O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever (1 Chr 16:34). Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church - Winnipeg, MB  
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    Rev. Cameron Schnarr

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Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church - Winnipeg, Canada
God Brings Us Out of Hiding

God Brings Us Out of Hiding

Based on Gen. 3:8-15

Preached on June 7, 2015


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In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

There is a magazine cartoon that shows a psychiatrist with his filled-up pad in hand saying to his patient, "Now, my friend, besides your fear of nerve gas, irritating tars, sonic boom, human wolf packs, rock music, Wall Street, DDT sprays, plastic bombs, the Birch Society, labor unions, riots, intercontinental missiles, urban sprawl, inflation, unemployment, Red China, street crimes, and revolving credit, do you have any IRRATIONAL fears?"

They had disobeyed God and they were afraid of what He might do to them. Their fears were real and quite rational. What do you do to hide from God? They jumped into the bushes because they didn't know what else to do. You can even picture them peeking through the branches and leaves, checking to see if God knew where they were. Maybe one turned to the other and gave an anxious "sush." He'll hear you! Their fear was real, soundly based and quite rational.

We tend to do ridiculous things when we try to hide from God, don't we? When God wanted Jonah to go to Nineveh to preach repentance to them, Jonah said, "I don't want to go there." "If I call them to repent, those Ninevites are just going to kill me. So Jonah got into a boat to sail to Tarshish on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea. He reasoned that surely God wouldn't find him in Tarshish.

David, on the other hand, Israel's King, in his guilt and shame, knew that there was no way that he could hide from God. He learned something by revelation that we all know to be true. "O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. 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!"

God is all knowing and He is present everywhere. He knows us better than we know ourselves and He sees deeper into us than we are able, or, even willing - to look. Like Adam and Eve, we play our games with God. We hide from Him. We bob and weave in a fruitless effort to escape His piercing eye and His angry judgment. And maybe worst of all, we pretend that we aren't as bad as we really are, or, that our sins, our failings, really aren't our fault.

A mother, leaving the house to go to town, told her little boy, "Johnny, while I am gone, don't get into the jam." "No, Mom, I won't," he promised. When she returned, she noticed jam between Johnny's fingers and in the corners of his mouth. "Didn't I tell you not to get into the jam, she said?" "Yes, Mother, you did." "Johnny, didn't I tell you that when Satan tempts you, you should tell him to get behind you?" "Yes, you did." "And I did tell him to get behind me, but, when he got there, he pushed me in."

As you are no doubt aware, a common technique for hiding from God is the "blame game." You know how it goes. Someone or something else made me do what I did. There is a reason, you see, so I'm not responsible. Someone else is. My parents were too strict. Or, maybe they were too permissive. We were poor. We were rich. We moved too much. We didn't move enough. I was the youngest. I was the oldest. Listen to me - and I will tell you all the reasons that made me sin.

Eve blamed the serpent. "He deceived me, and I ate," she said. Adam set his sights a little higher. "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." Did you hear that? "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." It was your fault God! If you hadn't given this woman to me, none of this would have ever happened. I didn't sin - you did. You should have known better than to give me such good things.

Our efforts to hide from God and our attempts to bob and weave to avoid His judgment are pretty astounding, aren't they? If we aren't blaming God or someone else for our sins, we are probably holding up our own supposed righteousness as a defense, trying to justify our sins with our perceived goodness. And the scary thing is, this is probably the greatest temptation for the children of God. Like Adam, the special, chosen One of God, we insist that it couldn't have been our fault because we are good - it must be someone else - even if that means its you Lord.

Many members of the Kansas House of Representatives were shocked by a prayer they heard at the opening of a session on Jan. 23, 1996. It included the following observations: "We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternate lifestyle, we have exploited the poor and called it the lottery, we have killed the unborn and called it choice, we have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem, we have coveted our neighbors' possessions and called it ambition, we have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression, we have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment." (Wichita Eagle, Wichita, Kansas, Jan. 24, 1996).

God, of course, doesn't accept our excuses and rationalizations any more than He accepted Adam and Eve's. He is not swayed by our reasons. Nor deceived by our justifications. Rather, He condemns the serpent, holds Adam and Eve responsible, holds us responsible, and then He promises that He, THAT HE, will make His creation right again.

Adam and Eve's rebellion caused death in the Garden. God sacrificed an animal. He took its skin and He clothed His children. He covered up their shame. However, Adam and Eve knew, as did God, that their shame went deeper than their nakedness. It pierced the very depths of their souls, it left them continuously wondering about this God who wanted to be a part of their lives, it left them wondering if they could ever be good enough for Him to love them again.

But right from the moment He came calling to them, seeking them where they hid and acting to cover their shame, God did not leave them alone with their reasons, and their justifications, and their proofs. God did love them. And He would offer another sacrifice, one that would cover the shame and the guilt that pierces the soul. "I will put enmity between you and the woman (God said to the serpent), and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."

The seed of the woman, God's Son, even Jesus, has made creation new again, because He has born the sins of the world in His own body! He has not left it up to you to give Him a reason to love you - He has made Himself the reason.

My friends, this is a profound mystery. Jesus became your guilt! He became your shame! It is not yours any longer. God hid His face from His Son because He became too hideous, too stained, too sinful to even look at Him. Jesus cried out! He wanted His Father to see Him, to be with Him, to help Him in the hour of His greatest need. "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me!" But, "God's eyes are too pure to behold evil." His Son would die forsaken, for He became the embodiment of evil to save you from it.

The first light of Easter morning revealed the smiling face of God. For the tomb of Christ was empty. His sacrifice was accepted. And risen, He lives for all, as the permanent reason - the eternal justification you need. Yes, God is just, and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. He dwells with His creation again. Indeed, "where two or three are gathered together in His name, there is He in the midst of them." He calls you out of hiding to come and commune with Him, to partake of the body and blood of His Son. Blame and pretenses are set aside at this altar, for here He makes things right again. Your shame is taken away. Here the same flesh and blood that embodied evil on your behalf is placed within you to give you a righteousness that is not your own - one that has cancelled your debt - one that lasts forever - one that you cannot ruin. Here God gives you His own righteousness.

In giving you His Son, God comes down to be with you and to commune with you. In Him, your fear of judgment, your hiding, your bobbing and weaving is IRRATIONAL. What is rational is what's real, God's grace poured out for you. So, hide no longer - but kneel before the One who calls to you - for the sole reason He has come is to find you and make you His.

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.



Rev. Cameron Schnarr