Saturday, February 17

Saturday, February 17   Scripture: Genesis 3:8-13 When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” 11 “Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked. “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.” 13 Then the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done?” “The serpent deceived me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.”   Some thoughts:     We mentioned yesterday, the first question in the Bible comes from the serpent, “Did God really say?” Then comes the Fall of humanity in Eve and Adam’s response and the entrance of sin and death into the world. On the heels of this first question comes the second question in the Bible, not surprisingly, it’s a question from God. Like the first question, it too is posed to every living human, and it is a question God asks you today. “Where are you?” These are two questions that need to be answered daily. The first query is important because it requires a knowledge of what God has said in the Scriptures, necessitating careful ongoing study of God’s word and one of the reasons for these devotionals. The second question needs to be answered with the implication from the Lord being, “Where are you in relation to me?” “Are you hiding from me?” “Are you ignoring me?” “Are you ashamed?” “Are you too busy to spend time interacting with me?” “Are you trusting me?” “Are you afraid of me?” “Are you enjoying our relationship?” Another way of dealing with this second question is simply, how transparent and healthy is my relationship with God.        Now God knew full well where Adam and Eve were hiding. Adam answered the literal, physical question but the Lord went to the heart of the issue because the “Where are you?” was a heart question. The God/human relationship was now different. It had been severed. Then come more pointed questions from God. “Who told you that you were naked?” “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?” God zeros in on the couple. And a final question to Eve, “What have you done?” The Lord was walking on a path in the Garden, a path he had created, a path of closeness. The three of them had been in communion and that relationship was now cut off resulting in an infinite eternal chasm. Adam and Eve were “off the path” and with them, the whole human race. Have you noticed in your own life when you have blown it, how quickly the Holy Spirit hits the bullseye in identifying our sin?        Have you ever asked someone you love, when the two of you were experiencing difficulties, this same basic question, “Where are you?” “Where are we?” One of the themes of the season of Lent is that of spiritual self-examination in which we might ask ourselves, “Where am I with the Lord?” Am I where I was last year or am I growing closer and deeper in my journey? And like his relationship with Adam and Eve, the Father knows exactly where you are as you read this and is longing for close communion with you. The answers to these two questions “Did God say?” and “Where are you?” determine the path we take and whether we stay on the path. It’s a daily journey. Ask yourself these questions. (I would suggest that you might read one-half a chapter of Pilgrim’s Progress each day of Lent.  If you begin today, read chapter one up to the entrance of Worldly Wisdom. Christian asks this very question, “What shall I do?” echoing God’s question to the pair, “What have you done?” Christian answers it by taking the pilgrimage journey of faith and heading down the path to the Celestial City.) Music: “If Ye Love Me” the King’s Singers Prayer: O thou great Chief, light a candle in my heart, that I may see what is therein, and sweep the rubbish from thy dwelling place.   —An African schoolgirl’s prayer, from Eerdmans’ Book of Famous Prayers, p.90         First Sunday in Lent, February 18 Scripture: Exodus 12:1-5 12 While the Israelites were still in the land of Egypt, the Lord gave the following instructions to Moses and Aaron: “From now on, this month will be the first month of the year for you. Announce to the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for a sacrifice, one animal for each household. If a family is too small to eat a whole animal, let them share with another family in the neighborhood. Divide the animal according to the size of each family and how much they can eat. The animal you select must be a one-year-old male, either a sheep or a goat, with no defects.