As I was pondering the mysteries of holiness and humanity I began to focus in on a particular matter of interest. We often tend to hide from God…”What on earth do you mean?” Perhaps you might ask. I intend to give an answer to this question, as well as establish some of the dangers of this human tendency.
As unholy humans we often hide our faces and our hearts away from a holy God. When we are aware of our sin, when we’ve failed (often miserably), we tend to do as our first parents did, and hide away, hoping that the holiness and radiance of God would not uncover what we’ve done. Such a senseless and harmful task this is. So why do we do it? Surely we know the grace of God, surely we have seen the mercy of God at the cross; surely we know the forgiveness that He has promised and time after time, given. Surely we’ve seen a love so relentless that it chased us to the end of ourselves and met us with open arms. So why! Why then on earth would we hide from Him, when we know that He loves us so much? There are a couple of reasons I can see for this very foolish, but human, tendency.
We hide because of shame: Shame. What a horrible emotion. I believe it is shame that caused Adam and Eve to hide from God in the garden on that very first day that sin entered the world. That’s curious isn’t it? Curious how they noticed that they were unclothed and hid isn’t it? What does this tell us? It tells us quite clearly that SIN is the culprit behind this shame. It is because of sin that we are ashamed. Sin always makes ashamed, even for those who do not belong to Christ. For instance, the public shame of a thief in the court of law. His sin has made him ashamed…what about the woman who was caught in adultery in the Bible? Was she ashamed? Yes, very much. Because of sin. We hide because we don’t want him to see what we’ve done. We don’t want him to look at our sin. As though he looks at His child and sees that…we want him to see us as good, we want Him to notice our good, and shy away from Him when we’ve done wrong; hoping that if we don’t come close He won’t look at it…perhaps He won’t be able to see it…how silly; how foolish, and yet how human.
His light reveals every infirmity: It would be amiss to go about uncovering why we hide from God without addressing a key point that we are told. We are told that Adam and Eve hid from God because they found out that they were unclothed, and this made them ashamed. I don’t think I ever fully understood how significant this detail was until writing this. It could have a number of different purposes, and likely it does, for most Bible details and passages do. Applied to what we are discussing here tonight, I think this represents the helplessness and poverty of humanity before God. You see, the radiance of God’s light illuminates every detail…every spot of sin. He searches the hearts of men and nothing is missed, no hidden sin, not even the one buried deepest inside of you is unseen by God. Adam and Eve knew of this all seeing light, for they had basked in it day and night with jubilance. But this was when they walked with God. This was before sin. It should be noted that before this time Adam and Eve did not know that they were naked. They were unaware of it completely. When sin came, they realized something about themselves that they had never realized before. Rather than embracing God, robed in His light, they recognized their helplessness. This made them feel vulnerable, and the Bible says they hid because they were afraid. Afraid? Afraid of the one who loved them? But why? Perhaps it was because for the first time, they realized how unholy and helpless they were before His holy presence. Perhaps it was because they feared him being angry, or disappointed. Indeed, he was disappointed. He hide from God because in front of Him we are faced with our own helplessness and blemish. We are faced with our own failure, and human fragility, and helplessness. We don’t want to look at that…we don’t want to see our own sin in the light of God’s holiness…we don’t want to admit it to ourselves, or to Him. We would rather deny that it was there, and if we become truly barren and open in the light of God, we cannot to do this. We cannot deny the sin but rather must face it under the gaze of God…so then, we hide. Again, how foolish.
We lose sight of the grace: In the midst of looking at our own sin and failure, we have lost sight of beautiful grace. Grace that is clear and steadfast,and plain to see. You see, when we look at ourselves, and hide from God, we are always looking at the wrong thing. Stop looking at yourself and deciding to hide from God. Look instead at the grace that has covered that sin. Grace that covered sin? Yes. For don’t you remember? All of your sin, every reason that you would have for hiding, it was covered at the cross. Sin brings shame, correct? Yes. But sin was defeated at the cross. Shame was killed. Jesus took away the power of shame in your life when He saved you. Shame has become nothing more now than a cleverly constructed lie from the enemy’s hands. Oh yes, that old snake would have you hide, for he knows well that if you hide for shame from God you will never be delivered. Satan would have you look at shame and not see grace any day. What about our barrenness and our helplessness? That too is settled, if you keep your eyes on grace. For don’t you remember? He has covered you in Christ’s righteousness. He has washed your garments white in the blood of the lamb when you believed on Him. But Jesus cannot deliver you unless you confess this sin to Him. He cannot help you unless you open up your heart and give him power over everything. Power to look at everything; nothing hidden. An open and pleasing heart is one who stares at grace as it’s focus, rather than anything else; trusting Jesus to redeem. Run to him, broken by the sin in your heart, the pain in your heart, the fear in your heart. Look at the grace, and do not hide from God.