This first half of Genesis 3:8 is quickly becoming one of my favorite verses:
"They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day..."God was physically present walking on the earth! You don't hear the sound of someone walking, unless they are treading the ground with their feet. The really great part is, not only was God present in a special way on earth, but man was there too, to hear it, and see and experience the blessing of the presence of God. This is heaven on earth is it not? What made the Garden of Eden paradise was not the temperate climate and abundance of fruit, it was God himself walking around, talking with his creatures face to face.
What I find myself longing for more and more is to be with God. Reconciled and now walking by faith, I want to be as near to God as I can. Earthly pursuits that are temporary and man-centered don't seem as alluring as they once did, not when we can walk with God, like Enoch and Noah in days of old (Gen. 5:24, 6:9). But what about not just walking with him and communing with him by faith as we do now, but by sight! That's right here in the passage. What if 2 Corinthians 5:7 were to be reversed?
When trying to explain the glory of heaven to unbelievers I have put it like this. If God were to show up and talk to you one day, face to face, and manifest His presence, you would never forget that. It would be life changing. Think of the Pevensie children meeting Aslan. How awesome Aslan was. His presence was overpowering, fearful and yet wonderful. When he showed up trees and flowery spirit beings would come to life and begin to sway and dance. His presence was their blessing, just as God's nearness is our good.
Let me ask you a question. Are you hungry for heaven? Do you long to be more with God?
--- --- ---
Now consider carefully the rest of the verse.
"... and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden."As much as we may think that being near God would bring blessing, Adam and Eve's experience was quite different. Adam didn't want to be near to God or experience the presence of God, at least, not anymore. Why? What had broken the euphoria? Why did he want to get away from God, when I'm saying the best thing in the world would be to be near God? Answer: he rebelled, and it led to fear. And did he ever have a right to fear! God had promised to kill him should he defy His one command. So he became afraid.
But reader, might I suggest to you that one of the worst parts of standing condemned, as Adam did, is not merely the horror of death and Hell (and yes, for all we know, Adam, the first man, went to Hell). No, what's worse is missing out on fellowship with the creator. Were man simply like the animals or the angels, the loss wouldn't be so bad, for animals don't have the same capacity to enjoy God that as we do, nor were even angels given the privileges of fellowship with God that we were given. But that's just it, man had it all... and lost it all. That is what is being shown here. Man's privilege is part of what makes his disobedience so sinful, and is also what makes the regret so painful.
--- --- ---
Where do you stand today, and what do you want, to walk with God, or to walk without him (perhaps even to run from him)?
Follow David's example:
He was a sinner that had a right to fear - (Ps. 51:4)
He found reconciliation in Christ - (Ps. 32:1)
He was restored to the privilege and desire of nearness to God - (Ps. 27:4)