And they 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. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” – Genesis 3:8-10
Do you like to ask questions? I do. When I was in college I took a zoology class. I was not a good student, but my zoology professor told me that I asked good questions. Some consolation, I guess. The first class I had when studying for my Doctor of Ministry degree had me with a severe case of laryngitis. I was miserable. Why? I couldn’t ask questions! Have you noticed that the best detectives in all the British mystery dramas answer questions with questions? Smart move.
Jesus did the same thing. But Jesus isn’t the first. The first recorded conversation between God and Adam and Eve begins with God’s question: “Adam, where are you?” But God does not ask questions in order to gain information. He asks questions to engage us. He asks questions to call Adam and Eve back into relationship with himself. God knows where Adam and Eve are.
God knows all things. He needs no one to reveal their hiding place. He is inviting Adam and Eve to come into the light. To face the truth. To give an account. To seek mercy. To acknowledge their rebellion and disobedience.
I’m not certain just how I might have acted in that situation. But I know there have been times when a well-asked question has invited me to come of hiding. To let myself be seen and known. To confess. To repent.
When Joseph encounters his brothers after their father’s death, they fear for their wellbeing. Joseph asks a question, “But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?'” (Genesis 50:19; see Genesis 37-50 for the Joesph narrative). He know they do not. But he is implicitly asking them to repent of their attitude toward him.
Perhaps you have been asked a question that silenced you. Maybe you need such a question now. In either case, what question do you think God would ask you now? It might just be, “Where are you?” He might long for you to come into the light and experience perfect truth and grace.