I just read an interesting article in The New York Times titled “ ‘Big Brother’? No, It’s Parents.” It talks about the increasing ability and frequency with which parents are tracking their children’s online movements: who they meet, what they do, what they write, and even—incredibly—what they write.
Pen Mightier Than the Sword
If we have reached the level of sophistication in which somebody can do this, why would we be surprised that God has the ability to not only record our actions and our words, but more important: record the deepest, darkest, most private thoughts, intentions, and motivations of our hearts? Jesus said, “I promise you that on the day of judgment, everyone will have to account for every careless word they have spoken. On that day they will be told that they are either innocent or guilty because of the things they have said” (Contemporary English Version, Matthew 12:36, 37). Jesus was talking about the judgment found in Revelation 20:11-15, which will happen for everybody who’s ever been alive on this earth.
The prophet Ezekiel, in the Old Testament book named after him, tells an incredible account of a vision he had. In chapter one he writes about seeing four living creatures with faces on all four sides of their heads. These creatures were moving in every direction. They had beside them a wheel within a wheel that had rings of eyes all around it, and they could move as quickly as lightning or sparks from a fire. What God allowed Ezekiel to see, essentially, represented God’s system of ever-present communication with His angels, who follow His commands and bring Him information. Big Brother is always watching.
King David, in Psalm 139:7-18, asks the question “Where could I go to escape You God?” (see verse 7). By the end of the passage he realizes that God is everywhere and knows everything. You can’t fool God. Big Brother’s always watching. God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present. We can’t hide anything from God. But this begs the question: why would we want to? If we’re in a right relationship with Him, what have we got to worry about? Well, the only answer I know is simply: sin.
We find in the first book of the Bible a story that’s got some disturbing and sad firsts: the first sin in the world, the first experience of the emotion of fear, and the first excuse—all wrapped up nicely for us in Genesis 3.
First, let’s look at some background. God had finished creating the earth and everything in it: nature, animals, the Garden of Eden, and people. He took a well-deserved day off on Sabbath. Genesis 3 opens with Satan taking control of a snake. He ultimately lies to everybody and causes the first sin. They realize that they’re naked (a physical state they’ve never experienced before) and are ashamed (a negative emotion they’ve never experienced before). This causes them to make the first clothes. That’s where we pick up the story:
Late in the afternoon a breeze began to blow, and the man and woman heard the Lord God walking in the garden. They were frightened and hid behind some trees. The Lord called out to the man and asked, “Where are you?” The man answered, “I was naked, and when I heard you walking through the garden, I was frightened and hid!” “How did you know you were naked?” God asked. “Did you eat any fruit from that tree in the middle of the garden?” “It was the woman you put here with me,” the man said. “She gave me some of the fruit, and I ate it.” The Lord God then asked the woman, “What have you done?” “The snake tricked me,” she answered. “And I ate some of that fruit” (Genesis 3:8-13).
Objection! Asked and Answered!
God knew what caused them to sin, what they did, how they felt, and why they were scared. But like a caring, compassionate parent who’s motivated by a loving relationship, He tried to draw out His children’s deepest motivations and emotions, by asking them what He already knew. The responses he got from Adam and Eve were initially honest about how they felt. But that’s where the honesty stopped. They didn’t take responsibility for their behavior and blamed everybody—even God! Sound familiar?
In one fell swoop Adam and Eve went from being God’s friends to being His enemies. They went from daily walking and talking with God to being ashamed, afraid of Him, and hiding from Him . . . and we humans have been hiding from God ever since. In the end God had to separate Adam and Eve from Himself. Sin always separates.
But first (another first) He kills an animal in order to give them clothes to wear made from the skins of that dead animal. This serves as a painful and unforgettable reminder of the logical consequences of sin: something had to die because of their sin. The death of this animal also represented the death of Jesus in our place, so we could be clothed in His perfect robe of righteousness, restoring us to a right relationship with Him, a relationship in which we no longer have to be ashamed and scared of God, but can “come boldly to the throne of our gracious God” (New Living Translation, Hebrews 4:16).
What God Really Wants
So are you joyful and bold in God’s presence? Are you comfortable with Him watching your every move, knowing your every thought and motivation? Or are you ashamed, scared, and trying to hide from Him? Either way, He knows you and still loves you.
Don’t make excuses or blame God for your behavior. Repent and confess of your sin right now. Remember, Big Brother’s always watching, but He’s not out to get you—He’s out to get your heart.