This sermon is part of the sermon series "The Gospel in Genesis". See series.
When I was a kid growing up in Minnesota, my family had a summer tradition. Every Sunday night, all seven kids and my parents would cram into a huge Ford station wagon, and we'd head off to Dairy Queen where I would always order an extra-large, soft-serve, vanilla-crunch cone. But one Sunday evening, the entire family piled into the station wagon and accidentally left me at home. I'm no t sure how they forgot me because I was always loud, annoying, in trouble, and breaking something. For some reason, my analytical, scientifically-trained dad didn't do a head count that Sunday, so they left me behind.
Do you know what it's like to be lost, left out, and alienated? It hurts. I sat on the steps and cried. Of course, this story has a happy ending. When they arrived at the Dairy Queen, my mom noticed I wasn't there (my older brother also noticed, but he "forgot" to tell anyone). They turned that huge Ford station wagon around and sped back to find me.
Has someone ever searched for you and then found you? How does that feel? It feels wonderful! You're home! You feel loved because someone cared enough to go after you and find you.
God asks a very simple question.
The Bible is basically the story about how we got lost, and God came to find us. Of course, in the Bible, God didn't mess up and forget to do a headcount; we just walked away from God. We hid from God. We ditched God.
God's search for us begins with a very simple question: "Where are you?" In Hebrew, the original language the Bible was written in, this question is only one word—ayeka. "Where are you?"
Did you ever notice that some of the best answers to life's problems are actually questions? That's why Jesus loved asking questions. If you have 30 minutes, ...
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Matt Woodley serves as the Editor for PreachingToday.com and the Pastor of Compassion Ministries at Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois. He is also the author of God With Us: The Gospel of Matthew (IVP).