"Where art thou?"

A MOMENTOUS question was asked of Adam when in the Biblical allegory following the disobedient eating of the forbidden fruit and its consequent sense of nakedness and shame, he was startled by the words, "Where art thou?" Apparently the answer might be that Adam was in a pleasant garden where God had placed him, and that he was surrounded by evidences of loving provision; but, instead, Adam found himself mentally in a condition of shame, in a sense of lack, of evil, and, worst of all, of sin with its attendant fear and dread. He faced a reckoning of some sort for the sin of disobedience, for there is always a price to pay for sin; and thus it is that, down through the ages, of those who have received an abundance of good things, but have disobeyed the divine command, the question is always being asked, "Where art thou?"

In the case of Adam, it was the remembrance of disobedience that was responsible for the fear and dread; for without sin there would have been no fear, but only an abiding sense of love and peace. Such was the message to Noah when, surrounded by sinful, selfish materiality, he clung to God and was secure from temptation and sin. It would seem that Noah was out of place among such sinners, but in the very midst of the evil environment he was obedient and consecrated enough to obey the command to build an ark and to follow implicitly all directions given him later, even when he trustfully remained in the ark until the waters of the flood had receded.

Another instance of righteousness and obedience, of heeding the voice of Spirit and refusing to be conquered by temptation or adversity, was when Joseph, sold into slavery in a far country, proved that the location of his body was not the placing of the real man. By his righteousness he was preserved and elevated to authority, thus being enabled to bless not only himself but a whole nation, even the brethren who had seemingly been his worst enemies. His response to the question, "Where art thou?" was a blessing and help to all who knew him, whether they were worthy or unworthy.

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Ethics of Church Government
November 13, 1926

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