So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves and made loincloths for themselves. They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
Children used to get excited when their parents came home from work, the market or any other place they go out to get away from the children temporarily. They would run and hug and cling to their parents, which would go on for a few minutes at least. Another side of the picture would be they’d hide behind the doors (which for them is the safest place to hide) if they do something wrong. Here is a man and his wife hiding just as the children do as if God could not see. God in his regular routine came to visit the garden and of course to meet Adam and Eve. It must have been a pleasant meeting on other days, but this particular day to hear the sound of God walking and approaching them must have been the most fearful moment for this couple who realised that they had sinned against God. In direct disobedience to God, they had eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And therefore, they hid from the presence of God amongst the trees of the garden. Adam gave the excuse to God that he was keeping himself concealed because of his nakedness and that he was ashamed. He did not seem to confess that he was hiding, rather he said he was trying to cover his nakedness.
When you know you have done something wrong against God it is difficult to come to the presence of God. The guilty conscience cannot bear to be in the presence of God and therefore tries to withdraw from the open space, trying to hide from the all-seeing eyes of God. That is what our separation from the abiding presence of God does to us. When we do not belong to God, we fear the presence of the Highest and for this reason in the New Testament we find therefore that, for example, the Gergesenes “besought that Christ would depart from their coasts (Matthew 8:34). As believers in God, let us live a life that always longs for the presence of God as the Psalmist has rightly written, As the deer pants for the water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet God (Psalm 42:1-2).
O God, how lovely and pleasant it is to be in your presence. Make us worthy of your presence by being righteous and holy. Help us to create a place where there is no reason to hide from you or from each other. Give us the courage to acknowledge the sins that we have committed against you and those around us. In Jesus’ name, Amen
Dr Bendanglemla Longkumer, Senior Lecturer in Theology and Ethics at Pacific Theological College in Fiji Islands, South Pacific