This morning as I added to my growing list of questions I’d like to ask God when I see him (“What do babies dream about?” Why love bugs — and fleas?” “What’s this coronavirus really all about?”), I remembered that God has questions of his own.
However, when God asks someone a question, he already knows the answer. Plus, his questions are asked to let people know he’s the one in charge.
In the early pages of the Bible, God goes into the garden for his nightly walk with the first man, Adam — and Adam’s hiding.
“Adam, where are you?” God asks. Adam replies, “I’m hiding — I’m naked.”
God asks another question: “Who told you that you were naked?” He doesn’t start the conversation with, “You blew it, Adam. You did the one thing I told you not to do.” Instead, his question allows Adam to come to the conclusion himself, that he’s guilty. I see it as a kindness, as the first real snapshot of the heart of God, the mercy of God to want reconciliation and relationship with his people, and that he makes the first move.
Last week my pastor’s sermon was about the prophet Elijah who had won a showdown with the priests of Baal by calling down fire from heaven that burned up a water-drenched sacrifice, proving that God was the only true God. After his big victory, he learned he ticked off the wrong person, the evil Queen Jezebel, who put a hit out on him. Elijah immediately started running for his life.
“He’s disappointed with God, he’s exhausted and he’s also self-absorbed,” the pastor said. “He thinks he’s the only one who’s following God and that God owes him.”
God comes to where Elijah is hiding and asks, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Then God feeds him, tells him to take a nap, and then he takes him to a mountain where there’s a hurricane-force wind, an earthquake and then a fire — and then a whisper from God telling Elijah that he’s not alone, that there are 7,000 others who follow God.
God had asked Elijah, “What are you doing here (in this place of despondency and despair)?” And to comfort him, he tells Elijah that he has a plan, so there’s no need to worry. He says that to us, too. He’s got this, whatever our “this” is. When Jesus came to Earth, he asked questions too.
To some blind men he asked, “Do you believe I’m able to do this?” and then healed them. To his disciples he asked, “Why are you so afraid (O ye of little faith)?” and then he calmed the raging storm. When a huge crowd of people were hungry, he asked these same disciples, “How many loaves of bread do you have?” and before their eyes he turned a tiny bit into more than enough to feed thousands.
He asked people, “What do you want me to do for you?” You can learn a lot about someone by the questions they ask. Me? I ask because I want answers. When God asks, it’s because he wants relationship and to show his great love for people.
What do you think about that?