Answering God’s Questions

Intro: Asking questions is an essential part of learning. If you want to know, ask. Some have even said, there is no such thing as a “dumb question”. I think I have heard a few that might qualify, but the point is that questions are a valuable tool in learning. Some people ask questions to gain information that they do not have. Others may ask questions for which they already have the answer. They are asked to cause others to think and come to a conclusion on their own. These are called rhetorical questions.

God asks us questions, not for his information, but as truly rhetorical: in order to drive us to thought and growth.

Consider some interesting, thought-provoking questions that God asked:

I. Where Are You?–Begin in the Garden of Eden, following man’s first experience with sin. Satan tempted Eve and she responded in disobedience. Gen 3:6-96 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. 8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”

A. God did not ask this question because He needed some information on Adam’s location. (“3rd tree down on the right from the Tree of life”) He was asking for an assessment of Adam’s (& Eve’s) situation. How did you know that you were naked? He was forcing Adam to consider. What will you do now?

1. Adam clearly understood the question in this way. His answer did not reveal a location, but rather describes his situation, “I was naked and I hid.” In the presence of our own temptation and response to sin, God asks us, Where are you? (not a location, but how is it with you?)

B. In your fight against sin? – Are you stronger and better able to avoid sin? Or do you still succumb to the same temptations again and again?

C. In your marriage?– Are you closer to your mate? Is life at home better than before?

D. In the accomplishment of your spiritual goals? Do you pray more than you used to? Are you more patient with others? Do you worry less?

E. In your relationship God?–Can you properly assess where you stand with God? Hypocrisy and self-delusion may keep us form knowing where we are with God. Matthew 7:21-2321 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. The only way we can know is to know what God reveals in His word. Ps 119:59-60 “I thought about my ways, And turned my feet to Your testimonies.” I made haste, and did not delay To keep Your commandments.

II. Where is Your Brother? Gen 4:8-9 8 Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. 9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

A. God is not puzzled about Abel’s whereabouts. His question is designed to provoke Cain to consider what he had done. He is not even interested in Cain answering “Oh I buried him over there by the thorn bush.” God’s question was a call for Cain to consider his responsibility toward his brother. We too need to consider God’s question in this respect.

1. This is an important consideration because God places an enormous priority on our mutual relationships. Matt 5:23-24 – 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Personal responsibilities supersede even our obligation to worship.

2. Our relationships take maintenance. We must invest in them if we expect them to improve. Consider those who strain you or whom you do not know well. Are those relationships better than they were before?

3. Do we know where our brother is? What unmet needs does he have? How is he doing spiritually? Phil 2:3-4Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

4. God demands that I be my brother’s keeper because Jesus has died for him as well as me. Romans 14:15Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.

B. God asks this question to a murderer, but we have not lived up to the demands of the question “where is your brother?” by not doing harm to him- not murdering him. We have not lived up to the demands of that question “Where is your brother?” until we have lived up to its active requirements as expressed in the Golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Do we consider others in all that we do?

1. Where is my brother when I talk about him to others?

2. Where is my brother when I rejoice at his misfortunes or covet his things?

3. Where is my brother when my example does not teach what it ought to?

III. What Will a Man Give in Exchange for His Soul? Matthew 16:24-26Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any {man} will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

A. The fable is familiar – Satan barters with a person for their soul. Some people never recognize that they are bartering with their soul. Read Luke 12:15-2115 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”\

B. What would we think of a man who would sell his soul to be president of the U.S.? We’d denounce him for a fool. But do we make a better deal? Or do we sell out for even less-

1. a little popularity by going along with the crowd

2. a little pleasure by compromising our virtue

3. a little laughter at the expense of our standards

4. Bit by bit, piece by piece we trade our souls for little or nothing

5. Satan had to take Jesus up on high mountain and show him all the kingdoms of the world to tempt him to trade his soul,. Not us just to our neighbor’s doorway. Isa 55:1-2 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance.

6. What will a man give in exchange for his soul? There is another implication in Jesus’ question.

a. Knowing that we have all sold out who can buy back his own soul? No one. It is too costly. Only God could provide the price to buy back the human soul. If God has purchased your souls with the blood of his own Son, will you barter it away again? Heb 10:29 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

IV. Which leads us to another thought-provoking question of God… Why will you die?

A. Ezekiel 33 – God called the prophet to be a watchman over the people. The job of the watchman was to warn the people when danger threatened. But many times people do not heed warnings. God explains to Ezekiel that it he warns the people and they ignored him, he would be held blames – it is upon their won head. But if danger threatened and the prophet failed to warn the people, then they would perish together.

B. God then tells Ezekiel His perspective on the destruction (judgment) of His people (who would not heed the warning).

• Ezekiel 33:11 – 11 Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’

C. That is a good question. Is there any reason for us to die in our sins, if God does not desire it. HE has made a way to live. God goes on to explain to Ezekiel, and Israel, that their past righteousness or unrighteousness will not determine their fate. If they turn from their sins they will live, even if they have been unrighteous. And even if they have been righteous in the past, if they turn away from that righteousness, they will die.

Why will you die… turn and live.