Hebrews 4:13 (NIV)
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Hebrews 4:13 (KJV)
Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

The New International Version of Hebrews 4:13 is much easier to swallow than the King James translation, since “uncovered” implies that if I get caught sinning, I can quickly pull a covering over me for safety. When you’re naked, however, that’s it; you’re nude, exposed, in the raw. Like the great Motown song says, “Nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide.” [1] Nudity makes people squirm, which is exactly what this verse does to the reader.

On the contrary, most young children love to run around naked. At one point or another, all three of our children have escaped from the bathtub, squealing with glee as they raced through our house. It reminded me of how some county fairs invite people to try catching a muddy piglet as it races through the pen. The audience roars with laughter as the poor contestant falls on his face in the mud. If these contenders really want a challenge, they should try catching a wet and naked toddler.

Our two year old, Nate, loves it when his clothes and diaper finally come off at the end of the day. He prances around like he has his own float in a parade and all that’s missing is the marching band. He so loves his newly found freedom that he starts screaming, “Nakey-Dakey! Nakey-Dakey!” which is Toddler-speak for “I’m letting it all hang out.” Somewhere between toddlerhood and late childhood, the appeal of public nudity vanishes (hopefully). We become aware of sin, and, like Adam and Eve after The Fall, start searching for the fig leaves. Before eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they were both naked, “and they felt no shame” (Gen. 2:25). After they had sinned, they “made coverings for themselves” (Gen. 3:7). Then they literally hid from God in the garden. Apparently, they should have eaten from the tree that taught never to play hide-and-seek when God is “IT.” As soon as sin entered the world, it was accompanied by the desire to hide that sin from God.

Young children have no reason to be ashamed; they can run with their bare biscuits to the wind and have no worries. By the time we reach adulthood, we have developed numerous areas in our lives to “cover up,” thanks to our sin nature. How many fig leaves would it take to hide our sins? Figuratively speaking, we have so much to conceal that we would be walking fig trees. But God gave us a Savior, Jesus Christ, who loved us enough to pay the price for those sins with his life. Interestingly, the Bible tells us that “love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8). Thank you, Lord, for covering us with love so that we do not have to wear those ridiculous-looking fig outfits.

We do not need to hide our sins from God; He sees everything anyway. I can only imagine what He was thinking when Adam and Eve tried to fool Him. With their cute little tree costumes, they must have looked ready to perform in a low budget elementary school play. The other day our daughter, Grace, decided to cover every inch of her easel with stickers. As soon as she realized her foolishness, she draped the easel with blankets and a large basket, in an attempt to hide the evidence. Sadly, the cover up brought even more attention to the wrongdoing. I can’t say that I blame her; adults are not much better in their efforts to hide sins.

It is too daunting to think that nothing is hidden from God, so we fool ourselves into thinking that He is only watching when we are being good. Somehow when we are about to sin, God miraculously has to take an emergency phone call from one of His angels. Okay, now that He’s distracted I can do whatever I want. Hey, if I can’t see God, then He can’t see me, right? The root of this theory forms during childhood, when we learn to hide our sins by hiring a “lookout.”

My career as a lookout began in early childhood. When my older brother and sister used to have boxing matches, my job was to stand in the corner and “be the bell.” At the start of each round, I would yell, “DING!” and they would attack each other. Since being a bell was only a part-time position and I had higher career aspirations, my other job was to watch out for Mom and Dad, who had already deemed boxing an “illegal” household activity.

Sometimes I was also the lookout during “War,” which was basically pelting each other with marshmallows and grapes from behind the trenches of the sofas. These battles were so intense that when my parents sold our home twenty years later, we found the casings of several “rounds” of what my siblings and I like to believe were remnants of either marshmallows or grapes. As the former lookout, I was extremely proud of myself that our shenanigans had remained a secret throughout the years.

In an odd role reversal, I was walking down the hallway the other day, when I heard my three year old proclaim, “Quick! Mommy’s coming!” I then heard our kids frantically scrambling to hide something, and by the time I had opened the door, all three of them were sitting primly in their chairs, each looking like the cat that swallowed the canary. “Wow,” I thought. “It’s payback time. One of my kids is now on the lookout for ME.” When you know your children well, it’s not hard to discover the mastermind behind the mischief–in this case, our three year old, Luke. I decided not to tell him that he needs to work on his stealth capabilities.

This amusing situation reminded me that all things are naked before God. Whom do we think we are fooling? Proverbs 15:3 tells us that “The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.” The “wicked man” in Psalm 10 says to himself, “God has forgotten; He covers his face and never sees.” [2] This man is in for a real shocker at the Judgment. If we become complacent about our sin, our pride can cause us to forget about God and the fact that He is with us always. It is difficult to focus on Him if we are too busy thinking about ourselves.

We do not need a lookout to help us hide our sins from God, but we need one to warn, “Careful! God is watching!” I contend that we do indeed have such a lookout who is watching our backs, and his name is Jesus Christ. Our Lord gives us the example of a righteous lookout, one who does not try to get us to hide our sins, but rather to eliminate them. He even warns us not to be caught off guard by his return:

Mark 13:33-37
(33) Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.
(34) It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door (the lookout) to keep watch.
(35) “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back–whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn.
(36) If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.
(37) What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!'”

In George Orwell’s novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four [3], everyone in society is under continuous and complete surveillance by the ruling party, led by Big Brother. The people are surrounded by huge telescreens and constantly reminded that “Big Brother is watching.” As if that isn’t scary enough, the Thought Police are also responsible for uncovering “thought-crimes.” Thankfully, our big brother, Jesus Christ, is watching us with a different motivation–love. He wants us to live our lives to the praise and glory of our heavenly Father. His prayer for us in John 17 reflects his beautiful heart of love for us all.

John 17:20b and 21
(20b) “…I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,
(21) that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

If we are to meet this goal of being one in purpose with Jesus and God, then we need to have integrity in our daily walk. Our lives and hearts are completely exposed to them at all times, not just when it is convenient for us. When we acknowledge God and Jesus throughout the day, we will be more aware of their watchful presence. We can make a more diligent effort to be holy and blameless, because we are, as Nate would say, “Nakey-Dakey” before them.


[1] “Nowhere to Run” by Martha and the Vandellas was released in 1965. Written and produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland under the Gordy record label.
[2] Psalm 10:11b
[3] Orwell, George, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Harcourt, Brace and Company, Inc., New York, NY, 1949.

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