Playing Hide and Seek with God
For the next several months, Luella and I will be renting an apartment in California. Philadelphia is where we reside permanently, but three of our four adult children now live in Los Angeles and San Diego, along with all six of our grandkids.
Our two oldest granddaughters are obsessed with hide-and-seek. That means we’ll play it a lot over the next few months! The game unfolds the same way every time:
Because they are not very good at hiding, we pretend that we can’t find them and act like we’re about ready to give up. They, on the other hand, always have trouble finding us. Just as they are about to concede defeat, we begin whistling or clapping so they can find us.
It’s a very cute game, but the first “game” of hide and seek recorded in the Bible was anything but.
“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” (Genesis 3:8-10, ESV)
This is one of the saddest stories recorded in the Bible. Why? Because Adam and Eve were created to live in the most beautiful relationship anyone could ever have–in intimate communion with God.
Our first parents were designed to live in a worshipful, obedient, and loving relationship with their Creator, with him and before him out in the open, with nothing to regret or fear. God walked with them in the perfect garden he had made for them. It was situational and relational bliss.
But in this shocking moment, we find them hiding from God. Something has gone very wrong. Instead of longing to once again be with God, they are afraid to be seen by him. Sin had entered the world, and the guilt and fear of sin caused them to hide.
People have been hiding from God ever since. John said it this way: “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” (John 3:19).
Between the already of our conversion and the not yet of our homegoing, we need to again and again expose the destructive delusion of “hiding” from God. Hiding our sin never leads anywhere good, but playing hide and seek with God is actually impossible. “No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).
It’s a haunting and glorious thought: nothing is hidden from the Lord. God is gloriously omnipresent, all-seeing, and all-knowing. There is no place that he is not, there is nothing he doesn’t see, and there is nothing he doesn’t know.
But there’s more. It is the greatest comfort ever that we cannot escape his presence. By grace, God watches over us with the compassionate heart of a loving Father, protecting, providing, rescuing, and guiding.
One of the purposes of corporate worship–that is, going to church—is to remind us that any attempt to hide our sin from him is an act of spiritual insanity. Sundays should be a weekly invitation to come out of hiding and to bask in the beauty of knowing and being known by God, a beauty that is ours because of his redeeming grace.
P.S. – this devotional is adapted from my new book, Sunday Matters: 52 Devotionals to Prepare Your Heart for Church. Each entry focuses on a Biblical truth, like hiding from God, and prompts us to go to church for encouragement and exposure.
My prayer is that this book will help pastors, worship leaders, and congregants alike prepare for joyful, engaged, and passionate worship every week. Learn more about my newest devotional, out now, at PaulTripp.com/Sunday.
Paul David Tripp
1. Think through an area or two of your life where you are tempted to hide from God. Why is it a destructive thing to try and hide from God? Why is it a delusional thing? Why is an attempt—in any way—to hide our sin something that’s actually impossible? If it’s impossible, why do you think we still try to do it?
2. Why is the truth that nothing is hidden from the Lord something that is actually good news, not bad news, even though it might seem initially terrifying? Why should it be comforting to know that we cannot escape the presence of God? Again, even though it might be initially scary to know that there is nothing God doesn’t see, take some time to think through what it means to be totally known and exposed to a loving heavenly Father who is compassionate, protecting, providing, rescuing, and guiding. Now write out a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the fact that he does know you completely in all of your rebellion, and yet still loves you more than you ever dared to imagine.
3. Why is corporate worship at a church a reflection of what it means to be known by God? How can the church body and corporate worship remind us that any attempt to hide from our sin is really an act of spiritual insanity? Think about the Sunday worship at your church—what would it practically look like for you to come out of hiding from your sin each week and bask in the beauty of God’s grace amongst his people? Why is it important to be reminded each Sunday at corporate worship that we know and are known by the living God?