And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
One of the saddest phrases in all the Bible is found in Genesis 3:8. Over the past two chapters, God had literally created the whole universe. That includes space, time, and all matter. He created light and earth and seas and plants and trees and sun and moon and stars and fish and fowl and every creature. Finally, He made man, male and female, in the Image of Himself. They were the pinnacle of His creative work, the fullest earthly reflection of His glory. He bound them together in marriage, and gave the man work to do in His Garden, the famed Garden of Eden. They were given free range of every area in the Garden. They had unbroken fellowship with their Creator. They had no shame. In chapter 3, that all changed.
You see, God had commanded man to stay away from a certain tree, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This was the one restriction God placed on man, everything else was to be enjoyed in sweet fellowship with God Himself. It seemed like an easy choice, enjoy God or die. But then again, hindsight is 20/20. We are often too quick to judge our ancestors for making the same insane choices we subconsciously make every single day.
In Genesis 3, the “crafty serpent” decided to have a talk with the first woman, Eve. Over the course of her conversation with the serpent, doubts were planted. Soon those doubts turned to perverted desire. Perverted desire led to sinful action. Finally, sinful action became moral corruption. The innocence of 2:25 was lost. They were no longer “naked and not ashamed”. They were self-conscious of their moral failure, and shame began to set in.
Suddenly, they heard the sound of God walking in the Garden. What were they to do? Could they go and plead with the God they had blatantly disobeyed? Could they come clean right then and there? Could they beg for forgiveness and restored fellowship? We may never know for, “They hid themselves.” There it is, one of the saddest phrases in all the Bible. “And they hid themselves.”
What makes it even worse is Who they hid themselves from. They hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God. They hid themselves from their Creator, their Lover, their Purpose for Existence. They attempted to flee from the Omnipresent. In their shame, they could not stand before the Shameless Lord of Creation.
An added sting comes when it is realized what they hid themselves among, for they hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the Garden. They hid themselves among the gifts that the One from Whom they were fleeing had created for them! They hid themselves among the provision they had chosen to ignore for a lie, the lie that they could actually be their own Gods.
In Genesis 2:25, there was no shame. In Genesis 3:1-6, there was pride. In Genesis 3:7-14, there was shame. And in Genesis 3:15, there was hope. There was hope of future deliverance from the deception and power of the serpent. That is because in Genesis 3:15, we see the first prophecy of Our Savior, Jesus Christ. He was there in the beginning. He created man. He saw man sin, yet He desired to deliver us. About 4,000 years later, Jesus of Nazareth took our shame to the brutal Roman cross. He was humiliated and shamed, so that we may be unashamed once again. Man’s sin was met with God’s salvation. Where man fails, God prevails. Where we will sin, He can save. While we were once ashamed, He made a Way of Escape.
Lord, may we remember our desperation before You saved us. We hid ourselves among the gifts of Your creation, always searching for something to distract us from the emptiness of life without You. We were guilty and ashamed, and You saved us. In Your great love, mercy, and justice You threw Your wrath upon Your Son so that we may be freed from all condemnation and ultimately delivered from all shame. Cause us to dwell on this act forever, as it is the basis for all hope and light and salvation.
By the power of Your Spirit, in the name of Your Son, for Your glory alone, Amen.
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