Yesterday, one of my children did something… mmmm… lets say "inappropriate". When I called out, I could hear the little footsteps running upstairs and then thudding under the bed. By the time I made my way there, my child had pulled down the blankets from the bed and had hidden behind them… buried under the bed. Out of sight. Except for the mess, the thudding footsteps, and the whimpering, I wouldn't have known where to find my guilty child.
Adam and Eve hid. When they defied God… and when God spoke… they covered themselves up and took off.
Peter hid. When he denied Jesus… and when Jesus spoke… he put his tail between his legs and scampered off.
When our conscious is guilty we struggle to listen to the one we've offended. When we have done wrong we struggle to remain in the open… we struggle to sit there and take what's coming to us. We feel angry, we feel sad, we feel disgusted, we feel embarrased, we feel afraid, we feel distant, we feel alone, we feel like running away and hiding. We don't feel like listening to the one we have wronged.
This is why the boy Samuel intrigues me so much. He runs to God. He runs to God so that he can listen to what God has to say. He runs right up to where God is and eagerly opens his ears to listen to God speak. There is no shame. There is no guilt. There is only freedom to run to God. Samuel ran to God.
Samuel's heart, his actions, his desires were pure. In 1 Samuel 3, Samuel replied, "Here I am, what do you need?" He replied, "Yes, Lord, your servant is listening." We learn that as Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him, and everything Samuel said was wise and helpful. God continued to speak to Samuel as he grew in stature.
Psalm 24:3-5 asks and answers: Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. They will receive the Lord's blessing and have right standing with God their savior. They alone may enter God's presence and worship the God of Israel. (NLT)
Hebrews 12:25 urges: See to it that you obey God, the one who is speaking to you.
And we're reminded that with God, we cannot run and hide: Nothing in all creation can hide from him. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes." (Hebrews 4:13) So why not be pure? Why do we avoid having a pure heart? Why do we chose to run and hide? We have Jesus, who understands our weaknesses… he lived among our wrongs… and he can see through our fascades. So let us run, not away, but to him… let us listen to his word. Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it. (Hebrews 4:14-16 NLT)