Monday, April 09, 2018

God's questions

God Speaks to Elijah - Treasures of the Bible collection.

TODAY'S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 17-19; Psalm 99

"'What are you doing here, Elijah?'" 1 Kings 19:9,13

God often communicates with us humans through questions. God asked:

  • Adam and Eve in Eden: "'Where are you?'" and "'What is this you have done?'" - Genesis 3:9,13.
  • Job: "'Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?'" - Job 38:4.
  • Abraham: "'Is anything too hard for the Lord?'" - Genesis 18:14.
  • Moses: "'What is that in your hand?'" and "'Who made man's mouth?'" - Exodus 4:2,11.
  • Solomon: "'Ask! What shall I give you?'" - 1 Kings 3:5.
  • And Elijah: "'What are you doing here?'" - 1 Kings 19:9,13.

God knows everything so the questions He asks and the answers they draw from  people can't be for His benefit. They must be for the benefit of the ones questioned. There are at least three things I notice about His questions that may give us clues to understanding their purpose.

1. God's questions were situation-specific.
From our knowledge of the stories, above, we know how well each question fit the questioned one and the place he or she was. When God asked a question it was related to something the person needed to notice about him- or herself and their current situation or state of mind.

2. God's questions probed.
They were great at helping the questioner get to the root of something—the enormity of what they'd just done, perhaps (Adam and Eve), or what they really knew and understood (Job), or who they trusted in (Abraham, Moses), or what they wanted above everything else (Solomon), or where they were and why (Adam and Eve, and Elijah).
3. God's questions often led to understanding the next step the questioner needed to take.
For Elijah, God's question, '"What are you doing here?'" forced him to look at where his lapse of faith had taken him. In that place he felt a complete failure. But God didn't want him to stay in isolation and discouragement. He had more assignments for Elijah—dangerous ones: a king to anoint (treason!) and a successor to commission. He wasn't going to be able to stay "here" if those things were to get done.

Does God ever ask you questions? One He often asks me, especially when I'm tempted to envy the accomplishments of others is, "Did I ask you to do that?" (a personal application of the conversation between Peter and Jesus in John 21:20-22).

* What does God ask you? 

* What insight does it give you about yourself and your situation? 

* What root does it pull at? 

* What does it reveal to you about the next step?

PRAYER: Dear Father, Your questions are gentle, yet compelling. Help me to be quiet  enough in my spirit to hear them and self-aware enough to answer them honestly. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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