“Then the man and his wife heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the breeze of the day, and they hid from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.”
Though it was fun to play Hide-and-Seek as a child, there was always a certain level of anxiety at being found. The whole point of the game is to avoid detection and there was nothing greater than finding that special hideout that no one could find. A few times I found such a place and waited till the voices calling for me died away and a somber, “we give up!” reached my ears.
Amidst all my hiding though, God never lost sight of me. Be it game or reality we cannot hide from God. Not just bodily, but our innermost thoughts as well.
The scene above with Adam and Eve hiding in guilt and God searching for them reminds me of a parent gently calling out to a child who had lied or done something wrong and hid in fear of punishment.
Oddly enough even animals seem to display a certain level of guilt at times (whether they learned it from us or have fallen natures of their own). My dog Kota knows when she’s done something wrong and will attempt to quietly conceal herself somewhere until I coax her out. It’s quite hard to be mad at either animal or child that reacts in such a way because it demonstrates a consciousness of their actions even if the underlying emotion at play is selfish.
I would be more concerned if a child flaunted their bad behavior and laughed at punishment than one who genuinely desired to take back what they did. Perhaps there’s still hope for such a child, and for all mankind so long as we feel a conviction to do what is right even amidst our own selfishness.
God’s call to Adam, “where are you?” may seem rather pointless, since He knew exactly where they were and what they had done. And yet, there is always more than just the physical going on when it comes to God. He felt them pull away from Him spiritually, felt them fall from His presence the moment they ate of the tree. And so, “where are you?” becomes all the more painful to hear.
Adam and Eve do not attempt to keep hidden but reveal themselves and already their guilt shows in how they respond to their Father. “I heard Your voice in the garden…and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself” (3:10). When before, man walked with God at ease, now he is ashamed of his nakedness, truly afraid or “aware” of the great divide between them…aware of the flesh and its wants and wills, as C.S. Lewis explains in Mere Christianity:
“(The Natural Life) wants to be left to itself: to keep well away from anything better or stronger or higher than it, anything that might make it feel small. It is afraid of the light and air of the spiritual world, just as people who have been brought up to be dirty are afraid of a bath. And in a sense, it is quite right. It knows that if the spiritual life gets hold of it, all its self-centeredness and self-will are going to be killed and it is ready to fight tooth and nail to avoid that” (pgs. 178-179).
The knowledge of the flesh and its sinful desires came alive that day and selfishly cowered and hid before God and His perfect light, where no darkness can remain hidden. Man recognized his own dirtiness and felt stripped bare before God’s perfection.
And Adam continues to act selfishly amidst God, longing to protect himself, he blames the woman and my guess is in that moment, as Eve looked in shock at what Adam, her husband, had said, a thorn was driven into their marriage and all marriages to come…a very real threat of betrayal and division between man and women who were made to be one and united. A reflection of Christ and His bride (the church).
Eve then places the blame on the serpent, who although is guilty of deception, never once forced her hand to take the fruit or to place it to her lips.
And thus begins the war, when before Adam and Eve were going to reign in power against the evil of the world, now they face the devil and his demons on a more even footing. Having handed over their authority to him, they are cast out of the protection of the garden (God’s presence) and thrown into the merciless world to toil, grovel, fight, or freely succumb to the darkness they chose to embrace.
It is a sad situation but thankfully, it is not the end of the story. The old Testament is what it was like to live in a world where satan had the authority, man was separated and afraid of God, and men ruled unjustly over women. Without the Holy Spirit, man faced his sins alone and very wholly succumbed to them, once to such an extent that God flooded the world in order to purge it and give Noah and his family a clean slate.
We landed ourselves in a filthy mess, and then Jesus came.
Authority is ours again, the curse is no longer applicable to us, and man can walk with God again, in fact, God resides in man’s very heart.
Do we still play this Hide-and-Seek game?
I believe the world does, they even lie to themselves in order to cover up the feeling of guilt that is so painful. If only they would realize that it is much easier to step out into the light and be washed clean, to surrender. Guilt is a tool that should lead us to repentance and freedom. And just as we cannot hide from God, we cannot hide from guilt. Eventually, it will find us and consume us, and the demons will whisper their lies into our weakened hearts, making us feel condemnation in the place of healthy conviction.
Nothing good can come from hiding. Particularly hiding from the light. Satan resides where people hide and just when they think they are safe and alone he pounces.
That is why it tears me up to see people caught up in the religious spirit of the Old Testament and those who up and leave their church body and think that alone they will do better to follow God.
These are traps of the enemy to cut you off from the source of life. The religious spirit chokes a man until he feels so tired and dirty he can’t step foot in a church. And to those who leave the church, whether it is due to the religious spirit or some other issue, their resentment and belief that they don’t need a spiritual family will give way to pride and leave them open to deception and attack. Very soon, such people come to spiritual ruin and doubt in all they once believed.
We were made to do this together, to work as a team in conquering this dark world for Christ. He is coming back someday and is awaiting a united church, one bride. A body only thrives when every part is working together in harmony. A body that is riddled with disease won’t take much of a stand against the world and its disease. (In other words, it takes a healthy doctor to heal a sick patient).
It’s time we stop hiding and start doing. We need to know what it’s like to be uncomfortable again, to do things we’ve never done before because we know God will catch us when we fall. Lives are at stake and time is running out. If the church has hurt you, I get it. Honestly, someday I will share my spiritual story and you will see that there were many times I could’ve rightfully (in the world’s eyes), left or abandoned church. But praise be to God that I follow Jesus, not man or “a” man. That I’m not looking for a perfect church that follows Christ, but that I’m looking to a perfect Christ who is bringing us all on a journey toward becoming more like Him.
I will say this, the body of Christ is under constant attack, not just as a whole but personally as well. Therefore, though it saddens me to see Christians hurting other Christians, I’m not surprised by it. Satan is out to get us, and he knows that division is the way to do it. One couple at a time, one pastor at a time, one person at a time. Therefore it is all the more important that we remain united, that we learn how to communicate and repent to one another without condemnation or anger, but in love. If we remain a united front, the enemy will be hard-pressed to find an opening for attack.
Be an example at your church, give younger Christians someone to look up to and mirror in action/deed. Just chase after God with all you have and pray that others join in. Pray over your church and it’s elders who are attacked most of all. Serve in areas that will benefit the body, Don’t hold out on serving till you know where you are specifically called, serve while you’re discovering that call. Even pastors have to pick up a mop, and worship leaders have to preach/minister. Just be willing to do whatever God calls you to in the moment. Promotion happens to those who “do”, not to those who sit and wait.
I pray that God will continue to do a work within all of us. No one has reached the peak, we are all still climbing and It’s our duty to lend a helping hand to our fellow climbers. Thank you for reading this rather long-winded post, and God bless you all!