“Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said, Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it. Then Job answered the LORD, and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.” Job 40:1-5
Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How? These are the questions that we ask when we do not understand, but desire knowledge about a given subject. Believe it or not, as humans, we are fallible and do not know everything! Now don’t go telling anyone this or they may end up with a low sense of self-esteem, but even scientifically speaking we fall so far short of what we think we understand. For instance, we once thought that we were the only galaxy in the universe, but since the advent of the Hubble telescope we now understand that we are merely one of billions of galaxies in an ever expanding universe. Does that make you feel small? Don’t worry, it’s natural. Many times it seems when we think we are beginning to get close to understanding a subject, we find we have so much more to learn.
Conversely, our Heavenly Father is much different than us. His ways are so much higher than our ways! Anyone who believes in God must also accept that He is omnipotent, or all powerful; omniscient, or all knowing; and omnipresent, or everywhere at once. So then, why would he ask us questions? Why would Almighty God, the Creator of the Universe, come down to our level and deign to inquire of us? There are many examples of our weaknesses in the Bible evidenced by the questions we have asked as fallible humans. For instance, Isaac, the father of Israel who was deceived into giving the birthright to the wrong son had questions for his firstborn son, Esau:
“And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed.” Genesis 27:33
Isaac was but a mere man, so what did he know? Isaac, being fallible, was deceived. But, the very God of heaven, the All Knowing, has some questions to ask of us. It is irrefutable: throughout the Bible, God asked questions.
Today, we will use the English language Bible. Firstly, we must resolve that God’s Word was preserved to all generations according to scripture. Psm.12:6-7 clearly says He would “keep them” and “preserve” them for us. Then, if we trust God at His Word, we can look at the history and find out that God perfectly preserved His Word in English through King James’ Bible from the Koine Greek text from Antioch, through Erasmus’ underlying Greek,Textus Receptus. If we look to understand more about the types of questions God asked as we have translated in English, we need to know more of what an English question is. Questions are also known as interrogative sentences. This word, interrogate, comes from the Latin root, inter, meaning, ‘between’ and rogare, meaning ‘ask’; to inquire formally. There are a number of different types of questions. There are rhetorical questions that are used to make a point. There are open-ended questions that are asked with the intent to gather information. Some closed-ended questions are useful in establishing facts requiring yes or no answers and others generally, such as comprehension, speculation, knowledge, and enquiry type questions. To understand the question, we must understand the context and who is being asked the question, whether asked of one person or more than one. In fact, this is where the Elizabethan language found in King James’ Bible is especially helpful since the English, using “thee” and “ye”, is so superior to the vernacular we use today. Thee always denotes one and ye always greater than one. This is opposed to the modern usage of the word, “you”, which could denote either plural or singular. However, let us try to understand the questions God asked as found in scripture so we can then begin to understand what our Heavenly Father wants from us as written in His Word.
Following are some examples of the type of questions found in scripture that He might ask of us:
To Adam: In the Garden of Eden, God asked, “Where art thou?” and, “Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?” (Yes or no?) Then, after Eve had eaten from the tree God asked her, “What is this that thou hast done?”
To Cain: After he had killed his brother God asked: “Where is Abel thy brother?”; “And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.” Genesis 4:9
To Abraham: “Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?”; and, “Is any thing too hard for the LORD?” (Yes or no?)
To Moses: “…Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.”
To Jacob: “What is thy name?” and promptly changed his name to Israel.
To Satan: “Whence comest thou?”; and, “Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?”
To Elijah: “What doest thou here, Elijah?”
1 Kings 19:9
To Samuel: “How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel?”
I Sam 16:1
To His parents: in the New Testament, “How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Yes or no?)
To the Pharisees: “Why tempt ye me?” and, “Whose is this image and superscription?”
To the woman taken in adultery: “Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?” (Yes or no?)
To Blind Bartimaeus the son of Timaeus: “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?”
To Peter: “lovest thou me more than these?” (Yes or no?)
God asks us questions. In these examples you can tell what type of questions God asks. God asked open-ended questions and ‘yes or no’ questions. This proves that He wants to converse with us. He wants us to tell Him about ourselves. He wants a relationship and wants us to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.
Clearly, God already knew the answers to these questions. He already knows we are fallible beings, so then why would he bother to condescend to inquire anything of us? We were created to worship Him. We were created in His image. He wants us to be like Him. When we analyze the relationships we have with our friends, family, and even our enemies, we commune together. We talk and sort things out and try to understand each other. What better way but to ask questions? We want to know what each other are thinking at times. Since we cannot read each other’s mind I believe that God wants us to share and give to each other, to verbally communicate together. The Bible terms it, “fellowship” and our Heavenly Father wants to have this same fellowship with us. We know the verse that says,
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matt.18:20
But, the preceding verses to that speak about fellowship with each other together with Almighty God,
“Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” Matt.18:18-19
Furthermore, the Bible talks about fellowshipping together at church. We are powerful together when we pray and hold each other up. I believe Wednesday night prayer meeting is the most important day of the week for the believer and must never be missed by anyone! What a wonderful fellowship we have when we are gathered together with God in our midst! Consider for a moment how the battle went when Israel was fighting the Amalekites. When Moses’ arms were being held up, they would prevail, but when Moses’ arms were not held up they would fail.
“And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.” Exodus 17:11-12
When we pray together, it is just as if we are holding each other’s arms up in the battle. Looking around us today, it takes little imagination to see we are fighting a battle against the god of this world and his devils and we need to stick together communicating in fellowship with Him.
So, we see that God wants to communicate with us. He tells us through His Word what we ought to do and not do. Then, He wants us to tell Him what we are doing and so He asks, not so that He can know, but for us to tell Him. Yes, He already knows, but He wants us to talk with Him. How do we have this healthy relationship with Him? We talk with Him in prayer. If you are His child today, did you talk with your Almighty God and Saviour this morning, the one who created the whole of the Heaven and Earth and all that is in it? It is amazing to think that The One so sinless and perfect would want to speak with me, it is simply incredible!
He wants us to stay on the right track through His Word and asks you: how are you doing today? How would you answer Him? Let us see how some of the Bible characters answered from our examples: the blind man, Bartimaeus, he answered God, saying, “Lord, that I might receive my sight.”, and Jesus healed him. Peter answered, “…Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.” Then God told him to feed His sheep. For Jacob, He gave him a new name. For Sarah, who was barren, He gave a child. For Moses and the Israelites, He opened the gates of the sea and dry land to safety from their enemies; and, for Job, God answered His own 58 questions plus 24 more consecutive questions for righteous Job, who repented in sackcloth and ashes, and returned unto him all that he had lost twice over. (Job 42:10) What a picture of God’s grace. Yes, God asks: how are you doing? Will you answer Him? ~R.
© 2014 Remi Fernhout