— 8 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. 9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
How will God come to us now that we have rebelled against Him?
If you were Adam and Even that would have been a very perplexing question?
“Perhaps God will not come to us at all, and then we shall be orphans indeed. If we were spared to live on, allowed to continue to live without God and without hope in the world.”
It would have been the worst thing that could have happened to our race if God had left this planet to take its own course, and had said, about the people upon it, “I will leave them to their own way, for they are given over to idols.”
But if He did come to our first parents, in what way would He come?
Maybe we would expect Him to come accompanied with His holy angels and vengeance!!!
Vengeance to destroy them right away, or to chain and blind them forever!
Perhaps every tree they sought to hide behind was saying to chastise them for their disobedience:
“Why come you here? You have eaten of the fruit of the tree whereof you were forbidden to partake.
You have broken your Maker’s command, and his sentence of death has already gone out against you.
When He comes, He will certainly come to deal with you in judgment according to His faithful word; and when He does, what will become of you?”
So He did come to them in v8, “in the cool of the day”.
God’s voice is the most wonderful of all sounds.
Yet when the voice of God was heard in the garden following Adam and Eve’s sin, the man and his wife were not drawn to it as they had been previously.
They were terrified of God and hid themselves.
The problem was not in the voice, of course, for the voice of God was gentle and filled with love.
God sometimes speaks in judgment; then the voice is terrifying.
But this was not the case in Eden.
Everything in God’s manner was as before.
He came in the garden rather than descending from heaven in some spectacular show of displeasure.
He was walking, not running.
He arrived in the cool of the day, the most pleasant time, rather than in the heat of the afternoon or in the dark of night, when all human fears seem doubly fearful.
He did not come suddenly. He came by degrees, calling as he came.
No, it was not the voice or manner of God’s coming that was terrifying to Adam and Eve.
It was the fact that they had sinned, and when one has sinned against God even the tenderest of voices can be frightening.
I want us to look and see how God comes to sinners.
Now, from this meeting between God and fallen man, I learn a few lessons, which I will pass on to you as the Holy Spirit shall enable me.
I. The first is this. When God did meet with fallen man, it was not until the cool of the day.
This suggests to me God’s great patience with the guilty.
Whether Adam and Eve sinned in the early morning, or in the middle of the day, or toward evening, we do not know.
It is not necessary that we should know this; but it is probable that the Lord God allowed an interval to intervene between the sin and the sentence.
There are times in Scripture where God (in His sovereignty) demonstrates His anger towards sin with immediate judgment upon sin and sinners.
For example: God struck down the people of Beth-shemesh because they looked inside the ark of the Lord. He struck down seventy persons. The people mourned because the Lord struck them with a great slaughter. 20 The people of Beth-shemesh asked, “Who is able to stand in the presence of the Lord this holy God? To whom should the ark go from here?”
Or in When they came to Nacon’s threshing floor, Uzzah reached out to the ark of God and took hold of it because the oxen had stumbled. 7 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and God struck him dead on the spot for his irreverence, and he died there next to the ark of God.
Or Ananias, with his wife Sapphira in . They held back their possessions from God and they were struck dead.
But when you see the overall nature of God and how He deals with sin, one of the precious attributes of God is His longsuffering!
God is so holy, and the Scriptures teach that He cannot even look upon iniquity and He says that I must go and hold these creatures of mine accountable for their sin, and bring them into judgment yet it is mercy in which I delight.
— Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy.
Think of the picture. God goes early in the morning and draws back the curtains, which had shielded Adam and Eve during the night, then He poured His sunlight upon them and God delighted to do this !
And He poured this sunshine on them all day and He doesn’t come to deal with them until the last moment, till the cool of the day,
which is literally ‘until the evening breeze’.
The fact that God did not come to question his sinful creatures till the cool of the day
ought to teach us the greatness of His patience, and
it should also teach us to be ourselves patient with others.
II. Now think secondly how the He comes by His Spirit to awaken the consciences of men.
When He comes to a sinner He in someway, comes like this:
He comes at the appropriate time: “in the cool of the day”.
The Spirit of God typically comes to awaken me, generally visits them when they have a little time for quiet thought.
Many times in sermons, you come and hear and most of it slips from your memory,
but there are some words that strike you so that you could not get rid of them!
Sitting at a night watch at the bedside of a sick loved one or friend, the God came to you and brought to your remembrance the words that you had forgotten.
Then,—then came the voice of the Lord God speaking personally to you.
When other voices were silenced, there was an opportunity for His voice to be heard.
Let’s pray tonight that God corners these busy folks that we love and speaks to those for whom we love.
So He comes at the appropriate time. He
2. Comes personally. He spoke to Adam personally and asked, “Where are you?” (v9).
This prevails in so many of our hearts. We hear God’s word being preached and we want to lend other people our ears.
“Oh, what a pity, so-and-so wasn’t here to hear this!”
But when God comes to a person, as He did Adam and Eve, the sermon that God delivers is to you and and every word of it is meant for yourself!
He will say, “Adam” or “Don” or “Joyce” or “Niki” or whatever your name is, “where are you?”.
I remember (before I knew the Lord) committing certain sins and saying things I wished I didn’t say and gone to places I wished that I hadn’t gone;
Going to bed and not being able to sleep. It seemed as though God had come to wrestle with me and reason with me about my doings!
Bringing up one thing after another of what ways I was sinning against Him.
Even, as a believer, if I’ve sinned and am harboring sin in my heart, there is no peace there till it’s resolved!
When God deals with you this way, be thankful for it and yield yourself to Him.
Do not struggle against God.
I’m always happy when men cannot be happy in the world because as long as they can, they will be!
It saddens me to watch a once walking believer seeking to find satisfaction in this world!
When you can take and lead a person from the pleasures of Egypt and by God’s guidance,
help them to seek after the milk and honey of the land of Canaan, this is the great mercy of God.
It’s wonderful when God comes and speaks personally.
When we pray, let’s pray that God comes and speaks in this personal nature, first to ourselves, secondly about the people that we love.
3. When the Lord comes and speaks personally, He can cause a man to see His lost condition.
“Where are you?” A lost person is lost to
Adam, I’ve lost you! At one time I could speak with you as a man but I cannot do so any longer.
At one time, you were my obedient child but not so now, where are you?
In our prayer time, let’s ask God to convince these people who are lost (that are in our lives), that they are lost to God
Remember what the good Shepherd said, who found His sheep?
— 5 When he has found it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, 6 and coming home, he calls his friends and neighbors together, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’ 7 I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who don’t need repentance.
Or the prodigal son and what’s said about him,
“ ‘This my son was dead,’—dead to me,—‘and is alive again; he was lost,’—lost to me, ‘and is found.’ ”
The value of the soul of a man to God is wrapped up in those words, “Where are you?”