When you were a kid, did your parents sometimes want time away from you when you got in trouble? Do you remember your mom or dad saying, “Just go to your room. I’ll tell you when you can come out.”
Are you grown, with kids, and sometimes want time alone? Do you ever get aggravated when they disobey you and feel like you do not want to be around them for a while?
When God made Adam and Eve, he spent time with them in the garden, walking and talking with them. He wanted to be around them. After they sinned, He still wanted to be around them. I do not know if I would have felt the same way if I were in the garden with them and they had a perfect track record for a time.
I may have said, “Just get away for a while. I can’t believe you did this after all this time!”
Obviously, I do not have the patience that God has. After they ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, God knew and still went looking for them toward the end of the day. He still wanted to maintain a relationship with them, even though He knew what they did.
In Matthew Henry’s commentary, he discusses the fact that “they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the cool of the day,” Gen.3:8, and points out that hearing the sound of Him signifies that He did not appear suddenly to scare them-they heard Him coming “at some distance, giving notice of His coming”. He also points out that God was walking-not running, stomping, flying on one of the frightening creatures we read about in Revelation, but” still willing to be familiar with them”.
The Lord’s approach was not meant to show power and terrify them but almost as a companion. What terrified them was their guilty consciences. I’ve found myself stomping, running, walking quickly, when I discovered one of the kids misbehaving-but that shows my fallacy as a human being-my lack of patience and humility-humility was not what I was focusing on, when I was so adamantly approaching; however, God walking calmly, as He always did, shows humility.
Matthew Henry also points out that the Lord’s” walking deliberately, as one slow to anger, teaches us that when we are ever so much provoked, not to be hot or hasty, but to speak and act considerately and not rashly”. This example shows so much self-control, we might think we are incapable of it; nonetheless, one of the fruits of the spirit is self-control-Gal.5:23. We CAN be capable of self-control, it just takes practice-and it might take years of practice-but we can do it. It took years of practice for me, and I am not a master at all, but my kids agree that my self-control is 90% better than it used to be.
In Matthew Henry’s text, he makes the point that God came “in the cool of the day” and not at night, when things are dark and more fearful, and not in the heat of the day, paralleling with not in the heat of His anger. He came in a peaceful manner, as He always had and they hid themselves for the first time, because instead of joy, they felt terror. That was not what He intended for them to feel but because of their sin, they were afraid of what He would do, when they had never had a reason to fear Him before.
A lot of times, I forget that God can be a good example for us to emulate because we look to Jesus, who was God in the flesh, and many other examples of fallible men, like Abraham, Moses, David, Daniel, Job. What about God? Can we not learn a great deal from examining His behavior, too?