Why Hide from a Pursuing God

Genesis 3:6-15

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

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. 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 livestock
    and all 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.”


Two weeks ago I began the sermon on being rescued from the dark, sinful hole created by Satan at the beginning of all time, at the beginning of God’s creation of His good world.  Ironically, in our Old Testament lesson assigned this morning, we find ourselves back there in the beginning where everything ever known by man was started.  We actually find ourselves this morning back at that particular point in time where man and woman give into their desire of wanting to be God.  As Adam and Eve eat of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Satan is slithering around in the tree with a smirkish smile from ear to ear.  He did it, he successfully tricked Adam and Eve, he successfully caused them to give into their temptation of wanting to be like God, and he has successfully ruined their and our life forever.

When working on this sermon, a question came to mind.  Have you ever done something which you wish you could take back, something that after you have done you wish that you never would have done it in the first place?  I’m sure you have.  And even though we know that everything happens for a reason, there are many times which we can say, “Oops, maybe I shouldn’t have done that.”  This was definitely the case for one man.

Let me set the stage for you.  It is a calm, cool, and peaceful night on October 14, 2003.  There is a certain buzz of excitement in the air as the Chicago Cubs are up 3-0 in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series.  One more win and they would seal their trip to the World Series.  Luis Castillo of the Florida Marlins hits a foul ball down the left field line and it looks like Moises Alou is going to catch it for out number two.  As Moises Alou runs to the wall, jumps up to catch the ball, Steve Bartman, a man whose name will infamously live in the Chicago Cub history books forever as the man who reaches over the wall to catch a foul ball, deflects it, and disrupted a potential catch.  If the outfielder, Moises Alou, would have caught it, it would have been the second out … however, the Cubs end up giving up 8 runs that inning and lose the game, and eventually would be eliminated from the playoffs and not make the World Series.  “Oops, maybe I shouldn’t have done that.”

After eating of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil of which Adam and Eve thought would make them wise, as they swallow that juicy bite and as their eyes were opened, and they realized they were naked (Genesis 3:7a), they probably thought, “Oops, maybe I shouldn’t have done that.”  Not only did they realize they shouldn’t have done it when they swallowed the juicy morsel and realized that they were naked, but Adam and Eve definitely knew that they shouldn’t have done that when they heard the sound of the LORD God as he walked in the garden in the cool of the day (3:8).  Upon eating the fruit, upon realizing they were naked, upon hearing God walking in the garden, Adam and Eve were struck with an incredible gut wrenching sense of fear and guilt.

And still today, the very same thing happens to us, or at least it should happen to us when we do something which God doesn’t want us to do, when we sin against Him and when we sin against our neighbor.  The thing is though, because of the number of times we have committed that particular sin, we tend treat it as if it is no big deal, as if it is literally only an “oops.”  But it isn’t just an “oops.”  When we sin against God, when we sin against our neighbor, there are consequences which come with those sins.  Some of the consequences may seem minor as they have no to little effect on us, but that can’t be any farther than the truth for we are told that the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).  Compared to death, yes, the other consequences we may suffer for our sins are minor, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be taken seriously.  The earthly and eternal consequences of our sins is something which we seriously need to realize.            Now Steve Bartman’s interference with the catching of that foul ball didn’t have any eternal consequences with it, but it sure did have some earthly ones.  By that one action, his life has been forever changed.  On that particular night, Bartman had to be escorted from the stadium by security guards and was later placed under police protection for some time as his name and address were made public on Major League Baseball message boards.  As far as I could find, even though the Cubs have reached out to Bartman and are good with him, Bartman has not returned to Wrigley Field for fear of the fans.

Because of their actions, at the very sound of God walking in the garden, Adam and Eve are petrified.  They realize that they shouldn’t have listened to the serpent, they realize that they shouldn’t have eaten that fruit, and that they shouldn’t have disobeyed God.  Now knowing that He is there in the midst of them, they out of fear do what anyone else would do when they are about to get caught doing what they weren’t supposed to do … they run and hide.

And you and I are no different.  The guilt which arises within us because of our sins causes us not to think rationally.  Our first thought, our first reaction in avoiding getting caught is to either try to cover it up or to try to run away from it.  But when we do, we only make matters worse, which then leads to a deeper sense of guilt.

Like Adam and Eve, in the deep guilt of our sin, in realizing that what we have done is wrong in God’s eyes … we not only try to hide from God, but we try to run away from Him.  We think that if the sin is never addressed, that if I can keep it tucked away and hidden that I will be okay and it will just go away … but unfortunately, that is all a part of Satan’s plan.  Satan wants you and me to think that we don’t need God, Satan wants to us to think that we are better than God, that we are better off without God in our lives.  But that can’t be any farther from the truth.  The truth is this … we need God … God doesn’t need us.  We need God more than God needs us.  Adam and Eve need God, you and I need God because without God, we would all continue to live in our sin, we would suffer the guilt of that sin, and we all would suffer the eternal judgment of our sin.

But friends, that is not what God wants for us.  Even though He already knew where Adam and Eve were hiding, God still says in verse 9, “Where are you?”  God calls out to them, yes, to punish them, but more than that, God calls out to Adam and Eve because of His immense love for them.  God wants Adam and Eve to not only recognize their sin, but to confess it, to admit what they have done wrong, to give it over to God.

And God wants you and me to do the same thing.  The last thing God wants is for us to live in the guilt of sin forever.  If God wanted that, then He would have left Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden so they could eat from the tree of life and never die.  They would have lived forever in the guilt of their sin.

But instead, God calls out to Adam and Eve, He calls to them to bring them out from the depths of their guilt, to bring them out from hiding.  This is one way in which God shows them that despite what they have done, He still cares for them.  As His most valued creation, God still loves them and despite the consequences Adam and Eve will have to suffer, He gives them a way out.  He comes to them, He calls them out of darkness and into His glorious light, and He gives them the promise of one who is to come who will crush the serpent’s head once and for all.

God does the very same thing for you.  In Genesis 3:9, God calls out to Adam and Eve.  This calling out to them is all a part of God’s master plan of salvation.  Before He even promises the coming of a Savior, God comes to His children and calls them to himself.  God seeks out Adam and Eve, God seeks out you, not vice versa.  If it was left up to Adam and Eve, if it was left up to you and me, we would be running and hiding as fast as we could, we would be trying to justify the reason for our actions.  But why hide from a pursuing God for God has chosen you.

Jesus says to the disciples as well as to you and me, “You did not choose me, but I chose you” (John 15:16).  Out of His infinite love, God has chosen you, despite all your sins, despite your stubbornness, despite your self-centeredness … God has chosen you to be with Him.  John writes in his first letter, “This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

As God pursued Adam and Eve, as God pursued His chosen people throughout the Old Testament, God through Christ pursues you.  Why hide from a pursuing God?  He pursues you because He wants you to be with Him now and forever.  So stop trying to run and hide from God but instead, stop, open up your heart, confess your sins, receive the forgiveness of God won through Christ, and let the God of life and love who pursues you, use you for some absolutely amazing things.  Amen.

The peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, our Lord, now and forever.  Amen.