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The Pursuit of God – Part 1 - Gen. 3:8-13
In the beginning when God created the world, He planted a Garden in the East, in Eden. The Garden gets described at length in Genesis. God made all kinds of trees to grow out of the ground that were pleasing to the eye, many bearing fruit which was sweet and good. He decorated the garden with flowers and put fish in the streams and birds in the sky. Eden was the perfect home God created for His greatest creation: man and woman, Adam and Eve. God made the whole earth so that He would have a place to be with man and woman, you and me.
I think the garden God created represents God’s great desire for “BEING WITH.” For our souls to be well, it needs to be WITH God. One of the many awesome phrases in the Bible is where Adam and Eve: “...heard the sound of the LORD God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day.”
God is Spirit, which means He doesn’t have a body, legs, or feet. So, how could He “walk” in the garden? It’s clear from Gen. 3:8 that God’s approach in the garden was heralded by a “sound” or a “voice.” This verse begins by stating, “they heard the SOUND of the LORD God.” Whatever form God took, it certainly allowed for the physical production of sound. His walk was audible; He was making noise.
This verse also mentions the “presence” of God among the trees of the garden. It was a presence that Adam and Eve acknowledged and thought they could hide from. So, God’s garden walk included both sound and some sort of presence among the trees.
Even given those 2 statements, interpretations differ greatly. Some emphasize the fact that God the Father is invisible and cannot be seen by humans. According to this view, God did not appear in the flesh; rather, He took on a symbolic, incorporeal appearance, such as a cloud, much like He did with the Israelites in the desert with Moses in Deut. 31:15.
Regardless of whether God appeared in human form or in a cloud, or whether He made His presence known by a windstorm, it is clear God Himself confronted the sinners and issues judgment.
To the praise of His grace, this judgment also includes the promise of a future Redeemer (Gen. 3:15). Thus began a great saga that ultimately led to Jesus Christ, the perfect sacrifice for sin and substitute for sin’t judgment. Through Christ, those who believe are forgiven of sin and receive eternal life (John 3:16).
This is where we begin to allow the enemy to work. We focus on and argue about theology and interpretation, and then others disregard the whole “story” as fantasy, and claim it’s not part of historical fact. How about we focus on what it meant. How about we look at how AWESOME it was that, not only did God create us, but had a desire to BE WITH His creation!
The point of this remarkable phrase is that, walking is something you do with someone you care about - a friend with a friend, a child with a parent, two people in love! It’s not really about the walk; it’s about being with someone! This God - the God of the Bible - is a God who wants to “be with!” Our souls were made to walk with God from the very beginning.
But the man and the woman sin, deliberately hiding from God among the trees of the garden. Yet God would not be denied. HE WENT AFTER THEM! In fact, the WHOLE narrative of the Bible is ALL about God going after us, relentlessly pursuing us!!
As Adam and Eve hid behind the trees God created, He called out: “Where are you?” Physically He knew exactly where they were! What God was really asking was: “Where are you in relation to Me?”
All God has ever wanted is to be with you! Maybe some of us have done some “spiritual hiding?”
Sometimes we don’t have much of a sense for God’s presence in our lives. The truth is that our desire for God can be pretty selective, and sometimes we don’t even want God to be around. We all have things we do that we hide from others, but we are foolish if we think we can hide anything from God. Maybe out of all the prayers that are ever spoken, the most common one - the quietest one, the one we least own up to making is this: “God, don’t look at me.”
It was the very first thing spoken after the fall. God came to walk in the garden, to be with the man and the woman, and called, “Where are you?”
“I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid, so I hid.”
“God, don’t look at me.”
Maybe some of us who are on the road check into a motel room late at night. We know the movies that are available to us in that room. No one will find out. Do we say a prayer: God, don’t look at me?” Maybe you’re a husband or wife who holds anger or bitterness towards your spouse and say or do something to shame them or “get back” at them. First, you have to say a little prayer, God, don’t look at me.”
An employee who burns their employer... A contractor who overcharges or burns their client... A student who looks at someone else’s paper during a test... a church member who look forward to the chance to gossip... First, they must say a little prayer... And after time, this prayer can become so ingrained in us that we are not even aware of it.
As I said before, we ALL hide things, whether its things we do or even think. But playing “hide and seek” doesn’t always work out so well. How many have ever tried to play “hide and seek” with God? Have we ever sinned and tried to run away from Him in shame? How do we ever think that would work? God doesn’t play “hide and seek,” He plays “Seek and Hide!” He is the great pursuer that ALWAYS tracks us down! So today, if you're feeling far away from God, this passage is a word of HOPE for you!