The Panic

Adam begins to panic. He makes excuses. He blames his wife. He will say or do anything but admit he made a mistake. Christians are not perfect; they are forgiven. Do not panic when you fall. God’s mercy is boundless. His grace is amazing. His love is absolute.

The Panic ~ July 21, 2019 ~ Genesis 3:10-13

The second question, after Adam and Eve tried to cover their sin and hide from God, is when God called out to Adam, “Where are you?” Now look, we know that God is omniscient, which means He is all knowing, so when He asks the question, He isn’t really wondering where Adam and Eve are. He’s God. He knows where they are. God’s not the kind of guy you can play a game of hide and seek with. You’re always going to lose. In fact, He knows the cards you hold in your hand, He knows the next ten moves you’re going to make in chess, He knows exactly the play you’re going to call on the field. Maybe that should tell us we shouldn’t be playing games with God. He always knows.

The question, instead, I believe was meant for all of us. “Where are you?” meaning where are you on your walk with the Lord. Adam answers this way, in our reading this morning. If you would please join me in the unison prayer as we prepare to study the Word of God. Let us pray.

Lord, upon the pages of this book is Your story. It is also our story. Open our eyes that we may see, our ears that we may hear, our minds that we may understand, and our hearts that they may be transformed. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Today’s reading is in Genesis 3:10-13:

He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”

“Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked. “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?”

The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.”

Then the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done?”
(Genesis 3:10-13)

May God bless the reading of His holy Word.

God calls out to Adam. Adam says, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” The third question in the Bible is God asking, “Who told you? Who told you that you were naked?” Who did? Did you catch that? Did the serpent tell Adam he was naked? No. Actually, it’s that thing I talked about last week that God places inside all of us, called a conscience; that warning signal which goes off from time to time for a number of reasons – not just when we do something wrong. I mean, has anyone else ever been up late at night watching television, and on the screen comes a commercial from the ASPCA? There are so many dogs that I want to rescue because my conscience is just hit in the heart about these animals! So, a conscience is not just the little angel on your shoulder saying you shouldn’t do that. It speaks to us all the time… on late night television, with these sad eyes looking through the television. I know what happens to me a lot. Frequently, I am the last person that leaves this building at the end of the workday, whatever time of day it is. And I’ll get down to the entrance, and I’ll slide my little magnet across which tells everybody in the building that I’m gone. I’ll lock the door, I’ll get in my car, I’ll drive around this little entrance here, and I’ll look up and see a light on. And I have that moment. It’s late, I just want to go home, it’s no big deal, I’m going to head out onto Main Street, and I’m just going to go home! But it’s my conscience! That little voice in the back of your head that says, “You’re paying Eversource for that!” So, I turn around and I go all the way back, and I let myself in, and I shut off the alarm, and I walk all the way upstairs, and I shut off the light, and I come back down, I set the alarm, I get in my car, and I leave.

That’s what a conscience can do. It’s the conscience that tells Adam he’s done something wrong.

Think of it this way. How does a compass work? We all know how a compass works, right? No matter what direction you are traveling in, the needle always points true north. Our conscience is kind of like that. No matter what we may be thinking, our conscience always points to God’s will. I find time to read the entire newspaper every night; I find time to play Fortnight (I have no idea what that is, but I’m told it’s very popular); but I don’t have time to pray, or to read my Bible, or to spend some time with the Lord. Our conscience starts to niggle us, doesn’t it?

How about when we are out with friends, and we’re thinking about having that second beer, or that third drink. Your conscience says, “I don’t know if that’s a good idea. That might not be the best decision for you.” Or in my case, “Adam, you shouldn’t eat that pie!” That’s God speaking to us, helping us, guiding us, leading us. Pay attention to your conscience.

Adam and Eve’s conscience told them they had sinned. That’s why they were hiding from God.

The fourth question is, “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?” Again, God already knew the answer to that question. He knows the answers to all questions. He asked that question for our purposes. It was meant for us, to show us that we always have a choice, we have an opportunity to come clean. It’s up to us whether or not to take it. God gives the same opportunity to Adam. Adam can come clean. He can confess. He can seek God’s mercy – or not. It’s up to him.

Verse 12: “It was the woman who gave me the fruit, and I ate it!” Suffice it to say, Adam does not come clean. No, instead, he begins to panic. He begins to make excuses. He blames his wife – and he was standing there right next to her when she picked the fruit from the tree to begin with. Don’t let him get off on that one! Does he confess? No. Does he ask for forgiveness? Absolutely not. Adam will say or do anything but admit he made a mistake.

Does that sound familiar to anyone? No? See, I believe we often still deny the truth, even in the face of incontrovertible evidence. Did you pop that? Nope. Wasn’t me. Did you get into Mommy’s flour? Nope! Wasn’t us! Can you imagine? You have to move. You can’t clean that up. That living room is completely destroyed! But I guarantee you, when mom said, “Did you two get into Mommy’s flour?” they both looked her in the eyes and said, “No!”

We, as humans, have created an industry out of excuses – it’s called the grievance industry. We’re all victims now. Nothing is ever our fault. I’m in the mess I’m in because I’m poor! Or because my skin is a particular color! Or because I don’t have the education I should have received. Or because I’m a man! Or because I’m a woman! Or because I’m old. Or because I’m too young! Or because my parents didn’t love me. Everybody’s got a reason. Everybody’s making an excuse. Everybody’s a victim. Nothing is ever our fault. That’s no different than what Adam is doing here. And he’s not the only one doing it. Adam blames his wife, and Eve blames who? The serpent! “It was the woman you gave me…” and then he starts to blame God! “It was the woman YOU gave me!” It’s your fault, Lord! And the Lord asked the woman, “What have you done?” “The serpent deceived me, and that’s why I ate!” So, you’ve got Adam blaming Eve, and Eve blaming the serpent.

I hear it all the time, folks. I truly do. several times throughout the course of the week, that buzzer at the door rings. And I go out, and I meet with someone from our community, and invariably, more times than not, it’s someone who’s having a struggle with alcohol; it’s someone who’s having a struggle with drugs. Decisions that they made. They can’t point the finger and blame it on anybody else. I understand the difficulty of addiction, I truly do. I understand it better now than I ever have in my life after thirteen years here. But you made the decision to begin, and you can make the decision to stop! It may take you a dozen tries. Mark Twain was famous for saying, “Quitting smoking? That’s easy! I’ve done it a hundred times!” It may take you a hundred times, but there are people here who love you, who care about you, who will walk beside you, who will help you, who will go through hell with you if you make the decision to stop. But you need to make a decision to stop, because you made the decision to start.

You see what this is? This is decisions. No one forced that pie into my mouth. No one forced that whole plate of lasagna into my mouth. No one forced that candy into my mouth. I made those decisions. I made the decision to buy bigger pants. Yes, on some level, diabetes is genetic, it is inheritable. Yes. but I didn’t help the situation whatsoever. And I’m the only one who can do something about it. I just got my numbers back from my doctor. They are good, they are within the realm of where they’re supposed to be. But he said, “There’s only a couple things that affect your journey to insulin. You will eventually need insulin, and there are two things that affect it: time (the longer I have the disease), and weight.” And he said, “You can’t do anything about time.” You’re right, doc. Mea culpa. I just fell at the feet of the judge and pleaded for his mercy. You are absolutely correct, the only one who can decide to do something about this is this guy. I’m not a victim. I’m not pointing fingers. I’m not blaming. Only I can do something about this.

The fifth, and probably one of the saddest questions, in my opinion, in all of Scripture, is in verse 13, when God asks the woman, “What have you done?” Now, I believe God did not ask this in anger. He didn’t say, “What have you done?!” I believe He asked it in sorrow, with a broken heart. He said, “[sigh] What have you done?” Because God knows what lies ahead for us. He knows that because of the decisions that we made, we are going to have to suffer some consequences; and that pains Him. It pains Him to know that one of His children will go through the consequences of that decision. It pains Him when guys buzz that buzzer and He knows the decisions that were made; but we make the decisions. No one else.

Adam and Eve claim victimhood; but it was their choice. And to make matters worse, they don’t own up to it. There’s no confession. There’s no repentant heart; only panic. I said before, and I will say it again and again and again. Christians are not perfect. They are forgiven. Christians are not perfect; they are forgiven. And that means, friends, don’t panic! Stop panicking when you fall! That’s what the Christian faith is based upon – falling. If no one fell, if no one sinned, there is no reason for Jesus. Believe me, sometimes I feel like job security for Jesus. I do my fair share of falling. But thank God His mercy is boundless. When, not if, when we fall next, when we sin next, don’t panic. It’s not time to hide from God, it’s not time to run from God; it’s time to run to Him.

Think of it this way. We just finished in Bible study on Wednesday nights, a study of Max Lucado’s book “3:16” based upon John 3:16 from the gospel, and he had this great line in here I wanted to share.

Parents understand God’s resolve. When our children stumble, we don’t disown them, right? When they fall, we don’t dismiss them. We may punish them, or reprimand; but we don’t cast them out of the family. We cannot. They are biologically connected to us. Those born with our DNA will die with it.

I don’t know about you, but I never got kicked out of my family for making the wrong decision. That’s not what you do! That’s not what God does either. Jesus says in His prayer in John 17:20-23 – Jesus is praying for the disciples to the Lord, and He says:

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one – as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

“I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.”
(John 17:20-23)

As believers, we are connected with Christ. We are children of God. That means when we stumble, He will not disown us. He may punish us or reprimand us – every good parent does. But what is the cross all about? Love. Forgiveness. Mercy. Grace. God’s love is absolute. His grace is amazing! (Someone should write a song!)

So, let’s stop panicking, please. Stop making excuses. Stop blaming others. Stop pointing fingers and trying to hide from God. Instead, let’s own up to it. Let’s confess, let’s repent. And like the prodigal son, run into our Father’s open arms, and receive His mercy and His love. That’s why Jesus came – so that people…

See, so many people are familiar with John 3:16, right? God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. But fewer people continue to read on. Verse 17 says:

God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
(John 3:17)

The point of Jesus was to keep us out of hell, to save us by offering forgiveness. Forgiveness of our sin, forgiveness of our mistakes, forgiveness of our poor choices. Forgiveness. Mercy. Grace. The Bible says in 1 John 1:9:

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all wickedness.
(1 John 1:9)

That’s why it’s so important to tell people about Jesus. There are still so many people in denial, still so many people trying to hide, still so many people playing games with God. We need to tell them about Jesus and what He did for them on the cross as well – that all they have to do is confess, repent, and ask for forgiveness, and they will receive it. God’s love is absolute. His mercy is boundless. He gave them His word. If we confess our sins to Him, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. Convince them, tell them that they can stop panicking and have the same peace that passes all understanding that you have. They just need to know Christ. Help your friends. Help your family. Help your co-workers understand: There is a solution. His name is Jesus. Don’t panic, don’t make excuses, don’t point fingers, don’t hide from Him, and stop playing games with God – you will never win. Run to Him. Tell Him you’re sorry. Ask Him for mercy and be bathed in His love and forgiveness. It’s a choice. Choose.

Would you stand and pray with me?