Summary: We hide from God because of our sin. God seeks us because of his grace.
GENESIS 3:8-15 DIVINE HIDE AND SEEK
It is interesting to listen to people talk. You hear about people who eat at McDonald’s two or three times a day, and then blame McDonald’s for their physical problems. We all know who is to blame on that one. You hear about the man who smokes three packs of cigarettes a day, and then sues the tobacco company when he has physical problems. And there are always people in court who are blaming society, the government, their upbringing, anyone but themselves, for their problems.
It is true that people don’t like to take responsibility for their actions. This is not a new development. This is a problem that’s been going on for a long long time. It’s part of a situation that we are going to talk about today, a situation that we will call “divine hide and seek.” Why is it that we don’t like to take responsibility when we make mistakes? How does this affect the way that God deals with us? These are some of the questions we will answer this morning, as we take a look at the subject of “divine hide and seek.” We will see how, first of all, we hide because of our sin. And second of all, we will see how God seeks us, because of his grace.
It all began with Adam and Eve and the fall into sin. Our Old Testament lesson brings us to that point where Adam and Eve had just eaten of the forbidden fruit. They both had sinned, and they both knew it. God came looking for them, and in verse 8, we see them hiding: “Then 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.” Why didn’t Adam and Eve want to see God? Because they knew they were guilty.
God asks them, “Where are you?”and they tell him that the reason they are hiding is because they are naked. That’s not the real reason they are hiding! They were trying to cover up their sin. God questions them further, and that’s when we see Adam and Eve try hiding from responsibility. Adam says, “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Adam says that it’s Eve’s fault. And really, Adam tells God, “It’s your fault, God. You put the woman here with me.” Adam is hiding from responsibility.
And then Eve blames the snake – it’s the snake’s fault. Eve hides from responsibility. Adam and Eve are trapped in the self-destructive pattern of hiding from God, and trying to argue their way out of trouble. But with God – this a bad idea – it never works – it will only lead them to hell.
This teaches us about our world today. There are many people today who are hiding from God. And the reason why, is because deep down, they feel guilt in their hearts – deep down they know that they have sinned, that they are accountable to God – but they don’t want to deal with it, and so they hide from God. If you mention God to them, they run in the opposite direction – they are hiding from him. This is why so many people are uncomfortable when you bring up the subject of God in conversation.
Like Adam and Eve, people also try to hide from responsibility. “It’s not my fault I’m selfish,” people say. “In our world today, you have to look out for number one.” In other words, it’s the world’s fault that I’m selfish. “It’s not my fault that I said unloving things to the people around me. I had a hard day at work.” In other words, it’s the workplace’s fault for the sinful things that I say.
Hiding from God, and hiding from responsibility – this is a self-destructive pattern that we sometimes fall into as well. We are tempted to do this every time we make a mistake in our lives, every time we sin. And as it was for Adam and Eve, so it is for us today – this way of dealing with our sin can only lead us to one place, and that one place is hell.
How good it is that we have a God who seeks us, because of his grace. He doesn’t let us destroy ourselves with our sin. He doesn’t let us argue ourselves into hell. He is a gracious and forgiving God who seeks you, even when you are hiding from him. This is what he did with Adam and Eve. Verse 9, he says, “Where are you?” He calls out to them. He knows why they are hiding. And when they try to cover up their sin, he questions them in verse 11: “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” God wouldn’t let them continue in their self-destructive behavior.