How We Hide Genesis 3:8

And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God. - Genesis 3:8

There is a little word of three letters in the eighth verse of the third chapter of Genesis, and though it has only three letters it made me think of no fewer than three sermons for you. Do you think you could pick out that little word? It is the word h-i-d. I want to talk to you for three Sundays about “hiding.”

1. What does “hiding” make you think of? I expect you say at once, “Oh! of ‘ hide and seek.’” Yes, that’s a good answer; and “hide and seek” indoors or out-of-doors is a good game. There are so many different ways of playing it too, and they are all exciting. Here is a way I read of the other day.

It was an old, old, old, old lady,
And a boy who was half-past three;
And the way that they played together
Was beautiful to see.

She couldn’t go running and jumping,
And the boy no more could lie,
For he was a thin little fellow,
With a thin, little, twisted knee.

They sat in the yellow sunlight,
Out under the maple tree;
And the game that they played I’ll tell you,
Just as it was told to me.

It was Hide-and-go-Seek they were playing,
Though you’d never have known it to be—
With an old, old, old, old lady,
And a boy with a twisted knee.

The boy would bend his face down,
On his one little sound right knee;
And he’d guess where she was hiding,
In guesses One, Two, Three!

“You are in the china closet!”
He would cry and laugh with glee—
It wasn’t the china closet;
But still he had Two and Three.

“You are in papa’s big bedroom,
In the chest with the odd old key!”
And she said: “You are warm, and warmer;
But you’re not quite right,” said she.

“It can’t be the little cupboard
Where mamma’s things used to be—
So it must be the clothes-press, gran’ma!”
And he found her with his Three.

Then she covered her face with her fingers,
Which were wrinkled and white and wee,
And she guessed where the boy was hiding,
With a One and a Two and a Three.

And they never had stirred from their places
Right under the maple tree—
This old, old, old, old lady,
And the boy with the lame little knee.
This dear, dear, dear, old lady,
And the boy who was half-past three.

2. But hiding may remind us of other things besides, a merry game. There is another kind of hiding—I wonder if you know it! It is an invisible kind of hiding—which sounds very Irish, but is none the less true.

Suppose you are at away from home or missing someone a lot, and a letter comes from mother or from a special friend. What do you do with that letter? You take it to your room and read over it till you know every word on every page; and then you put it away in the safest place you know, and at intervals you go and read it over again. You hide it in your heart.

And there are some people who do that with the words of the Bible, especially the words spoken by Christ. They hide them in their heart. Just as you, when you are away from home, would say, “I wonder what mother would think of this?” so those people are always saying, “What would Jesus do?”

Boys and girls, it’s a fine thing to carry about in your heart the words of those who love you and whom you love. Don’t forget to carry about also the words of Him who loves you even better than father or mother or friend. Hide His words safely in your heart.

3. But there is a third kind of hiding, and I’m sorry to say it is an unhappy hiding. It is the hiding of our text. It is the hiding of those who know they have done wrong. Adam and Eve hid themselves from God because they were afraid to face Him after what they had done. But they were like the tiny child who tries to hide from his mother by spreading out his hands in front of his face. They thought that a few trees could hide them from God’s all-seeing eye. But no one can hide from God. God is everywhere.

A little boy of five who was allowed to play on the road in front of his house began to wander farther and farther from home. His mother forbade it, but he persisted. At last one afternoon he was absent two hours, and when he returned his mother shut him into the nursery and told him he must stay there for the rest of the day. Tommy did not at all fancy the four walls of the nursery after the freedom of the streets, and he was very sad.

Later his mother went out and Tommy was left in charge of the maid. “Now is my chance!” thought Tommy. So when Mary arrived with his tea, Tommy coaxed, “You’ll let me out, won’t you, Mary? If you do, I won’t tell, and Mommy will never know.” But Mary refused, and when mother came in and heard the story she had a very serious talk with Tommy, and among other things she told him what Adam and Eve were to find out in the Garden of Eden —that we may hide things from people, but God always knows.

No, boys and girls, we cannot hide from God, but that need not make us frightened. All the time Adam and Eve were trying to hide, God was really speaking to them though they did not know it. He was talking to them by the small voice of their conscience. He was telling them they had done wrong, but all the time He was longing for them to come to Him to confess their sin and be forgiven. When you feel afraid of God is not the time to fly from Him. It is exactly the time to fly to Him. Because God loves you so that His heart is ever yearning for you.

But He can do nothing for you till you stop your hiding and go to Him. Remember that, the very next time you have done wrong. Do not try, like foolish Adam and Eve, to hide yourself from God’s sight. Take your sin to Him instead, and ask His help to wash its stain away. (The texts of the other two sermons in this series are Isa_32:2 and Isa_45:15)

Read more:
Genesis - Children's Great Texts Of The Bible by James Hastings