Summary: Man has played "Hide and Seek" with God since the Garden of Eden, but God has a different game He wants us to play. Do you know what it is?
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 & 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 so they hid. When God came walking in the cool evening he went to seeking –
“Where are you Adam?” God called out.
And Adam replied: "I heard you walking and was afraid because I was naked - so I hid." Adam’s sin caused him to want to hide from God.
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. He declared that even if everyone else abandoned Him, he would not. But he did. He messed up. Three times he denied Christ, and the last time was when Jesus was being led into the courtyard after His trial. At that moment Jesus looked into the shamefilled eyes of Peter.
From that point on it was almost as if Peter tried to hide from Jesus. He withdrew within himself - hid himself from Jesus in his heart.
Knowing this, Jesus held a fish fry down on the beach and when they were alone, Jesus questioned Peter: “Peter do you love (agape) me?”
To which Peter replied "You know I like (phileo) you.”
Peter really wasn’t answering Jesus’ question. In his shame, Peter tried to hide from the idea of truly committing himself to Jesus again, out of fear of failing again. But though Peter hid, Jesus sought.
People hide from God in many ways.
They hide behind things, behind wealth and entertainment and partying. They’ll hide behind alcohol and drugs. They’ll hide behind busy work, and fill their lives with all kinds of activity
They do all this because they know that if they stop… they have to face what the things about their lives they don’t like. They’ve looked in the mirror and they haven’t like what they’ve seen.
They don’t want to stop
They don’t want to think
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 see me… and He can’t punish me.”
That seems to be the logic of those described in Revelation 6 on the Day of Judgment who cried out to mountains and rocks to hide them. They knew the impending judgment was upon them and they sought to hide from God because they know the shame of their sin.
Sin is terrible task master. Our sins condemn us.
They’re 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.”