208 – PLAYING HIDE-AND-SEEK
Poor Adam! He thought he could hide from Jehovah among the trees of the garden. He was found out, accused, punished, and disgraced forever—he and his descendants (Gen. 3:8). In this game of hide-and-seek, things are serious and fatal. “Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, “You shall not eat from it”: Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; you shall eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust” (Gen. 3:17-19). “Then Jehovah God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever’—therefore Jehovah God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken” (Gen. 3:22-23). What was promised was death, not torture and flogging.
Another striking case was the case of king David, the dear one of Jehovah. David had thirty-seven strong men in his army, all of them men of renown, true giants in the art of killing. His story can be found in 2 Sam. 23:8-39. One of them, named Uriah, was married to an extremely beautiful woman. They were neighbors, and David felt terribly attracted to the woman of Uriah, who used to bathe in the sun, near the terrace of the royal quarters, right in front. David did not hesitate. He sent his armies led by Joab to destroy the sons of Ammon, and remained back home. He went for a walk on his terrace, in the afternoon. The Diva soon appeared, beautiful and exuberant whose name was Bathsheba. Sentimentally off-balance, he sent for her. They brought her to him. David lay with her, with the condition that the son that would be born would be the king of Israel. David pledged it, blinded by carnal pleasure. Bathsheba got pregnant. David, to try and escape from a scandal, sent for Uriah, who, being forced to lie with his wife, refused two times. The king, then, planned his death, sending him back to the front of the battle: Uriah died, and David married the adulterous woman. It seemed like all was well. David hid behind a crime to sanction the adultery. Jehovah sent the prophet Nathan to accuse David’s sin. Like Adam, the descendants of David were struck by terrible curses. We should note that Jehovah, the god of curses, announced them (2 Sam. 12:9-12). Jehovah killed the son of this abominable sexual union (2 Sam. 12:14-20). Jehovah placed a morbid passion in the heart of Amnon for his sister Tamar. This man, blinded by passion, defrauded his own sister. David had many women. Amnon was the son of Ahinoam, and Tamar was the daughter of Maacah (1 Chr. 3:1-2). This was a scandal in the royal house.
Absalom, the brother of Tamar, killed Amnon, the firstborn of David (2 Sam. 13:23-29). Then, according to the word of Jehovah in 2 Sam. 12:11-12, Absalom took ten concubines of his father David and violated them in public. “So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and Absalom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel” (2 Sam. 16:22; 20:3).
Before Christ, no one escaped the vengeful hands of Jehovah, which declared by the mouth of Jeremiah, the prophet, “‘Can a man hide himself in hiding places, so I do not see him?’ declares Jehovah. ‘Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?’” (Jer. 23:24).
There is one other side to the same issue. When Jehovah wished to use someone for a specific task, even if this person did not want to do it, he was forced to obey. When Israel asked the prophet Samuel for a king, Jehovah chose Saul (1 Sam. 10:1). Saul did not want to be king and hid among the baggage. Jehovah cast out lots among the people and Saul was picked and could not escape (1 Sam. 10:17-24). Another case was that of the prophet Jonah. This prophet did not obey the command of Jehovah to go and preach in Nineveh, capital of Assyria, against their sins. Jonah took a ship headed for Tarshish, went down to the hold of the ship, and slept soundly. Jehovah prepared a violent storm. Seeing that the ship was going to go under, the crew cast lots to see whose fault it was. The lot fell on Jonah, who was thrown to the sea and a great fish swallowed him. Three days and three nights later the fish vomited Jonah close to Nineveh. And Jehovah commanded: Go to Nineveh and preach against their sins. Jonah went, for no one can escape the hands of Jehovah (Jon. 1:1-5; 1:11-17). There’s no one who can hide from the hands of Jehovah (Jer. 49:10; Amos 9:2-3).
But Jehovah also likes to hide. When an Israelite is in trouble and anguish, Jehovah hides from him (Ps. 10:1). But it is in trouble that man seeks God. A thief was crucified beside Jesus. His soul was in deep depression and anguish. He was an evildoer. He looked at Jesus and said, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And Jesus answered him, “Today you shall be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:42-43). Jesus did not hide from that evildoer in his time of trouble. The time of trouble is God the Father’s opportunity to reveal his love. Jehovah does exactly the opposite.
Israel sinned in the desert, before entering into Canaan, by offering sacrifices to the devils (something they had learned in Egypt). Jehovah said, “I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end shall be; for they are a perverse generation, sons in whom is no faithfulness” (Deut. 32:17-20).David committed adultery, and sought Jehovah in repentance, but this god hid his face from David (Ps. 13:1). David, old and tired, was still pleading: “Do not hide Thy face from me” (Ps. 143:4-7).Jehovah hid also from Jacob (Israel) (Is. 8:17).
Jehovah declares the reason why he hides from men: “Turn to my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit upon you; I will make my words known to you. Because I called, and you refused; I stretched out my hand, and no one paid attention; and you neglected all my counsel, and did not want my reproof; I will even laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, when your dread comes like a storm, and your calamity comes on like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come on you. Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they shall not find me, because they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of Jehovah” (Prov. 1:23-29). How does Jehovah hide himself?
“He made darkness His hiding place” (Ps. 18:11). And what is darkness? Darkness is all kinds of evils. Jesus said, “Men loved the darkness, rather than the light; for their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). Hatred is darkness (1 John 2:11).
Now, Jehovah practices evil, therefore he is in darkness. “Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you” (Jer. 18:11). And he is hidden in darkness because the Christians glorify him as if he were in the light, that is, doing what is good. Jesus gave his life for lost sinners; this is why he is the light who saves(John 1:9; 8:12; 12:46).
by PASTOR OLAVO SILVEIRA PEREIRA