Posts tagged ‘forgiveness’

The Naked Truth: Why Did Adam Really Hide From God?

“Then they heard the Lord God walking in the garden during the cool part of the day, and the man and his wife hid from the Lord God among the trees in the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said, ‘Where are you?’

“The man answered, ‘I heard you walking in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.'” (Genesis 3:8-10 NCV).

This was part of the passage we discussed in Sunday School today. And the question was, “Why did Adam and Eve hide from God?” Was it guilt and shame? Embarrassment? After all, they looked down for the first time and realized “Whoops! Yikes! We are naked as jay-birds! We can’t show up before God like this!”

Was nakedness really the reason that they hid, or was there something else? Of course there was. The very moment Eve, and then Adam, ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil they not only understood the difference between right and wrong, but they had a full understanding of the gravity of what they had done. They heard God walking in the garden and knew that they had disobeyed the God of the universe. They felt guilt, and shame. But they also felt fear for the first time. God said that if they ate from that tree, they would die. Now God was looking for them. Did He know already? Was their any way they could hide this truth from Him? Would He kill them on the spot? Adam and Eve hid because more than their bodies were naked. Their souls were laid bare, and they were now vulnerable. They were afraid. Before they ate, they lived in the comfort and safety of God Almighty. Now, God was their enemy. I’d hide, too!

They had to wonder, who was this God? Was He a God of anger and revenge? Would He be filled with hatred, and regret over creating them? Adam and Eve suddenly realized that they no longer knew God. The One with whom they had spent countless hours strolling through the garden had become a stranger to them. Something had come between them and Him, and fear gripped their hearts like it was a physical vise. It was this fear that drove them to cower behind the bushes when God called for them. They did not dare to face Him.

Don’t we find ourselves in the same situation when we sin against God? The God we enjoyed communion with in prayer just hours before becomes a stranger. We feel separated from Him. Vulnerable. Afraid to show ourselves to Him. What will He do? How will He react? We doubt His goodness, and wonder if this is the time that God says, “Enough. This is the last time you will blow it. I am finished with you.” Satan feeds us one lie after another. He overruns our mind with doubts. And in so doing, strips us naked, leaving us vulnerable and afraid to turn our face toward God.

What was God’s response to Adam and Eve? Punishment? Perhaps. To be sure there were consequences for what they had done. But God didn’t fry them. He didn’t strike them with lightening. He didn’t vaporize them. And He didn’t hate them. God’s response was to care for them. He met their needs. They were naked and vulnerable. He covered them (vs. 21). He loved them.

What is God’s response to you when you sin? He does not condemn you (There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit – Romans 8:1 NKJV). Yes, there are natural consequences for our sins. But God loves us, and He covers our nakedness. He covered our nakedness once and for all when Jesus died on the cross. We sin and build a separation between us and God, but He comes calling for us. He wants us to return to Him. He wants us to trust in His love.

So God loves us. He does not condemn us when we disobey Him. He even comes looking for us to bring us back to Him. Why then would we fear Him? Because Satan wants us to, just as he wanted Adam and Eve to. As long as Satan can keep us away from God, filled with the fear of a response from God that he has contrived, he can keep us from being used by God. Our relationship with God is put on hold, and our service to God is paralyzed. Satan becomes the victor in our lives.

We will sin. No matter how hard we try not to. But we cannot allow Satan full victory in our lives! Our time here is short. God has a purpose for our lives, and when we allow Satan to make us ineffective by not returning to the God who offers us His own righteousness, we lose. We lose out on precious time in prayer and worship with God. We lose opportunities to reach others in His service. And we lose the blessing of being used by the God of all gods. God is not the God of fear. He is the God of love, and He wants you to return to Him the moment you realize your sin. Do not delay. Defeat the fear of the Devil. Instead, seek victory in Jesus!

Do I Disappoint God?

I’m not often disappointed by people. Well, not to the point of frustration anyway. I have learned over the years that just as I need the grace and understanding of others, they need it from me as well. Once in a while, though, I have higher expectations for someone than I should. And when that happens, so does disappointment. Then when disappointment happens, frustration, anger, bitterness, resentment also tend to rear their ugly heads. This is exactly what happened to me this week…and on more than one occasion, with more than one person! I was setting myself up for a fall, and worse, I set them up for a fall!

When it was all said and done, I had some confessing to do. And it took me a bit to figure out how to talk to God about it all. I was hurt because of the actions of the people who disappointed me, so there was that to deal with. But I knew that I didn’t handle it as well as I should have either. So here I was with a wall between me and God. I hate that feeling! There can’t possibly be anything worse than feeling that distance between you and God, and not knowing how, or where, to begin getting back to Him. It took a lot of work, but eventually I was able to start praying about everything. As I prayed about the disappointment that I felt, I thought, “I must disappoint You all the time.” But how can God be disappointed?

Where does disappointment come from? High hopes. We expect more of people than it is fair to expect. We expect perfection from imperfect people, and then don’t offer grace and understanding when they don’t live up to our expectations. We expect them to be something they are not…infallible.

When I thought of how often God must be disappointed in me, He corrected me. God is never disappointed in me! He doesn’t set up high hopes and delude Himself into believing that I am more than I am. He knows exactly who I am, what I am capable of, and what I am not capable of. He knows I am not perfect. Not only is He not taken aback, surprised, or disappointed when I fail Him, He knew it was going to happen before I did it. God knew what He was getting when He called me to Him in the first place. So it is impossible for me to disappoint God! But there is more.

God knew exactly how I was going to react to those who disappointed me this week. He wasn’t disappointed in me. That doesn’t mean He liked it. But He loves me. He offered me grace and understanding…and forgiveness. But the thing is, the forgiveness was mine before I sinned! Hebrews 10:10 (NCV) – “And because of this, we are made holy through the sacrifice Christ made in his body once and for all time.” Once and for all time. Long ago I accepted the free gift of salvation through Christ. When that happened, my sins were forgiven…past, present, and yes, future! God is not disappointed in me because He knows me; because He understands me; and because, through the blood of Jesus, He has already forgiven me for what I will do! This is not an excuse to go do as I please. Instead it is a blessed reassurance of His unconditional love for me. And my praise and thanksgiving seem so inadequate in comparison. What do I have to give in return but myself. It is all I have to give, and I give it freely to my God who loves me.

Blessed Assurance by Frances J. Crosby, 1873

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Refrain:
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels, descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

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