“Where are you?”

וַיִּקְרָא יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים, אֶל-הָאָדָם; וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ, אַיֶּכָּה

“And the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” (Gen. 3:9).

אַיֶּכָּה/ahyecha, “Where are you?” The Lord, approaching Adam and Eve in the cool of the day asks this question. Certainly He knew where they were, but Adam and Eve did not. They were in a place of fear, hiding their previously unrecognized, yet now fig-covered nakedness. They were not in His presence, even as He was so close by.

There is a story told of a great Hasidic rabbi. He was a philosopher, a mystic, a very great man among the Hasidism. He was in jail, and the warden of the jail was a biblical scholar, so he came to see the rabbi and said, “Rabbi, I heard you were here, I know you are a great scholar, you must answer me something. In Genesis I read that God asked “Ahyecha,” “Where are you?” Is it conceivable that God didn’t know where Adam was?” And the rabbi answered, “God knew, Adam didn’t.”

Can anyone relate to this? No, not to the specific sin of Adam and Eve, sewing fig leaves together, then hiding from God as He approached for their evening walk, but the not knowing where they were part?

There are times in life, when we are under duress, distress, or experiencing any number of disruptive waves of stress when we do not recognize where our thoughts have moved us.

The Baal Shem Tov, the recognized founder of the Hasidic Jewish movement taught: “Wherever a person’s thoughts are, that’s where he is present.”  

God always knows where I am. The Good Shepherd is always nearby, attentive and watchful. And the Holy Spirit is present, ministering the grace of Yeshua/Jesus. There are times, however, when I do not know where I am. No, I’m not just writing about myself, but also you dear reader.

Some of you may not experience these issues, so my effort will be to give hope to those of us who do: when we do not know where we are, the Father is calling to us in order that we move toward His voice: “Where are you (fill in your name)?” “Oh, Abba, thank you. I wasn’t were I should be.” He redirects and moves us by His mercy and grace.

I over think … everything. I live in my head, and unfortunately there are times when I take the skills of an exegete and turn them inward rather than to His Word. There is a remedy for this, in the Word, that Paul gives us … point of fact, Paul was an over thinker as well … he writes:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil. 4:8).

Paul recognizes that our thoughts can transport us to a hiding place of anguish, anxiety, judgment, worry and sorrow. Meditate on the good, and there, as the Baal Shem said, “that’s where he is present.” In His presence, what does the Word tell us, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11).

When our thoughts go to the good gifts that have come from the Father (Jas. 1:17), simply too many to list, hear Paul once again, “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:9).

Following Paul’s example, the imitation of discipleship, our thoughts focused on Messiah will keep our hearts, minds, and motivations present with Him. Do we not have the mind of Messiah (I Cor. 2:16)? With His mind, by the Spirit, we can think on and rejoice in the good the Father has shown us, and there, not in the anguish, anxiety, judgment, worry and sorrow, we will be. Hallelujah!

When we keep our minds present on our first love, to Him we will store up the treasure that matters. I have not found that what so easily distracts me, or transports me from Him, is of much use in a healthy lifestyle of faith, as it is often the death throes of the old man. But where that good store and that good treasure is, as Messiah said: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21).

To be where our heart is, let that, O Lord, be with You.

Where are you? Harken to His voice, and in just a short turn, you will be with Him, and there, in His joy, even with great pressure on every side.

Be well. Shalom.

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