Monday, June 11, 2018

Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of June 10, 2018

Sermon: “Why Are You Hiding?”

Like many people, I have fond memories of playing games with friends and family.  When I was younger we used to get together with all the cousins and play all sorts of games.  There were no screens to captivate us, or technology to allure us.  We played tag, kick the can, lawn darts, catch, and the best game of all…hide and seek. 

We played that game for hours taking turns seeing who was “it”.  Counting to 100 and sometimes even calling out, “Apple, peaches, pumpkin pie, whose not ready holler I!”  There was a sense of excitement that was palpable.  ‘Would I be found?’ or ‘Will I find everyone?’, ‘Can I make it to “home base”?’, or ‘Will I be caught?’ 

I did I bit of a deep dive this past week looking into the game of Hide and Seek and I found some very interesting things. 

While the game has been played for years and is known throughout most of the world, it was only 8 years ago that the Hide and Seek World Championships began. 

I know, you’ve probably never heard of the Hide and Seek World Championships.  Neither had I.  They started in Italy in 2010 and pit national teams against one another. There is a scoring system and rounds of play and eventually a winner is crowned. 

It seems to be gaining some popularity because there was even a movement in Japan to make Hide and Seek a demonstration sport in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.  I’m not making this up! It seems like some people are pretty serious about their Hide and Seek games.

But what are you to do if you want to play Hide and Seek but you have no one to play with.  Well, enter Where’s Waldo books.  Perhaps you’ve seen them or spent hours with them. Where’s Waldo books are still popular books and they have a simple premise, to find Waldo.  The striped shirt explorer is hidden in elaborate scenes.  He has traveled around the globe and back into history, and often times it takes quite a bit of time to find him.

To be honest, I have spent lots of time with these books, perhaps because they are so easy to read…since they generally have no words.  But they are mesmerizing and so detailed that one could get lost seeking out all the nuances and interesting tidbits. 

Yes, the game of Hide and Seek has a long history, but it has not always been just a kid’s game. 

In our Old Testament lesson for today we see a very serious game of Hide and Seek.

“In the cool of the evening, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking around in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees in the garden. The Lord God called to the man and asked him, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden. I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”  God asked, “Who told you that you were naked?  Did you eat fruit from the tree I commanded you not to eat from?” The man answered, “That woman, the one you gave me, gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”  Then the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done?”  “The snake deceived me, and I ate,” the woman answered. (Genesis 3:8-13)

Now, I’m not certain that the fun game we play called Hide and Seek has its roots in this account from God’s Word, but what I do know is that this was no fun and games. 

Our first parents gave in to the sly and seductive words of the serpent and they forgot the life sustaining words of God and in so doing they found themselves in quite a spot.  Not really knowing what to do, they hid.  They were ashamed of what they had done, and didn’t want God to find them.  From this moment on, sin reared its ugly head and we continue to battle against it even to this day.  But it is not the first account of people hiding in the pages of Scripture.

When the Lord chose Saul to be king of Israel he selected a man that was a head taller than anyone else, who was experienced in battle, and a brave soldier.  But listen to how that all went down.  This is from 1 Samuel chapter 10, “When Samuel had all the tribes of Israel come forward, the tribe of Benjamin was chosen.  When he had the tribe of Benjamin come forward by families, the family of Matri was chosen. Then Saul, the son of Kish, was chosen. They looked for him but couldn’t find him.  They asked the Lord again, “Has he arrived here yet?” The Lord answered, “He’s hiding among the baggage.”” (1 Samuel 10:20-22)

The mighty king Saul was afraid and hid.

Saul is not the only one in the pages of Scripture who went into hiding:
·        David hid from Saul in a cave.
·        Jonah ran from what God wanted him to do hoping he would not be found
·        Peter tried to hide his identity as Jesus was on trial
·        The first Christians had to stay in hiding because they were being persecuted

What biologists might describe as fight or flight, we know all too well.  When things are not going the way we want, we too try to hide.  We hide from our God and from our fellow human not wanting anyone to see or to find us. 

Why are you hiding? 

Perhaps it’s that sin that you constantly find yourself entangled by.   That one that you cuts you to the core, that you know is wrong, but you find yourself doing again and again.

Perhaps you are trying to hide the pain you feel every day because you don’t feel like you are adequate enough or not skilled enough for the task. 

Maybe you are hiding from having that hard conversation with your loved ones because you know it will be hard. Or maybe you are simply trying to hide from God and perhaps He might not see what you are doing or so you don’t need to follow His word or His way. 

I don’t know what it is, but we all have something to hide.  Don’t try to deny it, but you know it’s true. If you are like me, and I think you are, there is something in your life that makes you want to hide, and never be found. But it is a futile attempt. Just like Adam and Eve in the garden, the Lord calls out, “Where are you?”

Listen to these words from the prophet Jeremiah, Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?" declares the LORD "Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?" declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:24)

There is no place you can hide from God. The Psalmist said it this way in Psalm 139,
“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways…
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 
(Psalm 139: 1-3; 7-8)

But if the thought of a divine hide and seek game starts to make you uncomfortable, I have good news for you.  For we have a God of Grace and Mercy who has a different plan.  His plan is about seek and hide.

Hide and seek brings about judgment, but seek and hide brings about peace and freedom. 

Hear the words of Jesus as he sat with the tax collector Zacchaeus, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)

Jesus’ mission was to seek the lost, by losing His life.  As He went to the cross He took the judgment that was meant for you and me.  The judgment we try to hide from has already been taken by Jesus.  In Jesus you are forgiven!

And then our Lord does something we find hard to believe.  He seeks us out, even in our sinful state.  He seeks us when we try to hide and when we feel our worst, not to condemn us, but to hide us. 

This is how the apostle Paul describes the divine seek and hide mission of Jesus, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:2-4)

This is no game, it’s serious.  This is not a book, but hope found in the page of a book where the Word made flesh, Jesus is on a seek and hide mission, to seek you out no matter where you are and to hide you in Himself to give you life. 

You are hidden with Christ in God every time you encounter His Word, every time you remember your baptism and every time you come to the table. As Jesus hides Himself in the ordinary things of water and wafer and wine, that bring forgiveness to you and in so doing you are hidden in Him, and you are His. 

The next time you want to hide from God, because of what you have done, remember that He will come to seek you and hide you in Christ to forgive your sin and so that you will be with Him forever in the ultimate home base called heaven.
-Pastor Seth Moorman


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Hit Counter