HIDING FROM GOD

It may strike you as ludicrous that a mere man would attempt to hide or flee from God. But throughout history there have been those who have attempted to do this very thing. It began with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden following their transgression.

And they 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. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” (Genesis3:8-10).

Adam and Eve learned that it was impossible to hide from God and impossible to escape the consequences of their choices and actions.

Jonah was another who tried to flee from God. God had commanded Jonah to go to Nineveh and warn them that if they did not repent the city would be destroyed. Jonah didn’t want to do this – the Assyrians were seen as a looming threat and he apparently wanted God to eliminate them for the safety of his own people. He thought by going in the opposite direction as far as he could he wouldn’t have to do what God commanded.

But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord. (Jonah 1:3).

Even in the hold of a foreign ship Jonah could not escape the presence of God. When a great storm arose and Jonah finally faced the reality of his situation he told the sailors to throw him overboard to calm the sea. But even in the depths of the sea Jonah found that he was not hidden from the presence of God for… “…the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:17). Apparently Jonah realized that the Lord was present even there in the belly of the fish because he did some really serious praying while there! “Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish,” (Jonah 2:1).

King David realized that it was impossible to hide from God.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you
.” (Psalm 139:7-12).

Perhaps it is our heritage from Deism, (the belief that God is remote from His creation), or maybe it is just our human delusional thinking that causes us to think that God will not know or will not care about how we live or what we do. So many are like the wicked of whom the Psalmist speaks, He says in his heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.” (Psalm 10:11).

The foolishness of this kind of thinking is seen in this statement from Hebrews 4:13; “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” This tells us that not only does God know what we do, but we will have to answer to Him for our actions.

Through the prophet Jeremiah God asks…

Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:24).

Like the old original Carter Family song says,

There’s no hiding place down here
There’s no hiding place down here
Well, I run to the rock just to hide my face
And the rocks cried out, no hiding place
There’s no hiding place down here

So, instead of trying to hide from God, we should acknowledge – confess – that we are sinners. God, who knows all there is to know about us says that we are sinners. (The Greek word homologeo [confess] means “to say the same thing,” to agree, concur). All we can do is “say the same thing” God says about us or confess. It is useless to try to hide our sins from Him.

But the wonderful thing about God is that in addition to knowing all about us, He will not only forgive our sins when we believe and obey Him, but will give us all the strength we need to overcome them when we trust Him for such help. What we really need, instead of trying to hide from God is to hide IN Him!

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