Where Are You?
You probably think “Where Are You” is a person asking God where He is. Wrong!
Well – sort of wrong.
It is that. Especially in the picture.
It’s intentionally misleading.
Actually, you may be surprised at the first instance of “Where are you?”
We are always asking God – “Where are You?”
We read it often enough in the Bible as well.
For instance – there’s this from David –
Ps 6:1 O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath.
Ps 6:2 Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint;
O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony.
Ps 6:3 My soul is in anguish.
How long, O LORD, how long?
How long are you going to let this go on LORD?
Why aren’t you doing something?
Where are you?
And it’s not like David only said this kind of thing one time.
Ps 13:1 How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
Ps 13:2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Ps 13:3 Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
Ps 13:4 my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
How long – again.
Why are you hiding from me?
Why are you pretending you can’t see me?
Where are you?
And there are many more Psalms with the same theme.
And the book of Habakkuk is pretty much entirely about that same theme – where are you God?
Hab 1:2 How long, O LORD, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not save?
Hab 1:3 Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.
Hab 1:4 Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted.
Why don’t you respond?
Why don’t you do something?
Where are you?
And look at what happens as a result of God not being there.
(according to Habakkuk’s Complaint)
Why was God “not there”?
But let’s think about these scenarios.
For David – when God “wasn’t there” – it’s not like David was some poor innocent soul who God just deserted.
Far from it.
There were those “little” things like the episode with Bathsheba where David was responsible for adultery, the wrongful death of a man that was incredibly loyal to David, and a child from her as well.
And for Habakkuk – look at what he was really complaining about.
The people had turned so far away from God that Habakkuk couldn’t even stand to see it anymore.
One has to assume – rightly so – that God couldn’t stand to see it either.
So let’s look at that.
Was God really hiding?
Or was it the other way around?
It wasn’t God who wasn’t there.
It wasn’t God who wasn’t with the people.
It was the people who weren’t there with God.
And that’s the whole point of the question.
I received a prompt from a software package regarding a book that I own, but haven’t read yet. The book is Startling Questions, by J. C. Ryle. It was written in 1853.
The first question addressed in the book was this –
Where art Thou?
And this question had nothing to do with people asking where God was.
Where are you? – the first time it’s asked in the Bible
No – this was about the very first time “Where are you?” was ever asked in the Bible.
Here’s how that chapter of the book opens –
The question before your eyes is the first which God asked of man after the fall. It is the question He put to Adam in the day that he ate the forbidden fruit, and became a sinner.
In vain did Adam and his wife hide themselves among the trees of the garden of Eden. In vain did they try to escape the eye of the all-seeing God. They heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the cool of the day. “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” (Gen. 3:9.) Think for a moment how awful those words must have sounded! Think what the feelings of Adam and Eve must have been! 1)Ryle, J. C. (1853). Startling Questions (p. 5). New York: Robert Carter & Brothers.
In case you forgot –
Ge 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Ge 3:8Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
Ge 3:10He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
So it wasn’t about God hiding.
It wasn’t about God not caring.
It wasn’t about God not being there.
God wasn’t hiding. Adam & Eve were hiding.
God did care. Adam & Eve didn’t care (when they ate from the forbidden tree)
God was there. Adam & Eve were trying to not be there.
So the next time you’re asking God – Where are You?
Look in the mirror and ask – Where am I?
Where are you?
When I first wrote this, it was for an individual person. Partly for me. Partly for some of you.
Now – February of 2018 – I’m updating the entire series. I started to use this in a class last year. We didn’t finish, because I had to “go find God” – meaning I needed to get myself back with Him. Not that He was gone. I was gone. Too many things happening. I needed some alone time with Him to reconnect.
In that class, I was using the example of a modern-day Habakkuk – standing on top of the Hollywood Hills, looking out at all the evil going on below him. Even if you’ve never been to Hollywood, just think about it’s reputation. There’s a good chance that reality is even worse than you think. It seemed like a perfect way to envision the scene from Habakkuk’s time.
But now – on my other site, which god saves.com I’m doing a series on new religious regulations in communist China. I feel that what’s happening in China (and other places) is also relevant to this series. It’s relevant to the question, “God – where are you?” To be sure, it’s a different view. It’s not a person looking at the evil being done around them by other people. It’s about God’s church – looking around at what the government is doing to them. But in both cases, God’s people are asking – God, where are you?
Update to Where are you?
Having said that, it also feels like the expectations of people are very different in the two scenarios. In the Hollywood case – are people really asking God to intervene or to rescue them? And in the China case, is the response different from the people actually living in China, as compared to observers outside of China but watching what’s going on there?
So – I’m going back to update the series. Considerations from both scenarios will be added along the way.
Because of that, I’m removing everything from the series announcement article. They’ll be put back as the updates take place. If you’d like to keep up with the series, please subscribe to this site using one of the methods at the top / right side of this page. Or, you can come back and check out the lead article for this series: God! Where Are You?
image from sohna01.blogspot.com
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Ryle, J. C. (1853). Startling Questions (p. 5). New York: Robert Carter & Brothers.|
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