You may know that Jenny and I love the “Bush”. Apart from the mountains, animals, birds, insects, wild flowers and open fields, there are trees and shrubs and often long grass. One of the fascinating things about the bush is that during the summer the trees and shrubs are all green. You can’t see through them. Maybe I could say … “the thicket is dense”. That’s the bush at its very best. During the winter much of the leaves dry and fall off. Then visibility is far better. As I was thinking about the bush and trees, I thought of four specific trees mentioned in the Bible that I would like to consider over a few days in a pointed and applicatory manner.
A Tree to Hide Behind
This is very easy to picture. You don’t even need to be in the bush. Trees can protect you from being seen by others. Hiding away, behind a tree, be it playing “hide and seek” or for protection is easy to picture. There is another way a tree can be used as a hiding place and that is hiding because you don’t want to be seen or caught because you did something wrong. Take Adam and Eve. You’ll recall how God gave Adam that Probationary Command
Ge 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
The command was not to eat for when you do you will die. Man was created to live forever in God’s company, doing His will and exercising full obedience and submission. The Creator dictates the relationship because He knows best. Then, God’s enemy, the serpent (the devil), approaches Eve. Remember the Probationary Command was given to the man not the woman because the man was created first and was functionally head over the woman. The serpent knew that if he could trick (deceive) the woman, she would be his agent to cause the man … God’s appointed head to fall. Look at his subtle deceitful approach
Ge 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
The enemy got the woman to undermine God’s authority and Lordship saying to the women … “you will be like God”. She influenced her husband to sin, and his sin became the force that caused original sin … and guilt. Once they had eaten … once they sinned by following the enemy … the Probationary Command was broken and the promised results would follow!
Gen 3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Their sin made them aware of rebelling against a holy God. They now lost their innocence … they knew there was such a thing as sin … now they knew they were naked … now they were afraid … one of the first fruits of sin. They made clothes to wear to hide their nakedness … from each other, from the enemy … but especially from God, their Father and Creator! Wearing clothes was because they knew what would happen:
Ge 3:8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
God would visit them (most likely in the shape and form of a theophany … God visiting man in the form of the Angel of the Lord or the Pre-incarnate Christ). They knew He visited and they expected His visit and soon they heard someone (God) walking in the garden.
His walk would be so different in sound to that of the animals. They hid amongst the trees. They hid from God. They hid from their Creator, their Lord, their Owner. Where before the intimate fellowship was sweet, longed for, exhilarating and needed … now they could not face God. Why … because they knew they sinned. I don’t think they realized the magnitude of their sin. For Adam he became the representative sinner. He substituted in the place of all humans. He sinned in our place and his sin affects all humans born. The filth he felt, the degradation he experienced, the fear, the guilt … was so huge, so wicked, so devilish … that trees became the maize to prevent God from getting to them. The trees became their hiding place … so they thought!
Ge 3:9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
As God, He knew exactly where they were and what they had done. Yet He extracts information from these sinners … calling out … “Where are you?” Look at Adam’s response … “I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” He knew he had sinned … he tried to hide amongst the trees and could not! God is omniscient! He sees and knows all things! Nothing is beyond His penetrating x-ray vision.
Ge 3:11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
Caught; Convicted and Condemned!
Amongst what trees are you hiding from God? Why are you hiding? Have you done something wrong? Have you sinned? Are you trying to prevent God from finding out or seeing what you did or where you are right now? He knows who you are. He knows what you did. He knows where you are. And that’s a good thing. You cannot hide from God. There is no place … think of Jonah! The fact that you feel guilty and even rotten is a good thing. This means your conscience is working well. You are under conviction. The dirty, filthy feelings … the guilt … means you know and are aware you have sinned against a holy God and need to come clean so that instead of doing what He did to Adam (expulsion from His presence), He might forgive you and cleanse you and make you His very own. And if you have backslidden … through repentance He will pardon and receive you back, lovingly!
Dear God, thank You that You see everything, even my hiding from You. Mercifully pardon my sin. Restore me. Lord, if someone reads this Note and realizes their desperate need of salvation, please save their soul. Amen.