I recently came across an article from the Harvard Business Review on the art of asking questions. It identified the benefits of obtaining information for proper decision-making. After all, asking the right questions can help us solve problems and reach better conclusions.
But other reasons abound on the benefits of asking good questions. A good mentor or teacher knows how to ask questions in a way that will help their students discover for themselves some important reality. Over the past months I have explored many of Jesus’ questions. He was the Master of this art. He asked questions in a way that the listeners could reach their own conclusions about who He was, and why they needed Him.
But there is yet another reason God asked questions—dating back through the Old Testament. Consider the following:
God asked Adam and Eve, after they disobeyed Him and ate of the fruit in the garden, “Where are you?”
God asked Cain, after he had killed his brother Abel, “Where is your brother?”
And the one I have reflected on a lot this week— “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” Genesis 16:7-8
God is the all-knowing. Is it really possible that He didn’t know the answers to these questions? Isn’t it more likely that God asked these questions so they would consider their own actions, granting them an opportunity to repent and change direction?
Where have you come from and where are you going?
When I was in my twenties making poor life choices, I wish I had taken the time to answer this set of questions. Doing so might have helped me avoid some difficult consequences. Fortunately, it is never too late, and we can reflect on our path at any time in our spiritual journey.
Where have you come from, Carole? Why did you speak to your husband in that tone? Why did you gossip with your friend? Why did you watch that television show?
Where are you going? Are you willing to apologize and ask forgiveness? Are you willing to change your habits? Are you willing to obey God’s Word?
God doesn’t force His will on us. He is the Master of asking questions in a way that we will examine ourselves in order to change direction and follow His perfect will. Am I willing to answer honestly?