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Why God Asks Questions

“Despise the flesh, for it passes away; be solicitous for your soul which will never die.”

St. Basil the Great

God is the ultimate soul doctor; He takes good care of our minds, wills and emotions. And He does this by asking questions. God doesn’t ask us questions because He doesn’t know the answers. After all, He is the Omniscient, all knowing One.

In Genesis 3:9, God asked Adam and Eve three questions after they chose to sin and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “Where are you? Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The heavenly Father wanted to call His creations to account and hold them accountable for their sin. 

Hagar, Sarai’s servant, fled from Sarai when she was mistreated. God asked Hagar a question in Genesis 16:8: “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” I love how God knew her name and the role she played. Likewise, God knows our names and the details of our lives. God’s questions showed His concern about her past, as well as her future. I believe God gave Hagar the opportunity to share her heart with Him. He wanted her to acknowledge all her hurts and to process her heart with the Counselor.

God asked Elijah the same question in I Kings 19:9 and 13: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Elijah had just seen God perform a great miracle on Mount Carmel and then became afraid after Jezebel threatened him. He ran for his life, fled to Horeb and was so hopeless, he told God he wanted to die. Elijah’s response was the same both times. He had a little pity party because he thought he was the only prophet alive. In this instance, God asked a question to see what was in Elijah’s heart and to show Elijah what was in his own heart.

When God asks us questions, He’s not asking to learn something He didn’t already know. God asks because He cares and wants us to learn something. He yearns for us to stop long enough to pay attention to our thoughts and feelings. God wants us to take the time to process our hearts and to confess our sin. Our heavenly Father knows that if we keep pushing our emotions down, if we run away from them or sweep our hurts under the proverbial rug, that one day, it will do us greater harm. If we want God to break through, we need to first break into our hearts and see what’s there. God restores our souls by asking us questions.

“We take excellent care of our bodies which we have for only a lifetime; yet we let our souls shrivel which we will have for eternity.”

Billy Graham

Relevant Reflection:

Describe a time when God restored your soul through asking questions.

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