When we read the account of the horrific fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, we may not give the proper attention to the exchange between God and Adam. “The man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Genesis 3:8-10).” We’re anxious to “get to the good part” about God’s plan to redeem man and restore him to fellowship, so it’s easy to skip past one of the saddest moments ever recorded in sacred scripture. The one who was formed by God and made for God was now trying to hide from him.
Adam and Eve were created to walk with God, talk with God and rejoice in God. They were created to find purpose in his presence, meaning in his majesty, significance in his sovereignty, and identity in his immutability. Now they crouch trembling in the brush; and in their hiding they are denying their humanity. Made for intimate relationship with the creator of the universe, they are now on the run from him. Before Adam and Eve committed their act of cosmic treason, their hearts filled with delight in the presence of God. After they sinned, their hearts filled with dread at the sound of God walking in the garden. They find themselves at the beginning of a drama that will be played out until Jesus returns, a story marked by “unholy hiding” from our holy God.
So . . . where in your life today do you find yourself hiding from God? Where have you been hiding from those who love you most? Life is not to be lived in the shadows; it is to be lived in the light, and that light shines brilliantly through the truths of the gospel. You see, God knows you. He knows you fully; he has searched you and he knows you; he is familiar with all your ways; before a word is on your tongue he knows it fully (Psalm 139:1-4). Yet he still loves you.
There is no hiding from the one who knows everything and sees everything. And only a clear view of the gospel can help us to come out from behind the bushes without fear of rejection or removal from the presence of God. “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (Psalm 139:7-10). The gospel makes it clear that Jesus was the one who would take our place and pay the penalty for our sin. The gospel also makes it clear that Jesus was removed from the presence of his Father during the darkest time in the history of the world: the day when the light of the world was spit upon, scourged and nailed to a cruel cross. And because Jesus took our place on that cross—rejected by God and removed from his presence—all those who are in Christ need never fear rejection or removal from the presence of God ever again. God loves you! He accepts you! God is for you (Romans 8:31), so it doesn’t matter who is against you! This means you can stop any kind of “unholy hiding” from him and from those who matter most in your life.
Think about the last time you went into hiding. You could hear his voice, couldn’t you? Of course you could! God did not leave Adam and Eve in their hiding and he will not leave you either. God is in the business of pursuing rebels on the run—not to crush them but to restore them—and that includes you!
Always remember that God is not pleased with you because of your performance. God delights in you because of the perfect performance of your prince, who lived, died and was raised from the dead so that you could stop hiding in shadows and begin living in the warm sunlight of God’s unwavering love expressed in the truths of the gospel.
If you will pause for a moment and sit still long enough, you just might hear the sound of God walking in your garden, calling out to you, “Where are you?” Come out from behind the bushes of unbelief and out from your unholy hiding. Go to him. Run to him! And you will find that, while you are still a long way off, he will come running to you, his arms outstretched and nail-scarred hands held open, just waiting to take you into his loving, healing, eternal embrace.
This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!
Tommy Boland is the Senior Pastor of Cross Community Church in Deerfield Beach. This is a daughter church of Coral Ridge and a new church plant. The church website is www.thecrosscc.org . We will be holding our large group Bible studies on Saturday evenings, at 841 S.E 2nd Ct., Deerfield Beach.