This verse has always given me pause. Always.
It's not just these words though - it's the whole context - that the man and the woman had eaten from the forbidden tree - they'd seen that they were naked - they'd made themselves clothes to hide their nakedness ... and BOOM - God shows up.
It's the biggest possible version of that horror you felt as a kid when you heard your mom's car pulling in the driveway - and you knew you hadn't done the thing she asked you to do.
What gets me - is that though God knew what was going on - He showed up. He didn't boom thundery angry words at them out of some cloud. Instead He did what was - His thing. I love that coming to the garden to walk with the man and the woman in the cool of the day was His practice. I love that though He knew it was not going to be a good day - He came anyway - to be with them.
I love that God - having just made ... everything ... loves hanging out. I mean He exists in a manner that defies comprehension. He is omnipotently, and omnipresently there in every moment of every particle of the entire universe at all times with all omniscience about absolutely everything. He not only can comprehend infinity - but He can even step outside of it. He knows all that lies beyond infinity. And yet - among the many things He loves - is us. He still loved us even that day. This feels to me so - intimate and tenderhearted.
Listening to a lecture series by Dallas Willard last summer brought a startling truth into the light. Dallas as a side-note mentioned that he used to imagine that when the New Testament says in Romans 14:11 that "every tongue will confess" - this would because God would drag it out of them. I don't remember ever hearing that specifically - but that sounded like what I'd been taught one way or the other too. That makes God sound so mean. Dallas went on to say that really - it's that God, fully manifested in His full nature - would be so overwhelming - we'd have no more power to gaze on Him and not confess - than we do to fall into icy water and not gasp.
Of course - if we saw God in this way - even just once - we'd find our free-wills over-run - and our souls compelled to awe-filled confession. Oh man would we gasp. A lot.
God is however vastly more mindful of our free-wills than we are. We talk casually of "wishing" that people could do this, that or the other thing. God never does this. He instructs us about right and wrong - and then He lets us choose. He limits our power no more than He limits His own.
But He does hide Himself from us - so we can use our free wills to become curious - to draw closer to Him - to seek Him out. We cannot - hide ourselves from Him - as David spells out so beautifully in Psalm 139:7-12. "Where can I go from Your spirit?"
On that day in the Garden way back when - we hid ourselves from God. We hide still - and God waits for us to seek Him. He reveals Himself to us only as far as we are willing to subject our wills and come to Him. James 4:8 says "Draw near to God. He'll draw near to you." Of course - we draw near to Him because He is calling to us. He does this for us - for His love of us.