Genesis 3:9-11  Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”  He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”  And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
This is 74th Lecture on Genesis.
In the last lecture, you saw Adam and Eve hide themselves when God the Father’s divided entity came into the Garden of Eden.
Previously they used to welcome God with joy.
After eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, however, they hid themselves from the presence of God.
Now, let’s take a look at Genesis 3:9.
It says, “Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?””
God the Father looked for Adam.
God is omniscient and omnipotent; did He look for Adam because He didn’t where he was?
Not at all! He knew everything.
He knew Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and that they hid themselves because of it.
Yet, He looked for Adam because He wanted confirmation directly from Adam.
He wanted Adam to come before God and confess everything honestly.
God the Father gave Adam a chance to repent.
He tried to hear from Adam why Adam committed such sin in Adam’s shoes.
God the Father knows everything precisely.
And so, He didn’t need to ask Adam.
He might have said to Adam and Eve, “Since you committed such sin, you shall be punished for it,” and judged them on the spot.
But, He didn’t. He rather first looked for Adam …
… because He wanted to give a chance to Adam so that Adam could repent and turn back.
Dear brothers and sisters.
Another thing you should remember from tonight’s scripture is the fact that it was God that first looked for Adam.
Generally speaking, people don’t want to see or meet with someone who betrayed them or caused them hardships.
When they see the person, they again feel the pain from the scars which were left when they were betrayed by them.
They may even burst into anger.
It is even more so when they were betrayed by someone they loved and trusted.
Most people become disgusted with such a person, and they angrily hate them.
It is a rare case that someone who has been betrayed seeks the betrayer and asks the reason why there seemed to be no other way but betrayal.
However, God the Creator our Father looked for the creature Adam first.
From the very beginning, God the Father had given great love to Adam.
Adam had need of nothing, and God gave Adam the highest authority a creature could enjoy.
Adam enjoyed all these things for countless ages, but he was tempted by Satan and betrayed God.
Even though Adam did this, God still sought out Adam.
We can see how merciful and how full of grace God the Father is.
At this point, we can feel the humanity of God the Father.
If God the Father had revealed divinity more than humanity, it is possible that He might have punished Adam and Eve on the very spot.
It is possible because God rules all things in justice, and because He is the only Judge.
However, at that very moment, God was looking for Adam to have mercy on him as his merciful Father.
Dear brothers and sisters; especially workers and pastors.
With what kind of heart do you treat those who cause you troubles or stand against you?
Do you first try to discern who’s right and who’s wrong?
“He seems to know the word of God, but how could he commit such sin?” Don’t you say like this, and judge and condemn him by the standard of justice?
Or, even if you might never be able to understand the person, do you ever try to understand him in goodness putting yourself into his shoes?
I hope that you can have the heart of God the Father who felt sorry for Adam as He was looking for him.
If you have such a heart, you can harbor any soul with love no matter what kind sin they committed.
Our Lord Jesus also has an exact copy of God the Father’s heart.
He didn’t break off a single soul who was like a battered reed, and He didn’t extinguish any soul who was like a smoldering wick.
He left them to the hands of God the Father who judges only in justice and love.
I myself have treated souls with this heart of God the Father and of the Lord.
For 29 years since I started this church, I’ve experienced various kinds of people.
Those who forsook trust and love, and betrayed me, those who repeatedly repented and committed sin, those who did evil out of their selfish motives and brought grave troubles to this church, and the list goes on….
No matter how obvious it was that they committed sin, I’ve never judged and condemned them arbitrarily.
I surely gave them a chance to plead, and I put myself into their shoes.
I didn’t criticize them, saying, “Why did he do that?” I rather tried to understand the situation and the reason why he had felt that there was no other way but to do such a thing.
I didn’t force them to repent in fear, but I guided them to realize their fault and to repent from their inner heart.
And I prayed for them earnestly.
I begged God the Father to have mercy on them and to give them the spirit of repentance.
Until they were forgiven, I suffered together from the burden of sin, and I tried all means to give them strength.
I tried to make more eye contacts with them, and I shook hands with them more firmly.
Then, I saw many souls feel the love of God the Father in their heart, repent, and turn back.
I’ve never hated even those who harmed me and left me.
I was sorry for them going the way of death, and I waited until they could repent with time.
God the Father wants every soul to reach salvation.
He wants every soul to turn back from the way of sin and death, and come back to the way of salvation and eternity.
I urge you to treat your family and neighbors with such a heart of God the Father.
Dear brothers and sisters.
God the Father didn’t come into the Garden of Eden to scold Adam.
He came to show His mercy as a loving and caring Father.
Without realizing that God the Father had such a heart, Adam continued to use even more fleshly thought.
In Genesis 3:10 Adam said to God who was looking for him, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”
You can see how much fleshly thought had already seized him.
Before Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he had only spiritual thoughts.
Back then when God called for him, since he had only the spiritual thoughts that came into his mind, Adam felt only that God was the Father of love and such a good God.
After eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, however, he felt of God as a “Fearful God,” and he came to think he had to avoid Him and to hide himself from Him.
There is a saying that goes, “He who does something wrong thinks everyone talks about it.”
It means the one who commits sin naturally becomes nervous in his heart.
After Adam committed sin, he felt nervous and uneasy about the time when God would question him about It.
Fleshly thoughts are apt to proceed In advance of those who commit sin.
And fleshly thoughts are followed by anxiety, nervousness, and fear.
When people don’t cast off fleshly thoughts in this situation, it is difficult to turn back from the way of sinners.
It is because the fleshly thoughts conceive yet another sin.
They may come up with a lie to avoid the situation, or they may do something to deceive others.
However, they may eventually end up never being able to turn back.
Regarding this, Romans 8:6 says, “the mind set on the flesh is death.”
Therefore, as soon as a fleshly thought comes into your mind, you have to cut its ‘link’ so that it will not further develop.
And then, you should turn it to a spiritual thought.
It is because Romans 8:6 continues to say, “the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”
Then, how can you cut the link of fleshly thoughts and turn them into spiritual thoughts?
Do you feel it difficult because the fleshly thoughts keep coming into your mind even if you don’t want them to?
There is a getaway.
That is, just change the feeling that you have when the fleshly thought initially hits you.
After the knowledge of untruth is input together with feeling or emotion, the fleshly thought comes up as thought through the work of the soul.
The knowledge that is input without any feeling is easily erased from memory, and so it doesn’t come up as a thought.
In Adam’s case, when he realized that he had committed a sin, he had the feeling that God was now fearful.
That’s why Adam thought he had to hide himself when God was looking for him. And so, he hid himself together with Eve.
If Adam had cast off the feeling that God was fearful, his reactions that followed would have been different.
If Adam had felt that God is the Father of love when he heard the sound of God looking for him, he wouldn’t have been afraid of God and hid himself.
Even though he felt ashamed and sorry, he would have stood before God.
1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”
As said, Adam should have remembered the love of the Father who shared love with him for countless ages, and he should have held fast to that love.
However, Adam hadn’t experienced relativity, and so he couldn’t feel the love of the Father from his inner heart.
Since he had received such tremendous love from God from the very beginning, he didn’t know how precious God’s love was.
Thanks to the great love of God though, we received the grace of salvation when we were destined for death.
God let His only begotten Son Jesus take the punishment of death on our behalf.
You should have this love deeply engraved into your heart.
Just as a car needs gas to run, this love is the driving force to help you live by the word of God.
It is the strength that enables you to cut off the link of fleshly thoughts.
During the process of accomplishing sanctification, it is natural that you find evil in your heart.
When you have fleshly thoughts during this process, you may feel discouraged and fall into despair.
“Why do I still have such evil? I’m still so far away.” If you come up with thoughts like this, you may lose your strength.
But remember the love of the Father. Collect every single one of the memories of just how great the love and grace are that He has given you.
Yesterday, and still today, God the Father is looking forward to seeing His children become perfect. And He is waiting.
If you think of God the Father, who has endured so long in His love, you can change fleshly thoughts into spiritual thoughts.
“I can make it by the grace and love of the Father. It is indeed His love that makes me find evil in me. Without knowing I have such evil as this, how could I go to good Heaven? It is God the Father’s guidance of love who wants to lead me to New Jerusalem.”
If you think in spirit like this, you will gain strength to cast off evil.
You will have a heart readied for fervent pray.
And you can march on toward sanctification all the more quickly.
However, in tonight’s scripture Adam continued to speak and act using fleshly thoughts all the more.
I explained that even though he received much love his fleshly thought resulted from the fact that he had not yet felt the love of God from his inner heart because he hadn’t experienced relativity yet.
However, you can see here that God the Father is continuing to treat Adam, who is acting like this, in His love without changing.
Now in Genesis 3:11, God said to Adam, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
As I told you earlier, God the Father knew everything Adam did.
When Adam said, “I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself,” He knew it was because Adam ate from the tree.
Therefore, God could have directly questioned Adam, saying, “Did you eat from the tree that I forbade you to eat from?”
Even though God the Father knew Adam committed sin, He still wanted to trust Adam.
He didn’t directly question Adam, saying “Did you eat from the tree that I told you not to eat from?”
He first said to Adam, “Who told you that you were naked?”
The question was, “Who explained to you that you were naked?”
God trusted Adam till the end and gave him a chance to speak for himself.
Dear grownup members, what did you do when you disciplined your children?
Did you immediately judge and condemn your child when he did something suspicious?
“You are hiding something from me. Did you do something I told you not to do?”
If you jump to conclusions and question your children like this, even if they did wrong, they will close the door to their hearts.
They think their parents won’t believe them, and they end up losing their will itself to correct their wrongdoings.
The experts in Childhood Behavior say that, when parents use oppressive tactics to deal with their children, the children become afraid first instead of realizing their fault.
In addition, no matter what they do, they don’t become confident with it. They are only intimidated.
In the worse case, it may develop into childhood depression.
Then, what should you do?
All you have to do is just do what God the Father did with Adam.
Before scolding them for their fault, you should give them a chance to speak for themselves and explain why they couldn’t do anything but what they did wrong.
Say, your little son came back home, and told you, “I will never play with that friend the next door.”
Then, typical parents instinctively say, “You shouldn’t say such a thing! You have to play well with your friend,” as if they were scolding.
In this case, the son didn’t want his parents to judge what was right and wrong.
The son does know what is goodness and what is evil.
The reason he said what he did was to be comforted by his parents.
He wanted his parents to understand how much his feelings were hurt because of his friend.
However, if his parents just say, “No way, you shouldn’t behave like this,” and talked only about principles, his heart was not able to be consoled.
In this case, the parents should understand his heart and soothe his feelings.
The warm consolation of his parents would make the child’s heart comfortable, and help him solve the problem by himself.
I’ve always dealt with the servants of God, the church workers and members in spiritual love.
No matter how gross their fault is and how grave their error is, since I love them, I have trusted them, hoped for them, and endured for them.
Once I came to know someone committed sin, I surely listened to him.
I tried to understand why he thought he couldn’t do anything else at his level of faith.
And I repented for him before God the Father, and interceded for his transgression.
Besides, I was not quick to judge hearing only from one side, but I discerned after hearing from both sides.
The reason I question related workers to grasp the whole picture is not because I want to distinguish between right and wrong and to hold them responsible.
It is to help them fully repent before God and be forgiven of their sin.
Only then can they escape from trials and afflictions due to their mistake.
According to what I have experienced so far, however, when I ask a question, they first give me an excuse.
Or, they put blame on others.
Indeed, they give me a wrong answer many times.
For fear they should suffer from disadvantages if their fault is revealed, they cannot give an honest answer.
It was the same case with Adam.
He didn’t understand the heart of God the Father. Instead, he was afraid, and ended up putting blame on others.
We will continue on this in the next lecture.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
In this lecture, we saw that God the Father looked for Adam and Eve after they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
God the Father came to look for Adam with the heart of mercy, and wanted to listen to an honest answer from Adam.
Adam first hid himself from the presence of God, but he revealed himself to God.
Then, Adam said that he hid himself because he was afraid when he heard the sound of God.
It must have really hurt God the Father’s heart when He saw them.
The son who used to welcome Him with joy was now hiding himself from God in fear.
God the Father wanted to give him a chance, but he didn’t realize the heart of God the Father.
Most people who commit sin generally appear to have this character shown by Adam and Eve.
One thing you should truly remember is the heart of God the Father who came to look for Adam who committed sin.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”
Ezekiel 18:23 also says, “Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord GOD, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?”
I hope that you can feel such love of God the Father and perfectly walk in the light.
May you courageously seek the face of God, and live by the grace of God’s being with you all the time, in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, I pray!