And [Adam and Eve] 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.

(Genesis 3:8, ESV)

This tragic situation arose shortly after Adam ate of the fruit which God had commanded him not to eat (Genesis 2:16-17). Both he and his wife have suddenly discovered that they are naked, and this has brought a new thing into creation: shame. (More accurately, it has brought sin and death into creation, and from them has come shame.)

It is interesting that Adam and Eve “hid themselves” at the sound of God’s approach. This suggests that each of them ran to a different location and tried to hide, perhaps behind bushes or trees. If a man and his wife were walking in the woods and heard a bear approaching, we would expect them to huddle together to protect one another from the deadly threat. But this threat is like no other: the man and woman are fleeing “from the presence of the LORD God.” The New Testament gravely warns us that a day is coming when all the people of the earth will scatter and try to hide from the wrath of God’s judgment — and they will discover, as did Adam and Eve, how utterly futile it is to try and hide from God.

Adam and Eve are looking out for number one, each forsaking the other in an attempt to look after their own needs. This is a direct result of sin, as disobedience to God’s Word is always an act of selfishness and pride.

But the tragic irony of this situation is that Adam and Eve are hiding from the only One who can remove their shame and restore them to their original state of righteousness and immortality. This, too, is a universal byproduct of sin, as sin motivates us to hide from the only Person who can save us. Following the lies of the serpent has led mankind away from God, and this is always the case when people believe the notions of the world — “love yourself,” “follow your heart,” “reach out for empowerment,” and so forth: these false teachings lead away from God, not toward Him.

But thank God, the story does not end here! “But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’” (Genesis 3:9, ESV). Adam had separated himself and his wife from God, and there was no way for him to restore their relationship with Him — but God came calling! God came looking for Adam, giving him the opportunity to confess what he had done and to be restored — to a degree — in his relationship to his Creator. That relationship could not be fully restored, of course, until God Himself paid the final debt for Adam’s sin, and the full effects of our restoration will not be experienced until we have joined Him in eternity. But the process of reconciliation with God could not even begin until Adam confessed his sin.

The wonderful news is that God did not leave Adam in his sin to fend for himself; He made the overture; He came to Adam, for Adam could not go to Him. And God is still making the overture today to sinful men and women, coming to us in our hopeless condition to offer redemption and reconciliation. As Paul reminds us, “None is righteous, no, not one; ​​​ ​​​​​​​​no one understands; ​​​​​​​no one seeks for God. ​​​ ​​​​​​​​All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; ​​​​​​​no one does good, ​​​​​​​not even one” (Romans 3:10-12, ESV). It is not we who seek God; it is God who seeks us — and it is through Him alone that we can find salvation from sin and death. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6, ESV).

 

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