One of the sweetest times of the day is when Jonathan gets home from work. Not only because it means there’s now another adult to help navigate the crazy life that is three kids, but also because those three kids adore their daddy. No matter what they’re doing, when they hear the side door open and the familiar sounds of him putting down his keys and wallet on the kitchen counter, they come running and shouting, “Daddy! Daddy!” They usually race to see who can get to him first, hoping they’re the first ones to get scooped up into his strong arms and get the hug they’ve been waiting for all day. There’s usually only one circumstance in which this scenario doesn’t play out in this way. And that’s when one of them is in trouble - especially when they’ve heard the dreaded, “just wait until your Daddy gets home.”
In these instances, when Daddy comes through the door, the little guilty parties are nowhere to be found. They usually attempt to hide (although their hiding skills leave something to be desired), believing if he can’t find them, then he somehow won’t know of their offenses and won’t be able to discipline them. Or, if nothing else, at least the hiding delays the inevitable punishment that is to come. As much as they love their Daddy, they also know that He won’t tolerate their disrespect and disobedience, and so in those moments they don’t want to see him. They’re fearful. And ashamed.
During a recent Bible study time, we re-examined the events of Genesis 3 where Eve and Adam choose to disobey God and eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Instantly their eyes are opened and they knew of their nakedness and were ashamed of their disobedience so they hid from God. I can’t help but picture this scene in my head much like the way that my kiddos hide from their Daddy when they know they’re in trouble. Adam and Eve lived in fellowship with God. They knew He loved them and they loved Him in return. I have to think that before this moment they looked forward to their time with God like children waiting for their Daddy to get home from work. I picture them running to Him - seeking out His attention and fellowship. But now, after such a great disobedience, they didn’t want to see God. So they hid from Him hoping that He wouldn’t see them and know of their transgression.
But of course He saw them. And He called to them, “Where are you?” As we studied this passage, our teacher pointed out that God didn’t ask Adam and Eve this question because He didn’t know where they were. He asked them as a way of checking where they were in relation to Him. God of course knew that Adam and Eve had sinned and the fellowship between them was now broken. But did Adam and Eve know that? Did they realize the extent of what they’d done? Did they know that their sin had caused a spiritual separation from God and would also lead to a physical one?
And while God could have zapped them off the earth right then and there, He chose to extend mercy. First, He clothed them. He covered their nakedness and their shame. And then, He sent them out of the garden. We might look at that punishment and feel like its harsh, but it was actually an act of mercy as well. God knew that if Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Life that was in the garden, that they would be condemned to their sinful state - to be separated from God for all of eternity. And He loved them too much to let that happen. So He removed them from the Garden, but not before He tells them that it wouldn’t always be this way - a Rescuer would one day come to restore the relationship between God and mankind.
I’ve read, heard, and studied this section of scripture many times, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized the similarities between Adam and Eve’s response to God’s presence and my own. See when I’m out of fellowship with God, I tend to withdraw - to hide and hope that the Lord won’t pursue me. That He won’t call out to me “Where are you?” I’d rather just stay away - hidden in plain sight - than face Him, knowing that I’ve sinned. But what I forget is that in the face of my sin and disobedience, God extends mercy. He makes a covering. He offers refuge. And while the consequences of my sin may cause me temporary pain, I can know with certainty that Lord has a plan for my redemption. It won’t always be this way. I won’t always be separated from Him. The Rescuer has come and will one day come again. And on that day, we’ll re-enter the Garden. We’ll return to a right relationship with God. We’ll be rid of our shame and reunited with the God who loves us perfectly. Yes, one day we’ll hear Him coming and we’ll run to Him again. We’ll try to be first at His feet so that He’ll scoop us up in His strong arms and we’ll have the relationship with Him that we were always intended to have. Whole. Complete. Perfect fellowship with OUR Father for all eternity.