- Rick LoPresti
Come out, come out, wherever you are
When Adam and Eve sinned, they discovered they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together and made aprons to cover themselves (Gen 3:7). The Hebrew word translated aprons here means belt or loin cloth. Although today's standards for being fully clothed are quite low, their aprons fell short as a covering. Also, they would not have lasted very long, since the leaves would soon have withered. Then when God came into the garden in the cool of the day, Adam and Eve hid themselves (Gen 3:8). They actually thought they could hide from God, as though He did not already know what they did or would not be able to see them. We are all descendants of Adam and Eve, and we do the same thing (Job 31:33, Rom 5). We foolishly think we can cover up what we did. Even worse, instead of going to God, we try to hide from him. Achan tried to hide his sin to no avail (Josh 7:21). The people go must go through what is called the tribulation period described in the book of Revelation will try both of these things while knowing that the horrible events occurring are the judgments of God. They will refuse to repent (Rev 9:20-21, Rev 16:9-11), and they will try to hide from God (Rev 6:15-17). God already provided the means for our forgiveness when He came in the flesh and died for us (Jn 3), but it only applies to us individually when we obey the gospel (Acts 2:37-38, Acts 5:32, Heb 5:9, 1Pet 4:17). God does not require us to somehow fix our own sins. That is impossible. Yet He does require us to repent, confess, and forsake them (Lk 13:3-5). "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy (Prov 28:13)."
There is also another way we try to hide from God. When God calls us to deeper relationship or more responsibility, sometimes we hide from it because we know we are not good enough in ourselves, and because we know there is a greater price to pay in sacrifice, obedience, and denial of self. When Moses' mother saw her son was special, she hid him (Ex 2:2). When God called Gideon to be the deliverer of Israel from the Midianites, he was hiding from them as were his countrymen (Jud 6:2 & 11-12). When God called Saul to be the first king of Israel, he hid himself among the stuff (1Sam 10:22). When Israel needed someone to stand up to the Philistines, everyone hid (1Sam 14:11, 1Sam 17:24). When the resurrected Jesus appeared on the shore to some of the apostles, Peter jumped out of the boat (Jn 21:7). We should not let fear rule us generally, but we especially do not need to fear when God is calling us. It is normal to feel inadequate. The greatest men in the Bible did, including Abraham (Gen 18:27), Moses (Ex 4:1, 10-13), David (1Sam 24:14, 1Sam 26:20), Peter (Lk 5:8), and Paul (1Cor 15:9, 1Tim 1:15) made statements of humility and unworthiness. However, God called and equipped all of these men as He does us. God does not set His people up for failure. If something is the will of God, then He knows how to supply its needs. Also, God defines success and failure differently than man. If we obey the word and will of God, that is success regardless of how circumstances beyond our control turn out (Josh 1:7-9).
Sometimes when people are afraid to "get out of the boat (Mt 14:22-34)", they consciously or even unconsciously sabotage themselves in order to "disqualify" themselves. While it is possible to miss the will of God through disobedience and failing to properly position ourselves to receive it, the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (Rom 11:29). God does not change His mind about His plan for us. He is patient and forgiving. He also has contingencies whereby He accounts for our mistakes. This is not to give license to sin, but it is to encourage us to know that errors don't always automatically disqualify us from the will of God. We don't need to hide from God when He is calling us. We just need to respond in faith that He would not call us to something He would not equip us to do. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2Tim 1:7)." Our first calling is to be Christians, which is already beyond our own ability to fulfill. If we have already embraced that calling, then all we need to do is continue in the same faith that started us on the journey.