St. John's & Zion Lutheran Churches

An All-Important Encounter Of Hide And Seek

Sermon on Genesis 3:8-15

Text: The man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me — she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

A favorite game of childhood is ‘Hide and Seek.’ Do you remember when you played the game? If you were to hide, you tried to pick the best possible place where no one could find you. The excitement may have raced in you as the person who was it came closer and closer to your hiding place. You hoped that you wouldn’t be found. Hide and seek is a fun game to play. This morning we have another hide and seek scenario, but this was no game. Adam and Eve tried to hide from a seeking God. At times, we, too, may try to hide from a seeking God. We are going to look at AN ALL-IMPORTANT ENCOUNTER OF HIDE AND SEEK. 1. Guilty Sinners Hide From God. 2. A Gracious god Seeks Lost Sinners.

Our text follows a well-known account in the Bible. After God created the world and everything in it, he placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He told them that they could eat from any tree in the garden, except one. In this way, Adam and Eve could show their love for God. All creation was perfect.

Then Satan came to Eve in the form of a serpent and tempted her. He showed her the tree. He showed her how good the fruit on that tree looked. Surely, God was being unfair to Adam and Eve by not allowing them to eat for that tree. As Eve looked at the tree, she was more and more tempted until she gave in to the temptation and ate form the tree. She gave some of the fruit to Adam and he ate it, as well. With this action, sin entered the world, with disastrous results. Now Adam and Eve lost the perfect unity that they had enjoyed with God. We see this from Adam and Eve’s actions when they heard God in the garden. Instead of going to him gladly to be with him, they ran away and hid. Now they were afraid of God. Where once there had been love and trust, there was now fear.

God called out to Adam and confronted him with his sin. God asked him, “Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” (Verse 11) Adam answered, “The woman you put here with me — she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” (Verse 12) Then, God addressed Eve with the same question, and she answered, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Verse 13) Note how both of them attempted to shift the blame elsewhere. Adam said, ‘It’s all Eve’s fault and God, it’s also your fault, because you put this woman here with me. If you hadn’t done so, I probably would have been OK.’ Eve said, ‘It’s not my fault. It’s the serpent’s fault, because he tricked me.’ Neither one wanted to take responsibility for their actions. However, they both do finally admit that they had eaten from the tree that God had forbidden them to eat from. It’s not a loud admission. It’s more like an under the breath admission. However, when they were confronted with their sin, they had to admit that they had done wrong. They had sinned.

Do you notice anything familiar about Adam and Eve’s treatment of their sins? First, they tried to hide their sins and then, when confronted with them, they tried to make excuses. Don’t we often do the same thing? We are, not only, Adam’s physical descendants. All too often, we also imitate our forefather in this manner. We know that we sin every day. How do we react to our sins? Our first reaction might be to try and hide it from public knowledge. We don’t want anyone else to find out about our sins. We would especially like to hide them from God. We foolishly think that God wouldn’t notice our little sins, when there are so many other people with far greater sins than our own. What is my sin of greed compared with another person’s robbery? What is my sin of lust compared with another’s sin of adultery? What is my sin of hurting another’s reputation compared with murder? Hiding our sins might work for awhile, but sin doe not stay concealed.

We have that little voice inside of us called a conscience. This little voice reminds us of the sins that we have committed. It reminds us of all of those sins that we thought no one else saw. It brings them back to our attention. What do we often do, then? We try to make excuses for those sins. We make excuses like, ‘It really didn’t hurt anyone,’ or ‘Every one else was doing it and I didn’t want to stick out like a sore thumb.’ We might even be tempted to excuse our sin by saying, ‘If God hadn’t allowed that temptation or that situation into my life, I would have been OK.’ For every sin commit, we can try to come up with and excuse to try and cover it.

In the end, however, we all have to confess that we have committed the sin. It wasn’t that we were forced to sin. It wasn’t that we had no other choice in the matter. We have to say, ‘I committed the sin. I was the one who did what God did not want me to do. I stole. I lusted. I misused God’s name. It was me.’ When we confess our sins, then, we can be happy to see God. Then we sinners no longer need to hide.

When we were playing the game of hide and seek, we were afraid of being found by the one who was looking for us. Adam and Eve were afraid of God, who was looking for them. They knew that they had sinned. They knew that they deserved punishment. We, too, are deserving of punishment. We deserve an eternity in hell because of our sins. However, it was not an angry God who searched for Adam and Eve. It was a gracious God searching for lost sinners.

The first words that we hear God say are, “Where are you?” (Verse 9) It wasn’t that God didn’t know where they were. Rather, God was giving them the opportunity to come to him and confess what they had done. After Adam answered that he was afraid because he was naked so he hid, God replied, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” (Verse 11) God’s question is like that of a parent who comes upon their child with cookies in each hand. They ask, “Were you in the cookie jar?” It’s obvious that the child was. However, the parent is giving their child an opportunity to confess their wrongdoing. This was the purpose of God’s questions to Adam and Eve. He knew that they had sinned. God wanted them to confess their sin.

After Adam and Eve confessed their sin, God did not leave them dangling, wondering what was going to happen next. God spoke words of great love. He promised that he would send someone to save them from their sins. God said to the serpent, Satan, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Verse 15) God promised that an offspring of the woman would crush the serpent’s head, that is, deliver a crushing fatal blow. The devil would be thoroughly defeated. We know that the fulfillment of this prophecy is found in Jesus Christ. Jesus, born of a woman, crushed the power of the devil. He broke his power over us. He has freed us from the devil’s clutches. It was not without cost, however. God told the devil that he would strike the offspring’s heel. The heel is a very sensitive part of the foot. When it is injured, it causes a great deal of pain. Jesus endured great pain as he suffered and died on the cross. He suffered the punishment of hell that we deserved so that he might defeat the devil and set us free. God came with his grace immediately after the fall into sin and offered it to repentant believers.

So also God offers full forgiveness, when we repent of our sins. All those who confess their sins find full and free forgiveness. God tells us not to hide our sins, nor try to make excuses for them. Rather, we come to him, pleading God’s mercy, ask forgiveness. Then we can be assured that all of our sins have been forgiven for Jesus’ sake.

God told the serpent that there would be enmity between him and the woman, between his offspring and hers. Enmity is not just a general dislike many people have towards snakes. Rather, this is speaking of enmity, a hostility between the devil’s offspring, that is the unbelieving world, and the woman’s offspring, the believers. There will be friction between the two because each does things differently than the other. The devil’s offspring wants to sin and have nothing to do with God. They cannot understand why believers act the way that they do. Why does the believer want to do things that are pleasing to God? Why not do what you want to do? The believer replies that they are doing what they want to do. They are living this way because they want to thank God for all that he has done for them. God told us that it would be this way already at the first promise of the Savior. The apostle John also wrote, “Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.” (1 John 3:13) If someone cannot understand why you don’t do the things that they do and they make you feel uncomfortable because you behave in this way, this is all part of that enmity that was promised already back in the Garden of Eden. However, we don’t need to be afraid of this hostility, because we know that we have something better waiting for us. Heaven is ours because a gracious God looked for and found us and made us his own.

In the game of hide and seek, the person loses if they are found. That is not the case with the hide and seek encounter we talked about this morning. Adam and Eve were winners because God found them. We, too, are winners because God has found us, as well. May we praise our gracious God for coming and finding us. We praise him for sending his Son into the world to crush Satan’s power and setting us free from our sins. May we never try to hide our sins from God, but let us come to him confessing our sins, being assured that forgiveness is ours. We are reminded in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” We thank God for this wonderful reassurance. Amen.