Why does God ask us questions He already knows the answers to?

My wife was reading to our daughter the story of Elijah in the cave, and when they got to the place where God asks, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"  the girl wondered why God asks us questions when He already knows the answers. It's a good and fair question. The Spirit gave answer, and I share it with you.

Whenever God requires of us an answer that He already knows, He does this to force us to consider our thoughts and actions before Him. In doing so, He brings us right up against our attitude and intent, and shows us, as well as the heavenly hosts, our deepest thoughts and heart of hearts. In doing so, He also demonstrates that He sees those things we think to hide, sometimes even from ourselves. Have you ever been caught in a moment in which you had to give an answer explaining yourself and suddenly found that what you were doing in that moment appeared rather foolish, in fact may be rather foolish? I know I have. There is something about putting thoughts into words that shows even ourselves the heart of our actions and motives.

Consider, when a certain man called Jesus "Good Teacher," isn't Jesus' answer interesting? "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone." You may wonder, as I know many have, why Jesus would say such a thing. I myself wondered greatly before Holy Spirit opened my eyes on this matter. The response seems so out of place that some have misused it to support the erroneous opinion that Jesus never claimed to be God. My friend, nothing could be farther from the truth. Notice, the man did not answer the question. But Jesus loved him anyway, and He told him directly that which he lacked--He told him, essentially, to change the focus of his life from things to people and spiritual matters, and to follow Him. The man went away sad because Jesus' message to him did not allow for compromise. This much seems clear. The part that remains hidden for many is the meaning of the first part of the exchange between them.

Jesus answered question with question to challenge the man from the outset. The answer that man would not give, perhaps could not give, was the one that truly mattered. You see, the proper response when Jesus asks why you would call Him good if only One (i.e., God) is good is to bring the logic expressed in Jesus' query fully around to its proper conclusion: "Because you are God." The man knew enough to call Him "Good Master" (or Teacher), but couldn't bring himself to fully commit to Christ. Jesus loved him anyway, but He ensured the young man understood the nature of his issue when He made clear that he must commit to follow Him at the expense of the fleshly desires that stood in his way. So He prompted the man by calling his attention to the heart of his issue first, and then explicitly revealed the issue in a way he could not deny.

I pray that God would show each of us our issues this day that nothing might stand between us and the best that God wants for us. Thank you for coming and spending some time here. God bless!

Ed MyersComment