In Genesis 4 we find the story of Cain and Abel. It is a truly sad story because in these opening verses we see one brother murder the other. In the span of ten verses a family feud becomes so toxic it shatters a family.
This is the gist of the story. This is what happened in broad strokes. But, there is an element of the events chronicled in this chapter that has always caught me off guard. It is the question that God asked Cain after he killed his brother.
9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.
What strikes me as odd is that we all know that God knew exactly where Abel was. So, why did he ask? Why not just say, “Cain, I know what you did.”
I think it has to do with one of the most fundamental realities of God’s interactions with humanity. God has set up this system so that we can choose to relate to God or not. We can come to God because we desire to have that relationship or we can avoid it.
For several years my father has said, in one form or another, “The church is the only organization that requires its potential members to come to the front of the church and then have to declare to all present that they are completely messed up before joining.” There is no hiding from God. There is no place that we can go to escape God’s ability to see.
Kind David said as much. He had come to understand that trying to hide from God was a foolish endeavor.
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
After reading a passage like this we could become fearful. We could resent the fact that God is always present with us. Or, we could see this as a promise of hope. We could instead take the position that because God is there we have no need to hide. We will. But, we don’t have to.
As I look at this story and God’s question I wonder what we miss out on when we try to hide from God. Until we understand and accept that hiding from God is pointless we will continue to miss out on getting closer to God, growing more intimate with him. If we are hiding, it means that we are not out in the world seeing everything that God is doing. I don’t want to be like that. Do you?
What are some ways that you have seen people try and hide from God? Share in the comments below.