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Hiding from God

Gen 3:8-15

Pastor James F. Wright

Pentecost 3
St John Lutheran Church  
Champaign, IL

Sun, Jul 2, 2000 

(Gen 3:8-15 NIV) 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. {9} But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?" {10} He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid." {11} And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" {12} The man said, "The woman you put here with me--she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." {13} Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." {14} So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, "Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. {15} And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."

Hiding from God

When I was a boy about the age of eight I learned a lesson about hiding. One day I saw my motherís sewing machine sitting out. Next to it was her treasured pair of sewing shears. They were a very expensive pair of scissors. I picked them up to try them out. I cut thread. I cut cloth. Then I did something really dumb. I knew about electricity and how dangerous it is. Nevertheless, I took those shears and cut through the sewing machineís electrical cord. You know what happened. Boom! Sparks flew everywhere. Color flashed blue and orange before my eyes. As the cord fell, half this way and half that, I dropped the scissors and ran away to hide. Children do that when they are frightened. I hid in the darkest part of the basement where no one would find me. I was so afraid about how much trouble I would be in that I stayed there the rest of that afternoon, hiding in shame.

Adam and Eve crouched down in the bushes while God was taking his daily walk in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day. They had disobeyed his word, reached beyond the boundary he had established, touched and ate something forbidden. God had warned them, "Eat of that fruit and you will die." The taste of death was still on their lips.

Everything was different now. They no longer trusted God. They hid fro him. They once reflected Godís image. Now they were "like God," that is, his rivals, his competitors. They were turned inward on themselves, self-oriented, self-aware, self-centered.

They were also naked. They had always been this way, but now they were aware and ashamed of it. What an uncomfortable feeling that was. They were ashamed of their bodies and of what they had done. They felt defenseless, vulnerable and exposed.

Only human beings feel naked. We are the only creatures God made who cover our bodies. First we used fig leaves stitched together. Today our clothing is more sophisticated. Ralph Lauren dresses, Armani suits,. Costly, yes, but no different from fig leaves in purpose.

Like Adam and Eve, we live every moment of our lives in hiding. We hide behind our fig leaves, our public image. We hide behind our work and our play. We hide behind social standing, behind our educational degrees. We hid behind these things because we donít want to be naked before God.

We hid from the Lord, from hearing his voice in the preaching. We hide from the Lordís Supper. We cover up our sins by telling ourselves they are not so bad. "Look at everybody else. They are all doing it."

We also hide from each other, from offering understanding, love, a helping hand. We hide because we do not want to get involved. We do not love. When we are angry, we hide behind anonymous letters, behind grumbling, gossip, and complaining. We hide because we know we are naked.

We are isolated. Isolation is a form of punishment. It is used in the classroom to punish unruly children. The prison system isolates hundreds of thousands of offenders from the general population. Hiding from God is self-imposed isolation that leads to death.

Godís footsteps are heard. They draw nearer and nearer to us. God calls out to Adam, "Where are you?" God knew where Adam was located, hiding in the bushes. It was a question of relationship. "Where are you with respect to me? With respect to your wife., with respect to the creation of which you are a part?"

God calls out to us in our hiding places. He will not leave us alone. "Where are you?" he says.

He calls to us in our hiding places, in our work cubicles, in our cars, at our dining room tables, an in our beds. Where are you?

He calls to us in our relationships, in our singleness, in our marriages. "Where are you?

In the adversities we face, the disease, the rebellious son or daughter, in the fire and tornado God is calling to us, "Where are you?"

Exposed, Adam hides behind excuses. "I heard you in the garden, but I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid." God said, "Who said you were naked?" The real problem wasnít Adam being naked. God made him that way. The problem was Adam disobeyed. Adam ate of death. He became an enemy of God. Fear and shame were his problems, not Godís. As an enemy, he could flee God or fight him.

Whatís our excuse? Why are we hiding from God? Why donít we have a great desire to hear from God, to listen to his voice in Scripture, to pray to him for hours each day as we would talk to a dear friend? What is our excuse? Business? Other Plans? God not important? Nonsense! This is hiding.

Ever had a disagreement with a friend and find it hard to talk to that person. It seems like they are avoiding you? How that hurts. Thatís how we act with God.

The answer to our hiding is confession. We speak to God and admit our shame. Adam and Eve donít confess. They point fingers. "The woman you gave meóitís her fault." Eve points to the serpent.

Confession draws us out of hiding. We reveal ourselves to God. H knows our hearts before we speak, but confession admits it to God. We confess "We are by nature sinful and unclean. We have sinned against you by through, word, and deed." Confession is a kind of death. We die to our self-delusion that we can cover our sins and hide from God.

We confess our sin and say to God, "Here I am. Yes, Iím a sinner. Please help me for the sake of your Son Jesus."

You may be wondering what happened when my parents found out that I cut the sewing machine cord. Thatís something Iíll never forget. My mother came to me in my hiding and didnít even ask me if I had done it. She simply said, "Jim, what happened when you cut the sewing machine cord with the scissors?

I had been hiding in my shame so much that I forgot to deny the charge. I said, "O Mom, sparks flew all over!" Then I realized I had come out and exposed my position. I was revealedóguilty!

Mom didnít punish me, mad as she was about it. I wasnít spanked, grounded, or fined, but I did have to help my Father repair the electrical cord.

So it is with God. "When we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Jesus came as the second Adam. He did more than the first Adam. He did everything perfectly. When the time came to offer himself upon the cross, he didnít have to hide from the Father. Instead, he went, taking way all our wrongs. He crushed Satanís power and brought us out of hiding and into the joy of being Godís children.

"Hide in me," he says. "Donít hide in the bushes by yourself. Hide behind the tree of my cross. I will protect you there. You donít have to be ashamed. Be baptized into my death and resurrection. Trust that my death and life are yours. Leave behind the designer fig leaves of your own holiness. Let me cover you with my seamless robe of righteousness.

Jesus calls us out of isolation and into communion. He gathers us together. He points to those seated around him and says, "Whoever does Godís will is my brother and sister and mother." We are his family, his church.

Godís will is that you hide in Jesus and not in yourselves. Use Jesus against your sin and death. Live as his free children, confessing your sin, drowning your guilt in baptism. All who look on the Son of Man and believe in him will have eternal life, and he will raise him up at the last day. Amen.

Copyright © 1998-2011 James F. Wright. All rights reserved.

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