Good morning. I'm very glad you're here this morning, whether you are listening from your room or here physically. This morning we're going way back into the Old Testament, otherwise known as the Jewish scriptures, to discover the first time humans hid from God, and what can be done about the problem.
This morning we will be starting with the assumption that God did create everything, including humans, and that the Garden of Eden existed. If this is a difficult concept for you, and it is for many, then just know that this is my belief based on my faith and the scriptures as I interpret them. To catch you up on what has happened in the first couple chapters. In six days, God has created the earth, the stars, and everything on the earth. For an undetermined amount of time, everything was perfect. The humans obeyed God's commands to take care of the creation and not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil.
Then Satan, in the form of a Serpent, convinced Eve, who then convinced Adam, that they could eat that fruit and not suffer any consequences. It is immediately after eating the fruit that we pick up the story in Genesis Chapter 3 verse 6.
6 Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 So the Lord God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
10 And he said, “I heard You in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”
11 Then He asked, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The key to this morning's talk is, “They hid themselves from the Lord.” Like my father Adam, and mother Eve, I have hid myself from God many times. It has happened either because of anger about what God is allowing in my life or because I have been sinning against God, just like Adam and Eve did. I could be for any number of reasons, but I have definitely hid myself often.
How do we hide from God?
My efforts to hide myself from God are as futile as my first parents. They didn't involve making clothing out of fig leaves as we imagine from the biblical text, but hide from God I did. My efforts to hide from God are often brought to fruition through work in the U.S. Navy, digging deep into some writing project as that is my hobby, or getting lost in my dreams about the future. Often times I will daydream about some future promotion or some stock I have invested and doing well, or even about becoming a best-selling author. The exact content of the dream is secondary. The important thing to know is that I run from God instead of living in the moment with him knowing that he is sovereign in my life.
Of course, sometimes I run from God by sinning against him. When you engage in active disobedience against God's words, you are running from God. This is something I have done in the past. Perhaps you have to.
We have an example from the Bible of someone who did this named Jonah. Just like his spiritual parents Adam and Eve, Jonah in hearing a direct command from God, ran the other way. You probably know about his example from stories that you were told as a child at church. In the story of Adam and Eve running from God and hiding, and then the story of Jonah, we have examples of human nature. That human nature seeks its own will when God has made commands otherwise. It requires the individual to ignore his or her faith in God and instead place faith and oneself.
This is actually the crux of the matter itself. Satan, in the form of the serpent, was able to tempt Eve away from God by telling her that she could become like God. When you run from God or hide from God you're placing your faith in yourself, which shows your attempt to become like God. I don't need God you say, I can do it myself. And when the building blocks of your own faith in yourself come crumbling down around you, you hide behind whatever is available in order to not feel shame at ignoring God and sinning against him.
That is the example of Adam and Eve. In the story of Jonah, this scenario is taken a step further. Sometimes God doesn't ask calmly where we are in the cool of the evening as he did in Genesis chapter 3. Sometimes he swallows us with a big fish. Despite recently achieving a Masters degree in religion, and being under contract to write an article about starting a military ministry, I ran from God both through my Navy career and in my hobbies as a computer enthusiast. My big fish moment is writing this article on my couch with a cast on my right hand using Mac dictate because I cannot type. As I said, sometimes God asks us where we are in the cool of the evening, and sometimes he sends a big fish.
This cast, this surgery on my wrist, which has severely limited my ability to do my hobbies, has been a boon to personal spiritual revival! I am extremely grateful for this injury as it has forced me to come to terms with my face and my walk with Jesus Christ. I remember a few years ago a famous preacher wrote a book called don't waste your cancer. In that book he talked about making the most of the situation and using it for God's glory. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to make the most through personal revival, and to share the testimony with you.
What is the big fish in your life?