We tend to think that where we are doesn't really matter much in the scheme of things... at least not to God. But, the reality of the matter is that the Bible is a Geography textbook, and God is a navigator, a surveyor, and a cartographer all at once where His children are concerned. When looking at the care He took with where they were and where they were going in the book of Genesis, I'm surprised he didn't create cell phones with GPS on the 8th Day. God didn't get any laxer as time passed and the nation of Israel aged into a country.
Looking through the first part of the book of Genesis, we see God quickly embroiled in a game of 20 Questions when His children became distant and quit talking. The very first recorded words God spoke in an actual conversation with man, were in the form of a question, when like any young child, they were hiding from Him. The questions continued, occurring frequently as the first recorded part of His conversation with different people. I've listed the first ten, with the references where I found them.
1. Where are you? Genesis 3:9
2. Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you that you should not eat? Genesis 3:11
3. What is this that you have done? Genesis 3:13
4. Why are you angry? Genesis 4:6
5. Where is your brother? Genesis 4:9
6. What have you done? Genesis 4:10
7. Where did you come from and where will you go? Genesis 16:8 (an Angel of the Lord)
8. Where is your wife? Genesis 18:9
9. Why did Sarah laugh? Genesis 18:13
10. What ails you, Hagar? Genesis 21:17 (an Angel of the Lord)
Notice that the two questions asked of Hagar are listed as questions from an "Angel of the Lord." Regadless, of whether this spirit was the Lord Himself, or an angel, the words were from God and delivered by God's messenger. Notice also, that the questions trickle out after chapter four and Cain kills Abel, and men begin to multiply. It's as if God steps back and watches silently for a bit to see what these guys are going to do next. He notices their misdeeds, but remains silent, pondering. There in Genesis 4:26 is where they get their cell phones, because the Bible records that it was then that men began to call home... (*weak analogy, I know but work with me here please.)
Genesis 11:6-8 And the LORD said, Behold, the people are one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Come, let us go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from there upon the face of all the earth: and they left off building the city.
He intervenes when necessary, as with the Tower of Babel, but for the most part lets them have free will. It is interesting that He confuses and scatters their languages at a time when they are not talking to Him. It's as if He says, "Hey, I'm still here! Don't answer when I call and I'll take your talking privileges. You won't even be able to talk to your buddies." We know from the story of Enoch and Noah that God continued to have actual conversations openly with some of the men who would talk to Him. But, we don't really see that happening otherwise, until Abraham came along. Then, not only did the conversation and easy friendship resume, but God asked questions again, trying to engage His son in a give-and-take relational conversation; not an easy job for most parents.
There were a couple of questions recorded, where men actually asked God something, just in the way of conversation. Both were indicative of argumentative type quarrels.
Man's first Questions:
1. Am I my brother's keeper? Genesis 4:9
2. What will you Give me? Genesis 15:2
Umhmm! You have to actually clear your throat a bit as you overhear those two conversations. Almost embarrassing for the Dad. They weren't really bickering over chores and allowances in those two cases. The first was not about the workload, but a diversionary question from a young man who didn't want to admit a murderous deed. The second was not about wanting something, but an aging son accusing his Father for what He never gave him.
I've spent quite a long time covering the actual questions, but my point is going somewhere here. And, that is the point... going somewhere. Yes, God is a geographer. He was concerned about where Adam and Eve were, where Abel had gone, where Hagar and Sarah were, why they were crying and laughing, and where they were going, and yes... what was in their wombs. He wasn't being nosy... just a concerned, loving parent to adult children. And, He just happened to be God.
He never stopped caring about where they were. He told Noah what to do, Abraham where to go, and Moses what to say. He led the wandering children of Israel across the wilderness and to a promised piece of land. He later sent them down to Babylon. Then, He brought them back out to Israel. There is much indication that God is concerned with where we are geographically. It leads me to believe that we would all be better off if we asked for God's advice before moving from where we are, if we don't want to lose contact.
Adam and Eve, by Gustav Doré
Genesis 2:21-23 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
This is my favorite Gustav Dore print. And the following print would be a close second...
Cain Kills Abel, by Gustav Dore
Genesis 4:6-8 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
What makes them both so beautiful is the candidness of the scenes. You feel as if you are actually an unseen observer, watching each of the events take place. You see the sleep that has overtaken Adam. You see the depravity that has overtaken Cain. You can almost see the Spirit of God hovering over these events, watching them take place. You can see the Spirit in the print. It is drawn from the perspective of God. You have a God's -eye view. (These scripture prints, and many others are available on the Visual Bible software, which is downloadable free online. )
It is the feeling that what took place here happened with or without an observer, that is so striking. The interplay of light and darkness speaks volumes in both works. In the Adam and Eve scene, the light in the background penetrates the darkness surrounding the first man and woman. In the Cain and Abel print, it seems as if the light from the streak of lightening lines Abel's fallen body. And, it is clear that the lightening is the Spirit of God and His attention to the deed, while the light lining Abel's body is the life in his blood crying out to His Maker. We are made in His image afterall. Light calls out to Light amidst the darkness.
This attention of God is present in both works. God attends to the needs of His creation in the first. God hurts with His creation in the second. God felt Adam's and Abel's pain. the Maker responded. He is not a grand puppetmaster, pulling all the strings, while we dance to His controlled, measured tune. He sees and reacts to man. It seems from Gustave Dore's work that the Creator is intimately interested in the life of the created. That is a fact that can not be escaped throughout the whole of Scripture. God cares for you, just as in the day that He created you.