Summary: From the beginning of history man has played "hide and seek" with God. But God had a different game called "seek and found"
OPENING: What do you think the first game is that a child learns? For my boy Jonathan, his 1st game was "hide and seek." When he was about 1 year old he was sitting with me in the living room and had watched me put his blanket over my head and play "peek a boo." Then with a sly grin he put the blanket over his head. Realizing what he was doing, I began to say "Jonathan where are you?" At which point, he slowly pulled off the blanket and giggled. He felt that he had hidden from me because he couldn’t see me.
A friend named Matt told me he used to play "hide and seek" with his brothers and sisters. On the rare occasions that he got to be something other than "it," he sought the ideal place to hide. One day he thought he had found it. Up on the hill was their house with a big porch on the front that had a lattice work around the bottom to allow air to circulate under the building. He had found an opening in lattice work and crawled in under the porch, pushing aside the cobwebs, smelling the damp earth as he wormed his way all the way to the other side of the building where he could look out and see his sister still counting to 100. He delighted in the thought that she’d never find him. No one could ever find him here. And then it suddenly struck him - if something happened to him, no one would ever be able to find him there. He would be alone and lost forever. It was suddenly important to him to be found, and he stuck his leg out through the lattice work, hoping that he might be able to trip his sister if she passed by that way. He wanted to be found.
I. Mankind has engaged in a game of "hide and seek" with God ever since the dawn of creation.
Eve was tempted by Satan, then gave the fruit to Adam to eat. Almost immediately, they felt the shame of sin and they hid. When God came walking in the cool evening he went to seeking - “where are you Adam?”
"I heard you walking and was afraid because I was naked - so I hid" Adam replied.
Of course, not every one is so obvious. Take Peter for example. When Jesus was betrayed into the hands of the Jews, Peter had the opportunity he bragged he wouldn’t mess up. The opportunity to proclaim his allegiance to Jesus. But he messed up. Three times he denied Christ. And then, after Jesus rose from the dead, it’s almost as if Peter hid from Him. He withdrew within himself - hid himself from Jesus in his heart.
Knowing this, Jesus questioned him: “Peter do you love (agape) me?”
To which Peter replied "You know I like (phileo) you.”
Peter hid, Jesus sought.
People hide in many ways. They hide behind things - wealth, fame, popularity, partying. Often they do this because they don’t want to face the consequences of their sins. Like my son Jonathan with his blanket they react to God by saying: “if I can’t see Him - he can’t punish me.” That seems to be the logic of those described in Revelation 6 on the Day of Judgment who cry out to mountains & rocks to hide them.
Sins are terrible task masters. They condemn us like the jury foreman who declared: "Your honor, 7 of us find the defendant guilty as charged. Three of us find him as guilty as they come. And 2 of us find him guilty from the word go.”
People try to hide, but they can’t.
Jeremiah 23:24 tells us "Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth?"
II. The tragedy of Sin is that it hides God from us.
Ps. 27:9 "Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger;"
Ps. 13:1-2 "How long O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day
have sorrow in my heart?"
Ps. 89:46 "How long O LORD? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire?"
Back in Exodus 33:1-3 we find God has gotten tired of playing games with the Israelites and tells Moses that He’ll send angel on ahead to lead the people into the promised land - but He won’t be going with them. Moses was disturbed by God’s threat (Ex. 33:15-16). and, in essence, cries out “what is life without your presence?" As much as we could cry out: what is church, what is singing, what is praying, what is any pursuit of life without God’s presence?