Do you remember playing hide and seek with your friends when you were a kid? You would close your eyes, count to 100 (which was supposed to give your friends enough time to find a good hiding spot), and then you would try to figure out where they were by thinking of all the good spots you would hide if you were them! The problem is that most of the time we didn’t think like our friends and the game would end with the call, “Where are you?!”
As I continue to re-read the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans, it has occurred to me that, before we were saved, we played hide and seek with God. Of course we did the hiding. That is what unsaved man does best and we have had a lot of practice at it! The hiding started with our first parents, Adam and Eve, and went on through all mankind, throughout all of history. You remember the storyline: Genesis 3:8 tells us that after Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden, they hid themselves from God. It says, “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.” My question is: What made them think that they could hide from God? In all fairness to them, although they were very intelligent, they were not all knowing. They probably didn’t know that there was no escaping the presence of God. But that is what we do before God comes looking for us. The Apostle Paul quotes from Psalms 14 and 53 saying, “As it is written, None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.” (Romans 3:10 ESV)
Isn’t it great to know that Jesus Christ is the Seeker of the hidden? Luke tells us that Jesus’ mission was to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). But that is where the rub comes in. By nature, we would rather hide from God, than to yell out to Him. You might be wondering whom we hide from God and, that is a good question that needs to be answered. Let me try to answer it with at least four ways we hide from God before Jesus seeks us out:
First, we hide from God by ignoring the evidence of His creative power that proves that He is Omnipotent (that is, all-powerful). Turning back to Romans we read, “For His invisible attributes, namely His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20 ESV) Those who are without excuse are those who are the lost and ignore the evidence of His creative power. There are some who have come to the proposition that there must be an “intelligent designer,” but they are still an eternity away from the truth if they ignore the fact that He has a name—Jesus Christ.
Second, the unsaved man hides from God by making light of God’s Son Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ should be considered as much of God’s special revelation as the written Word of God. Yet unsaved people make light of Jesus Christ and His mission on earth by equating Him as a good teacher, a social prophet for human reform or worse, or as just a man. Yet in Jesus’ own words He has said that, If we have seen the Son, we have seen the Father and that Father and Son are One. (John 14:9; John 10:30). It would appear that with the deluge of Scriptures that point to the deity of Christ, that one would take serious the truth claims of Christ and not make light of Him. However, it is one more way unsaved man continues to hide from God.
Third, man hides from God through self-gratification. This is especially true in America where men and women alike are caught up in a pleasure-seeking society. Self-gratification is the name of the game, and the games are plentiful! Drugs, alcohol abuse, and sexual immorality may be at the top of the “sin chart,” but unsaved mankind has gotten good at hiding from God in a cornfield of pleasure that might even appear to be innocuous. Which one of us would cry, “Foul!” to those who are drawn to a Saturday tee time at the local golf course? Yet the pleasure of this wonderful sport (disclaimer: I don’t think golf is all that wonderful all the time) can hide a man from God as quickly as a drunken stupor. The problem is that no matter what the pleasure is, it will only last a season (even if the season lasts a lifetime). Hebrews 11:25 tells us that, “. . . Moses chose to give up the fleeting pleasures of sin.” Here is a man who understood that, compared to eternity, sinful pleasures on earth are passing away, do not fill the void, and cannot bring true joy and happiness. Yet, unsaved man drowns himself in a sea of pleasure, and thinks he can hide from God.
Lastly, man hides from God by refusing to acknowledge God’s moral law which points to his fallen, lost state. We live in a society that believes in religious pluralism. Basically it is defined as: “the acceptance of all religious paths as equally valid, promoting coexistence.” Fundamentally it is the way we look at how we define truth. The greater majority of our society believes that truth cannot be known and that, what is true to you, might not be true at all. It is just your perception of what you “think” is true. Yet Jesus said that prepositional truth can be known and that He was the perfect and exact representation of truth (John 14:6). Yet this law of truth is refused to be acknowledged by those who hide themselves in their intellectual, elitist philosophy. They hide themselves in a jungle of secular education always learning, but never coming to the knowledge of truth (2 Tim. 3:7). They will never have a handle on truth until they see God’s law pointing out their lost state and directing them to the Person of Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, let’s stop playing hide and seek with God! To say it another way, stop playing games with God! Go ahead and hide if you will, but remember this: God is the “First Cause” in the Law of Seeking. It was in college where I first learned that there is a first cause for everything, a reaction to every action (another disclaimer: I probably was taught the law of first cause in high school but I was out that day). We see that God was the First Cause with His children Israel. When Abraham (our forefather) was still living like a pagan, hiding as it were from God, God called him out by faith as the Scriptures say, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” (Romans 4:3) We see that God was the First Cause with the Gentiles. As happy and blessed as I am to know that God didn’t overlook His people Israel (and I am very pro-Israel), I am totally elated that God didn’t overlook the Irish, (oops! I mean Gentiles. Sorry can’t help myself!) As a matter of fact, Gentiles are grafted into the Israeli Olive Tree. Romans 11:17 says, “But if some of the branches were broken off (some Jews), and you although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree…” The fact is that God sought us out even while we were His enemy by reconciling Himself to us through His Son Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:10) You cannot get any more First Cause than that.
The reality is that God is always the Divine Seeker when it comes to His greatest creation. He seeks us through the gospel message, the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, and the witness of those who are faithful at sharing the only message of hope that exists. Hide if you will, but at some point in your life YOU WILL BE FOUND OUT!
The question still remains: Are you still playing the game hide and seek with God? Don’t you think it is time to stop playing games?… I hear God coming.