God Shows Up
God Shows Up in the Garden
In December I completed my annual journey through the scriptures for 2018 and jumped right into Genesis for 2019. It was like coming home and visiting an old friend. Even though I have read Genesis many times, I always look forward to reading these blessed accounts again.
This year I noticed something in the third chapter that I hadn’t comprehended before. The record of the creation of Adam and Eve and the instructions about the tree of good and evil are in Genesis 2. Then the devil deceives the first couple, and because of their guilt and shame, they hid themselves.
Then God shows up for their appointed time of fellowship. “They [Adam and Eve] heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, 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)
God knew they sinned. Yet God continued to show up. He desired this special time of communion with Adam and Eve. They hid themselves, but God showed up. He always shows up. He is steadfast and unchanging. God is gracious.
We too have sinned. We hide ourselves from the presence of God. We battle sin and shame and guilt. But God is still near. He still loves us, even when we fall. “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:6-8, NLT)
Our first response is to withdraw from those who fall. We can be quick to judge, condemn, and separate ourselves from the sinner. But God continues to pursue us. He always shows up. He is always near. His lovingkindness endures forever. He will never leave or forsake us.
God Shows Up at the Sea of Galilee
Peter emphatically declared that others might leave Jesus in His hour of trial, but not him. A few hours later, Jesus looked across a charcoal fire after Peter had denied his friend. Not once, but three times. Emphatically.
A few days later, Jesus was on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. This was the same place where He had called Peter to follow Him. It was the same time of day. Jesus had prepared a charcoal fire, just like the fire where Peter had made his denial.
He invited Peter and his fellow fishermen to share His breakfast. As Jesus and Peter’s eyes locked across the fire, Jesus invited Peter to affirm His love and allegiance three times. Peter had been pursued, the setting had been carefully chosen, even down to the charcoal (this word is only used twice in the New Testament) fire.
Jesus showed up at the sea. He knew Peter’s sin, but He loved Him, and He forgave Him. He then recommissioned Peter. “Feed my lambs.” “Tend my sheep.” “Feed my sheep.” Peter was not relegated to the back row of those who are forgiven, but not to be trusted. He was fully restored. He is Immanuel. He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. He always shows up. He is our God and He is for us.
God Shows Up When We Sin
Sin separates us from God but it doesn’t separate Him from loving us. It is our sin that makes us want to hide, but He is always near. If God seems far away, He isn’t.
“I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39, NLT
God Shows Up Even When He Is Rejected
“He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:10-12, NLT)
Grateful for God Who Always Shows Up,
The previous two podcasts are:
Come Into His Presence with Singing, Podcast 185
With Childlike Faith and Reverence, Podcast 186
The two upcoming podcasts are:
Sin Separates Us from God, the Lamb of God takes away Our Sin, Podcast 187
The Blood of Jesus Brings Us Near to God, Podcast 188
If you live near Lancaster, PA, join me at this free event on January 26 where I will be speaking: http://parentsknowbestconference.com