Read Genesis 3:8-13
8 Then 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.” (NIV)
When as a child I hit a golf ball over my home’s fence nearly hitting my elderly next-door neighbour, I would like to say I walked next door and apologised for my thoughtlessness (and substandard golf swing). What I did do was run away and hide. I had done something wrong and didn’t want to face the consequences. Understandable too given the rather crabby temperament of the old man next door. More subtle is our tendency to shrink and withdraw if we are found out in some shameful conduct. Once, when I wasn’t directing golf balls onto baldheaded neighbours, I tinkered with dad’s car and caused a small fire in the dashboard. Once the grown-ups had come to put things right, I went away and hid for a time, too ashamed to show my face in human company for a time.
This sort of thing has a long pedigree. The first human beings showed us how to do it. Adam and Eve disobeyed the one overriding command God gave them and in doing so were asserting their independence from God. We will do things our way thanks very much. But their declaration of independence brought not freedom but fear. Made for relationship with this God who permeated their world, they couldn’t just brazen it out and thumb their noses at him. They realised something had gone wrong (symbolised here by their nakedness). So they hid, hoping they could get away with living under God’s care and yet beyond his authority. And when found out (we can’t actually avoid God), they took to buck-passing. Adam blamed Eve and implicitly God. Eve blamed the snake and implicitly God.
Today we still play such games. There are those who want to live their own way and sheet the blame home to God for not making things easier for them to obey him. So they make excuses. There are those who have gone astray from God and figure that he now hates them or wants to punish them. So they hide in fear and shame. This God who inhabits every corner of our existence invites us to quit playing the blame game and quit hiding. He invites us to realise we have gone wrong, but that he has come to put it right.
He knows we are ‘naked’ and has come to clothe us, not in fig leaves but in the perfection and acceptability of Jesus.