Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Top Ten Questions God Asks Us

A couple of weeks ago I started a series of sermons based on the book Questions God Asks Us by Trevor Hudson. The first week we worked on the question of God to Adam: “Where Are You?” (Genesis 3) Ashamed after their sin, Adam and Eve are separated from God. They cover up themselves. They hide. God comes looking for them in the cool of the day and calls out to them: “Where are you?” It is an invitation to come out of hiding to this God.

Last Sunday, we worked on the second question: “Where is your brother?” It’s the question that God asks Cain after Cain has murdered his brother Abel. You remember the lesson. Cain is a farmer; Abel a shepherd. Both bring an offering to God. For some reason, Cain’s offered is not “regarded” by God.

The text is not really clear as to why Cain’s offering is not “regarded”. Some say that it is because Cain did not bring his best, the first fruits. The text doesn’t bear this out. Cain and Abel bring their best to offer to God. We live in a therapeutic age. So, some say that Cain’s heart was not right. He had the wrong attitude. Explain it how you will; it’s just not clear in the text.

What is clear is that Cain immediately gets angry with God and kills his brother. Cain focuses on himself (sin) and asks God: “What about me? What about me?” But, in the text, God changes the focus to his question: “Where is your brother?”

Of course, God knows that Cain has killed Abel. Cain then is afraid. Now, whoever comes upon Cain will kill him. But, God gives him the “mark”, a protection against any who would do further harm by killing Cain.

Notice that sin is contagious. Often we say that if we sin that it doesn’t affect anyone but us. But, the consequences of sin often go for generations. The separation from God and each other in Adam and Eve moves to Cain and Abel to the structures of society (Genesis 11).

In the Genesis narrative, God even wonders whether this whole creation thing is redeemable. So, in Chapter six there’s a flood.

The top ten questions of the Bible that God asks us is an effort to help us think of the Bible in a new way, maybe. Often we think of the Bible as a book of answers, and it is. But, what if we go to the Bible over these next few weeks in a new way? Instead, let’s go to the Bible listening to God’s questions of us.

God asks questions, maybe, to help us focus our priorities and our agenda. God’s questions move us to put our lives in perspective and to see the world as God’s creation all over again. Stand before God, and listen to God’s questions for a change.

Blessings!
Dave Nichols

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Welcome

Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.
Blessings!
Dave

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A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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