The very first question in the Bible is asked by the serpent, the second by God. This seems significant to me. The struggle begins, and is seen throughout God’s word – of good versus evil, of God dealing with our fallenness, of our willingness to be led by the wrong questioner, and the wrong questions. It’s all there, in the beginning:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’? – Genesis 3:1
They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” – Genesis 3:8-9
Questions are important. And asking the right question is crucial. I have come to believe that a life well-lived is not found by having all the answers, but by asking all the right questions. Are you asking the right questions in life? My hope is that this new series of blog posts will help us all to explore the right questions, and where better to turn than to scripture? There are over 2,500 questions asked in the Bible. I won’t be looking at them all! But I will be looking at those that I find most compelling, beginning with these two in Genesis 3.
So, back to the first question in scripture. The serpent’s famous question is clearly the wrong question. “Did God really say …?” is a question that seeks to avoid God’s will, rather than to discern it. It is the wrong question, and it is also a lie. No, Mr. Serpent, God did not really say that. (Here is what God actually said: “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” – Genesis 2:16-17) The serpent’s question is a lie, and the wrong question, but it is enough to tempt Eve and Adam to take matters into their own hands, so to speak. It leads to their fall and exile from the Garden of Eden, which is why asking the right question is so important. Because asking the wrong question can lead to our fall.
But the next question in scripture, the one that God asks, is God’s blessed answer to the fall: “Where are you?” What a profound question! Where are you? God wants to know! You might be hiding from God, ashamed and guilt-ridden. Or, you might be ready to give up on God, after so many unanswered prayers. Or, you might be so busy living this life that you have forgotten about God. Where are you? God wants to know. God seeks us, always, with the hope of restoring and reconciling our relationship with God. God did this for Adam and Eve, and wants to do it for us.
So, where are you, spiritually speaking? What are the struggles that you are facing? What are your hopes and dreams, your failures and disappointments? God wants to know. God wants to hear from you. God cares for you and I, more than we can imagine.
Where are you? Live with that question, the right question. Ponder it deeply, share your ponderings honestly with God in prayer, and have your hope restored.
This is the first in a series exploring scripture’s most compelling questions. I share more about this series here: What Are Scripture’s Most Compelling Questions?