Cool of the Evening

WALKING WITH GOD. No.2

Gen 3:8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the cool of the day.

This is the first walk in the Bible. It is God walking in the Garden of Eden. What a beautiful picture. The day is coming to an end, dusk is approaching and the heat of the day has gone. The garden is God’s creation for Adam and Eve to enjoy and the sense is that, perhaps, each evening the Lord came to meet with them, to relax with them at the end of an eventful day. Perhaps the day before Adam might have shared with the Lord, “Lord, I’ve been showing Eve the elephants down at the riverside. Amazing!” Another evening she might have shared, “Lord, we tried bananas today for the first time. Really good!” Here they were in this God-given environment of plenty and pleasure, and the Lord would drop in to say hi, and see how they were getting on. Of course that was for their benefit because, being God, He knew everything and knew how they were getting on. A lovely picture!

Except on this day it wasn’t so lovely because this day had been different. This day Satan had turned up and the two had done what God told them not to do, and of course God knew about it – indeed He knew about it before it happened, for later in the Bible we’re told that the Godhead had planned Jesus’ coming to deal with the effects of this sin, even before They made the world. Oh yes, God knew it would happen but He still gave them free will to choose to listen to Satan or reject him. God knew the consequences and had planned accordingly.

So this evening was different. Adam and Eve had changed and God knew they had changed – but they didn’t know that He knew, so they hid when they heard Him coming. Now there’s an interesting thought, they heard Him coming! Was He calling their names, or was He singing? Whatever it was, He let them know that He was coming, perhaps to see how they would respond or, more importantly, (for He knew how they would respond!) for us to see how they would respond. They responded with fear, guilt, self-awareness and self-justification, all new experiences!

What a two-sided picture we have here. First of communion with the Lord at the end of the day, a relaxing, informal, chatty time of sharing the events of the day, but then, second, a time of defensive guilt and broken relationship.

For many non-Christians, those who don’t believe in a personal God, the thought of God turning up to chat is a fearful thing. There is the fear of being told off. Instinctively so many know they are guilty and want to ‘hide’ from God. Then there are the Christians. These are people who have been ‘hiding’ all through their lives until they came to a point of desperation (conviction) that an encounter with God, as painful as it might be, was something that was better than carrying on with that sense of constant guilt and shame.

They came out of hiding and faced God and received, to their amazement, His forgiveness through the work of Jesus Christ. Then, gloriously, they entered into a phase where it seemed that God was great to be with, a loving heavenly Father who would listen to their child-like chatterings in prayer. Walking with God in the cool of the evening was pure delight.

But then came failure. Somewhere you blew it and knew it! Suddenly you felt bad and wanted to hide away from God. It took a while to find 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.We learnt that forgiveness wasn’t just for the beginning of the walk; it also comes at intervals along the way.

With the years we come to learn that God knows, so why try to hide the failure. The more we realized this, the faster we confessed. It still hurt, there was still shame, but we came to learn that we could still walk with the Lord in the cool of the evening after the events of the day, and pour out to Him the good, the bad, and the ugly! No longer need we hide, we realized, because He knows, so let’s face Him, let’s receive again the cleansing achieved by the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. Let’s walk with Him in the cool of the day. How wonderful!

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