Human nature hasn’t changed much in 6,000 years. There seems to be ingrained within our very being a disposition to challenge authority — an innate and insatiable drive to push our limits. Perhaps we have all seen a young child warned by Mother not to touch something. He tries to get as close as he can to the forbidden object and yet remain “innocent”, not realizing that he has already rebelled at heart. Or maybe he hears Mother calling to dinner but, absorbed in the press of his imaginary castle building, ignores her. He’s having too much fun to discontinue his play, so he risks the consequences. A spanking, or perhaps restriction, the withdrawal of privileges, await his disobedience. Or maybe mother is just too loving to really punish him after all! But are the consequences to him the greatest repercussion of his childish choices? Let’s leave that question for a moment. We’ll come back to it. Meanwhile, let’s take a trip back in time….
Genesis 3:1-9: God had created the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, perfect. They were placed in a perfect environment. We’re familiar with the story. Eve chose to partake of the forbidden fruit, Adam joined her, and they both thereby sinned against God in that act of rebellion against God’s prohibition. And there were consequences. Innocence was lost. They knew they were naked. Perhaps they had their first argument! And the garden home was no longer to be inhabited by the disobedient pair. But deeper, more painful than all of these consequences, I think there is something else we need to notice. Consider verse 9 with me: “And the Lord God called to Adam, and said unto him, Where are you?” Just picture it with me! God Himself calling, “Where are you?” We must not imagine that God said this because He did not know where Adam was, for the Bible says that God is omniscient–He knows all things. No! This is the heart cry of a Father for His son–His rebellious son. I can almost hear His quickened heart beat as He calls. And so, God grieves.
But the downward spiral didn’t stop there. Genesis 6:5-6 “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart.” The sons of God continued to rebel so much so that God’s heart was broken. Can we imagine that the destruction of the flood was the result of a vengeful God Who had finally “had it up to here” with His children. No! No, for this is the same God Who said with great hope in Isaiah 63:8, “…Surely they are My people, children that will not lie; so He was their Savior.”
Genesis 18:21-33. Abraham becomes aware of God’s plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of their disobedience and wickedness. But Abraham, unwilling to see them destroyed, pleads with God to spare the wicked city if there be only 50, then 45, then 40, 30, 20, and finally 10, righteous people in the city. But we see the sad fact that there were not even 10 righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah, and the one family that was there had to be dragged out by the hand by angels of God! (see Genesis 19:14-16) The fact that God permits this mortal man to “reason” with Him and beg for the lives of these wicked inhabitants is a fit picture of the heart of a loving God longing to save. God called Abraham His friend. (James 2:23)
The downward spiral has continued throughout history right up to today! God has given the requirement: “This do and live.” Is this arbitrary? I suppose as arbitrary as any mother who knows her child needs to stop playing and come to supper and be nourished. If love can be called arbitrary, then God is arbitrary. But love is just not that way. And God is not that way! God is the source of life, and He knows that if we continue to follow a path of disobedience, the ultimate consequence is eternal separation from Him. Isaiah 59:2 says it succinctly, “…sin separates.” But the desire of Jesus is clearly stated in John 17:24, “… I will that they also,… be with Me where I am.”
This touching passage from the book, The Desire of Ages, page 534, clearly delineates what our disobedience means to Jesus: “It was not only because of the scene before Him that Christ wept. The weight of the grief of ages was upon Him. He saw the terrible effects of the transgression of God’s law. He saw that in the history of the world, beginning with the death of Abel, the conflict between good and evil had been unceasing. Looking down the years to come, He saw the suffering and sorrow, tears and death, that were to be the lot of men. His heart was pierced with the pain of the human family of all ages and in all lands. The woes of the sinful race were heavy upon His soul, and the fountain of His tears was broken up as He longed to relieve all their distress.”
Just as in the days of Noah, Abraham and Lot, there is a warning for us today. Are you, as the song included here in this article says, “…playing in the sand…”? There is offered to us a way of escape just as surely as in the days of old. Are you heeding the instructions any better than the people in Noah’s day? or in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah? Do you realize that “the end of all things is at hand” and that there is provided for you an ark of safety just as truly as in Noah’s day? Do you know that way of escape? Would you like to know?
Returning to our story of the mother in the opening paragraph, who do you suppose would suffer most if the child continues to ignore the mother’s entreaties to come to her? A gamut of emotions may swell within her as she realizes the lack of love, appreciation, and obedience in her little one. We are made in the image of God, you know! The first rebellion caused Him untold grief, and I can only imagine how the years have added to His pain. Yes, I hear it again, that quickened heart beat. I hear once again the voice of God calling, “Where are you?”