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“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”
They wanted to hide from God. They wanted to be invisible to God. They wanted to live their life without the ‘all-seeing’ eye of God watching them.
Why would they suddenly want their ‘privacy’ when everything had always been ‘communion’ and ‘fellowship’ and ‘intimacy,’ and ‘you know everything about me and I am free to be myself with you’?
Why would they suddenly decide that they no longer wanted things to be so ‘open and ‘honest’ as they had been, both with God and with each other?
Why would they want to chuck all of that ‘nakedness without shame,’ for a life of ‘hiding’ like fugitives on the run, always moving from one tree another for fear that they might be recognized and found and exposed?
I think you know why? There is something that they do not what anyone to see about them. There’s something that the don’t want anyone to know about them – especially not God.
That’s why you hide isn’t it? There’s something that you don’t want someone else to see about you. Is it that you have out and out sinned and done what is clearly wrong, either against someone else or against God Himself? But really, every sin that we sin against our neighbor is a sin against God.
Or is it just those THOUGHTS that you have about God or about someone else that you don’t want them to see? And so you try to hide them and in hiding them you hide a part of yourself because you don’t want anyone to know you too well – especially not God – because if that big ‘IT’ were known – it would be ‘embarrassing’ or maybe ‘threatening’ or maybe even ‘deadly.’
“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…”
How often had they been WITH THE LORD GOD in the garden, walking hand in hand with their Creator, admiring the flowers, playing with the animals, speaking with the ALMIGHTY GOD as dear children speak with their dear father?
But now, they hear the sound of footsteps coming toward them and they are terrified. There is something that they do not want their dear Father to see or to know. Why?
Well, what if HE IS NOT REALLY AS DEAR AS THEY THINK? What if He really IS the controlling, manipulating, overbearing tyrant that the Serpent said He is?
“They… hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”
If Adam and Eve had their way, they would spend the rest of their life like Bonnie and Clyde – fugitives on the run. Everyday for the rest of their 930 years to be occupied with ‘avoidance,’ and ‘false identities,’ and ‘suspicions’ and ‘moving’ and ‘running’ and ‘don’t let anyone get to close’ and ‘don’t get too attached.’ Always listening for the sound of those footsteps.
“But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘where are you?’
We’ve said this before but it bears repeating here, that little word ‘BUT’ can be a wonderful word. ‘BUT’ stands in opposition to all the plans of man to live His life apart from God.
“BUT the Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘where are you?’
There is certainly A GOOD DEAL OF IRONY to God’s asking where someone is. He is the ‘omniscient’ One who is ‘all-knowing.’ He knows ‘where’ we are and ‘everything’ about us all the time.
The prophet Ezekiel had a vision of God in the midst of His ‘living creatures.’ God looked like a wheel with ‘eyes all around’ that move wherever every living creature moves. (Ez.1:18).
Through His prophet Jeremiah, God declares, “Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? Do I not fill heaven and earth, declares the Lord.” (Jer. 23:24).
When little children cover their eyes, they actually think that you can’t see them. When little children do that we think that it is CUTE. When adults do that we think that it is RIDICULOUS.
“But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘where are you?’
This is not a question of ‘LOCATION.’ God knew where Adam and Eve were located. A little later, God would ask Cain, “where is Abel, your brother?” (Gen. 4:9). It wasn’t that God didn’t know where Abel was buried or what Cain had done.
The real question here is NOT whether or not God knows where I am located. Does He really see right through me and know why I want to hide myself from Him.
The question is, ‘HOW WILL I ANSWER’ Him who knows exactly where I am and comes to me like a hound from heaven. How will I respond to the sound of those ‘footsteps’ that I hear coming toward me and calling me by my name, “Adam, where are you?”
HOW WILL I RESPOND TO HIS CALL? Will I say with Abraham and Samuel and Isaiah – “Here am I!” Or will I remain silent and try to go even deeper into the darkness and shut myself off from Him even further?
This is not a question of LOCATION but of RELATIONSHIP. “Where are you in your relationship with me Adam?” “I am your Creator. I created you in love and made you in My own image. I breathed my breath into you and gave you My life. I created the whole creation for you, for your sustenance and survival, as well as for your pleasure and enjoyment. I love you. You may run away from Me and try to hide from Me, but I will never leave you nor forsake you. I want to be your God and I want you to be my people. Adam, here I am. Adam, where are you?”
But of course, Adam does not hear the question in such friendly and loving terms as this. For him, God has become a terrible and dangerous threat that must be avoided at all costs. “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
He is AFRAID. There is this strange and unfamiliar feeling deep in the pit of his heart that he has never felt before. And Eve surely felt it too. In a world where everything had always been “very good,” this was “not good.” It had the effect of turning the pure joy and peace and happiness that was all he had ever known, to darkness and worry and FEAR.
This is the world that Adam FELL INTO. But it is the world that we are BORN INTO. We have learned to live with this ‘fear’ and ‘shame’ and ‘guilt.’ We’ve even come to call it ‘NORMAL,’ and ‘NATURAL.’ But it’s not!
Adam and Eve must have wondered…privately to themselves of course, because they would never admit it to each other… but both must have wondered, ‘is this what he meant when he said, “in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Is this what ‘death’ is?
“I was afraid because I was naked…” Do you see what he is doing? He is blaming God for hiding from God. “If you had clothed me like a responsible father clothes his children, of course with only the coolest ‘name brands,’ instead of letting me run around naked…”
“Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
Again, it’s not that God doesn’t know what Adam has done. The question is not about INFORMATION. The question is, “Adam, where are you.” “What do you think about Me?” “Do you trust Me?”
“The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree and I ate.” Do you see what he is doing? He is blaming God for giving him this wife. It’s God’s fault that Adam is hiding from God. If He had only left Him to tend the garden on his own this would never have happened. If He had only given him a better wife, one who really cared for him.
And so now we know where Adam is. He does not trust God at all. And neither does the woman. He considers God to be his enemy and turns everything that God has ever done for him and given to him against God.
He has alienated himself from His Creator and Provider and wants nothing more than for God to LEAVE HIM ALONE. He believes that he can get along just fine on his own. He believes that he can be ‘LIKE GOD.’
SO NOW THE QUESTION IS, ‘how will God respond to His rebellious child?’ Will He give him what he wants and leave him and forsake him and forget the whole dreadful experience of having children and all of those anxious days and sleepless nights, putting up with their disrespect? Will He say, ‘okay, if that’s the way you want it…”?
If there is a fear that goes EVEN DEEPER and is FAR DARKER than the fear that God will FIND us in our sin, it is that God will NOT FIND us in our sin. That He will not come to look for us. That there will be no ‘BUT’ that stands against our rebellion.
The answer of course comes in the person of Jesus Christ. The ‘OFFSPRING OF THE WOMAN’ is the answer that God gives to all of His Adams and Eves who insist that they cannot not stand naked before God for ‘fear’ and ‘shame’ and ‘guilt.’
In Him, God says, ‘okay, if you insist on hiding from Me because you do not want me to see your sin, then I’ll give you a place to hide. Hide yourself in my Son. For in Him and Him alone, all of your sins are hidden from my sight. In Him and Him alone you will be safe both FROM Me and WITH Me.”
It is important that when we read the report on the crucifixion of Jesus, that we note the fact that all four gospels tell us that when Jesus is nailed to the cross, all of his clothes are removed and he hangs TOTALLY NAKED before both God and man.
He has taken all of our ‘shame’ and ‘guilt’ and ‘sin’ onto Himself and in complete and perfect trust in His Father, He stands naked before the Father to receive His just and perfect judgment. He does not try to hide behind the trees in the garden but is nailed to the front of it.
The Father DOES NOT CLOTHE His only-begotten Son. Rather, He makes Him to be the clothes that we put on that hide our guilt and shame.
By His blood that transforms this tree of death into the tree of life, the Father invites us to hide behind THIS TREE and no other. “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3).
Looking to the cross of Christ, we see the Father standing OPEN ARMED with robe and shoes and family ring in hand, ready to take us home and make all things NEW. He has seen us all along. He has been right beside us all along. He loved us all along.
By the blood of Jesus, we are RECONCILED TO GOD and now it is safe to CONFESS. No more denial and excuses and running and hiding. IT’S TIME TO COME HOME.
“Adam, where are you?” What a relief to reply, “My Father, I am hiding in Your Son, Jesus Christ. And I only want you to see me through Him.”