“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden…and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” That’s how our lesson starts today. A man and a woman, the first to ever exist, heard God walking in the garden and they hid. If you didn’t know the context of this story, if you didn’t know what had happened just a few moments before this, you might find this scene to be a little strange. Why are these two people trying to hide from God – an impossible task – and why was God walking in the garden looking for the man and his wife? We see that in verse 9, “But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” It’s a strange scene. So, how did we get here?
Well, just prior to this scene and to these verses, I think many of us are familiar with what happened. The man, Adam, and his wife, Eve, sinned. God gave these two first humans the incredible task of enjoying his creation with one caveat, don’t eat from one tree, just one. So, what did they do, with the help of the devil’s lies, that serpent, they took fruit from that one tree, and they ate it. They sinned. And this changed things. It changed them. Adam looked at Eve and Eve looked back at her husband, and they felt something. They felt shame. They were naked. Even worse, when they heard God in the garden, they felt that heart-pounding, blood-pressure raising terror that you and I still have to this day, they felt fear. For the first time, but not the last, human beings were afraid, terrified, of God.
We will unpack that thought in a moment, first though, don’t miss that incredible transition that takes place in verse 9. ”But,” as Adam and Eve hid, fearful of God, “God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’ ” Parents maybe you can relate to this. Your child does something wrong, and they want to hide it from you, maybe they literally hide from you, and so you call them out, you seek them out. Why would you do that, parents? Perhaps, there is some thought of punishment in that seeking out, but isn’t it more to get that child to reveal, to confess, what they did wrong? Isn’t that seeking part of a desire to ultimately correct and forgive?
A child though will often not see it that way. No, a child often only is what? Afraid of being punished. There is that fear again. And why is that fear there? Because that child knows he or she did something wrong. So, here is God calling out to Adam, “Where are you?” And Adam is hiding. He is afraid because he knows he did something wrong. So, you tell me. Did Adam immediately confess that sin? Listen to what he says in verse 10, “I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked; so, I hid.” Confession? To me it sounds more like an explanation. Lord, hi, the reason we are hiding is because I noticed you didn’t give me a pair of boxers or a pair of briefs. No longer is Adam hiding behind trees but behind words.
Well, God plays along with this. He asks two more questions. We see them there in verse 11. “Who told you that you were naked?” – question 1. “Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” – question 2. What happens next…what happens next is pretty disappointing. God asks those two questions. That last one being a yes or no question. “Yes or no, Adam, did you eat from the tree? Come clean. Tell me.” And Adam does what? He excuses. He blames. He hides. “The woman,” he said, “It was her.”
Maybe you remember when Adam first laid eyes on his wife, Eve, he spoke poetry. “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” Beautiful, right? How quickly Adam forgot his own words. Here he is throwing his wife under the bus. Here he is not even calling her by name, “The woman.” And you notice, too, he wasn’t just blaming Eve. He was blaming God. “The woman you, God, put here with me.” Parents, how would you have reacted to these words? What did God do? He moved on. He went to the woman, to Eve. But she must have been taking notes because she blamed the snake, the devil. Although, you’ll notice she at least admitted to eating the fruit.
I got to stop here for a moment because has anything changed? This was the first sin and really the first attempt to ever cover up a sin, and this has not changed. Sinners still sin, and we still try to hide it. I heard this illustration once. Imagine you came in to church today and the screen was set up and you were told that we’re going to watch a movie today in worship. “Oh, I like that idea.” We start the movie and, not even a minute into it, you want to leave. This particular film is your life, and everyone is seeing it. Every word you’ve said. Everything you’ve thought and done. The good, the bad, the ugly. It’s all there with captions. That would be pretty terrible. It would likely ruin some of your relationships with people here, some people would maybe look at you a little differently. But you know, you’d get on with life eventually because the people here, well, you can hide from them.
God has seen the most recent film of your life, and God is not just a spectator. He is the prosecutor. And you can’t hide from God. Yet, we still try, don’t we? We make the excuses. We blame others, sometimes God himself and, in extreme cases, to free us from this just God we decide to deny him entirely. Because a loving God wouldn’t punish; a loving God would only want to save. And we really live in a society that supports this way of thinking. I’m a victim. I am a victim of an unfair God who has unrealistic expectations. I deserve better, and God must give me better. Again, it’s God’s fault. But you can’t hide. Denying God, denying sin, making excuses, blaming God, it doesn’t work. There is no place to hide. God has seen the film of your life, and he will hold you accountable for your sins. There is no place to hide.
So, maybe, maybe, we stop hiding. Go back to that garden. Adam and Eve sinned. They ruined God’s perfect creation. What did God do? “Where are you?” He went looking for them. Then he listened to their excuses. And it all could have been done there. God could have just said to Adam and Eve you “stupid dummies!” and hit the reset button. He could have ended it, but he didn’t. You ever wonder why?
Parents, I’m going to talk to you again. When your children misbehave, why don’t you just get rid of them? Go on Facebook marketplace list them for sale, “buy one get one free.” “Good genes, bad decisions.” For the record, Facebook Marketplace doesn’t allow sales like that. Finally, none of you would do that. It doesn’t matter how bad your kids are, you still love them. That’s God. He couldn’t fathom a universe without his first two children. He would not sacrifice them, so he could start fresh, start new. So, God made a new plan. You see it there in verse 15.
“And I, God, 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.” Who is God talking to in this verse? He’s speaking to the devil. And there is no love in these words, no questions for Satan to answer, just a fight, one Satan would lose. God’s love for his children, moved him to first and foremost promise a defeat of their enemies, Satan being enemy number one. The offspring of the woman, he would one day crush Satan’s head. Defeat him. Jesus did that. Satan struck his heel. Jesus suffered hell on that cross. He died, but he rose victorious. Sin was forgiven, even that very first sin. And, don’t miss this, when Jesus rose the first words that we hear spoken – they were from an angel – “Do not be afraid.”
Adam and Eve hid because they were afraid. Their sin and what it deserved terrified them, so much so that they even tried to blame God himself. Well, God took the blame of that sin and he put it on his own son, Jesus. When Jesus died on that cross, he died for their sins, and he died for yours. And, in that moment, your God took away every reason you have to be terrified of him. So, you don’t need to hide. In fact, don’t ever hide.
Take ownership of your sins, what you’ve said, what you’ve done, what you’ve thought…and stand there next to Adam and Eve. Hear God calling, “Where are you?” And, as you listen again to Adam and Eve giving their excuses, respond differently. Confess. Acknowledge your sinfulness. “I said that. I did that. I thought that, and I am sorry. God, I am sorry. You say those words knowing that you’re writing your own ticket to hell. You are pronouncing that judgment on yourself, but you’re not afraid. You’re confessing those sins to your father, and he loves you. There is the proof. His son, Christ, for you. So don’t hide, don’t ever hide. Amen.