Most of us have played the game of hide and seek. We have scurried off to our favorite hiding places while the seeker counts 5,10,15,20, ready or not, here I come. Older kids or adults would often already know approximately where the younger kids were hid out. They would seek them out and pretentiously give them a chance to make it safely back to home base. I believe that all of humanity is somewhat like those young children attempting to hide from God. And God’s response is love is what you’re running from, there’s no hiding place.
God knows where every one of our favorite hiding places are. He knows when we tip toe off to secure ourselves behind our present pleasures of sin. The creator is aware of our attempts to camouflage temptations to discount the numerous blessings He provides and focus on our lack of possessions. God sees when we are embolden to sin, yet, allow Satan to keep our minds from the consequences. God is saying, love is what you’re running from, there’s no hiding place.
I am sure it was that message of God’s love, His grace, His seeking after, that God had in mind for the earth’s first family located in the Garden of Eden. That family, made in God’s own image, desired after something more than what God had already generously provided. They lacked nothing, but the serpent convinced the woman that she could be like God, knowing good and evil. Giving in to temptation always upsets God’s order for us, placing us functionally where we were not designed to be. Since the time of the fall, men and women’s roles have become perverted; instead of being partners, they have become competitors, hiding their faces from the plan and presence of God.
Nevertheless, God is passionately pursuing, intoning his gracious refrain, love is what you’re running from, there’s no hiding place. God comes in the breeze of the evening seeking fallen humanity, inquiring, what are you doing there in that isolated and alienated condition? He is seeking us to give account of our alienation. But like Adam, we are afraid because now we know good and evil; it has, in fact, become a part of our corrupted nature.
Ultimately, Adam must face the issue; he responds, “I was afraid because I was naked”. Still not completely transparent, God has to ask, “who told you that you were naked? Did you eat of the fruit that I commanded you not to eat from?” Reluctantly, he begins to come clean, but, attempts to shift the blame on “that woman you gave me”. The woman also tried to dodge, decrying she was deceived by the serpent. Sin produces the guilt and shame which causes us to relate to one another and to God in a dysfunctional manner. Acquiring this sin nature induces us to slip into darkness, making every effort to avoid the consequences of disobedience.
Death passed upon all humanity as a result of the sin of the first family. Adam and his wife could not escape the consequences of being in rebellion to the holy and just God. Ironically, they had aspired to become like the God in whose image they were already made, only to discover they had lost their connection with God and plunged creation into a corrupted and alienated condition. God’s justice must be applied as a corrective of our sinful nature and condition. Yet, at the same time, God’s grace considers love is what you’re running from, there’s no hiding place.
Sentence was passed upon all humanity in response to the earth’s caretakers undertaking to take what was prohibited and spurn, with ingratitude, that which was provided. The serpent was cursed to be lower than all the animals of the earth, to slither in the dust of defeat without any possibility of hope or reconciliation. Additionally, he, that Satan behind the serpent, would bruise, or cause to suffer slightly, the heel of the woman’s offspring. However, he would suffer the destructive blow to the head from that offspring. It is here that we begin to see the great love God has for humanity. For in the moment of our downfall and defeat, God is preparing us for overcoming victory.
Secondly, the woman, due to her part in bringing about this corrupted condition, is sentenced to sorrow and pain in childbirth. She is to bring forth children, not only in labor pains, but in the anguish and anxiety of their healthy birthing and the stress of nurturing their growth and development. Also, she is destined to be prone to conflict with her husband, having a tendency for manipulating and controlling him.
Finally, the man is deemed deserving of the greater guilt and blame. When he should have been secure in his role as the spiritual leader, he condescended to the sweet invitation of his wife. The man was not deceived, nevertheless, he abrogated his place in God when he knowingly and willingly gave in to temptation. And he has been giving in ever since. His punishment consigned him to a life of labor in a cursed earth that would only reluctantly bring forth an abundance of fruit for the sustenance of himself and family.
Quickly, allow me to point out that these punishments are not simply about satisfying God’s retributive justice. God understands love is what you’re running from, there’s no hiding place. In the end of the beginning of this displacement of humanity, Adam responds in faith by naming his wife Eve. That is significant because Eve means mother of life or all living. This is to say, Adam recognized, by faith, that although he had corrupted his offspring through sin of disobedience, it would be through a succeeding offspring that salvation would come to human generations.
Not only does God open the way of reconciliation to creation and to Himself through the seed of Eve, but he provided a covering of righteousness and salvation in the meantime. Coats of skin to cover their nakedness and shame has implications of the blood sacrifice that temporarily covered and the impending Lamb of God sacrifice that would take away the sins of the world.
Moreover, God blocked the way back to Eden and guarded the tree of life, lest man eat and live forever. Not many of us have considered the wonderful heart of love God has for us in doing this. Had God allowed us to eat and live forever, we would have remained in our corrupted nature forever and be destined for an eternal hell. Now our hope rests in the One who truly loves us. Stop running from God. For love is what you’re running from, there’s no hiding place. Well, there is one hiding place behind the Rock of Ages; and that Rock is Christ.