Eve appear to have enjoyed an intimacy with the Creator that is foreign to our experience. In the verse preceding our text we read, “[The man and the woman] heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden” [GENESIS 3:8]. The wording leads us to believe that God’s presence was anticipated and enjoyed daily. Moreover, when God made His presence known, we are left with the impression that the first pair enjoyed discoursing with Him. After sin entered into the world, when they knew of God’s presence, they hid themselves! We attempt to hide ourselves from God’s presence to this day.

Do you doubt that last statement? Let’s do a little exercise and see whether that is indeed the case. Few of us would argue that those outside of Christ want little to do with God. The churches of the nation are not exactly filled with people seeking the Son of God. I had a delightful Dutch gentleman in a congregation I pastored in the Lower Mainland. Gerry had been a sergeant in the Dutch Army during the days before the Second World War.

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