f you grew up in the church, then Sunday school was a huge part of your youth. More times than not, if you didn’t know the answer to a pop quiz test on various topics of the Bible, one answer would suffice - Jesus. Somehow, every question in the Bible could be answered with His name. After all, the climax of the bible is the story of Jesus. He is the answer to all issues and problems.
For a Bible bystander, it would seem that Jesus would answer every question that was presented to Him in Scripture. When reading Scripture for the first time, one is surprised at the amount of question Jesus didn’t answer. Martin Copenhaver, in his book Jesus Is The Question, gives his incredible statistic.
“Contrary to some common assumptions, Jesus is not the ultimate Answer Man, but more like the Great Questioner. In the Gospels Jesus asks many more questions than he answers. To be precise, Jesus asks 307 questions. He is asked 183 of which he only answers 3. Asking questions was central to Jesus’ life and teachings. In fact, for every question he answers directly he asks—literally—a hundred.”
Questions From God
Jesus ministry was defined by the great questions he asked his followers. In the book of John, the first Jesus told his followers is striking. He opens the Gospel not with a statement, but with a question.
“Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” (John 1:38)
The Gospel of John introduces the story of Jesus Christ with a question that not only pierced the soul of his first followers, but to us as well. No matter what stage of the journey we are on in following the man who hung between two criminals, what should always ask ourselves, “what are we seeking?” It is in the seeking that we truly find the answers we are looking for. Jesus knew this.
In John chapter three, a Pharisee came to Jesus in the night with a laundry list of questions.
“Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, "Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again." "How can a man be born when they are old?" Nicodemus asked.” (John 3:3,4)
The Pharisee was caught off guard. In his mind, in the days preceding this discussions, he thought he would be the one asking the questions, not answering them. Jesus used questions as a way to weed out the negative intentions of a person’s heart and to gain access to their understanding of the kingdom. This was something that he learned from his Heavenly Father.
God’s Questions Repositions Our Hearts
The Old Testament is filled with heart-piercing questions from God. We find this in many books of the Bible, starting with Job.
“Who is this that obscures my plan with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.” (John 38:2,3)
After thirty or so chapters of Job questioning God, God responds not with an answer, but with a question of His own. It seems that in order for God to respond to the questions we have, He must first as a question to reposition our hearts.
When our hearts are repositioned towards His, the questions we ask are different. When going through a painful situation, like Job, we may ask, “Why did you leave me??” On the other hand, when our hearts are positioned towards His countenance, we may ask in the same situation, “God, I know you would never leave me, show me where I’ve left you.”
The countenance of our hearts reveals the origin of our questions. God does not desire His children to be confused in any situation. In fact, confusion started with Adam and Even and comes from the enemy (see Corinthians 14:33). Often times, the enemy will use the questions of God as a way to bring confusion to our hearts. When faced with a question or issue or lie, it is the privilege of any believer to find the truth in the word of the Lord (see John 17:17).
It is in the nature of God to answer our prayers. In fact, it should be normal for people today to have the answer to their prayers. Jesus promises us in John 15:7, those answers are found through abiding in God’s Word.
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7)
Let’s pause to ask an important question. If God wants us to have the answers, then why does He ask so many questions?
God Questions Repositions Our Perspective
Sure, God could answer ever one of our questions. He can do anything! Because He chooses not to, we should look deeper into the reasons why in Scripture. A great example is found in the book of Ezekiel, when the hand of the Lord took Ezekiel to a valley of dry bones.
“The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” (Ezekiel 37:1-3a)
After the hand of the Lord laid Ezekiel in the valley, he asked him a question, why? God knew the answer. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the Lord to explain to Ezekiel why he was in the valley? Because we know God never wastes a word, we must look deeper into the Scripture.
I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” (Ezekiel 37:3b)
After God questions Ezekiel, he answers Him in the best way that he can. This seems to be the answer Ezekiel thought God would want to hear, but it wasn’t. Ezekiel says (and I paraphrase), “God you can do anything! You are Sovereign!” What Ezekiel relies upon in his answer is the sovereignty of God, and gives a response that most believers today would give. What God says next changed Ezekiel’s whole perspective.
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” (Ezekiel 37:4-6)
After Ezekiel reminds God of His sovereignty, God empowers Ezekiel to speak to the dry bones. He completely changes his perspective on what was possible. Can dry bones live? Sure they can if you are God, He is sovereign - He can do anything! But what happens God asks us to do the impossible?
In the face of impossibilities, our first response is to lean into the sovereignty of God in light of our questions. Although this is not a negative response, it is not the answer God is looking for. He wants us to see the situation through His perspective, and to know that at any moment impossibilities can change. What does he require from us? He requires us to look deep into the realm of impossibilities and to prophesy things into life.
So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.” (Ezekiel 37:7)
What if God had answered Ezekiel’s indirect question to bring the bones to life? He would have never realized the power He had as a child of God to bring answers to impossible situations!
As believers, sometimes, we look at the face of our problems and then look at God for the answer. Whenever this moment of crisis arises, God will look at us and remind us to look into His Word for an answer that has already been given.
“"Have faith in God," Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” (Mark 11:22,23)
Questions from God has the ability to reposition our hearts and to give us a new perspective on what is possible for good work. We serve a living God. He is in the answer business, and sometimes the only way to get us the answers we are looking for is to ask us the questions we don’t want to hear.