No one can say, ‘What is this?’ or ‘Why is that?’—
for at the appointed time all such questions will be answered.
At his word the waters stood in a heap,
and the reservoirs of water at the word of his mouth. – Sirach 39:17 (NRSV)
As I mentioned in goal, I am reading the entire Bible this summer. I find that I have a lot of questions as I read, such as:
- In seven years, Laban couldn’t find a husband for his daughter Leah? I refuse to believe her eyes were that much of a hinderance. Was Laban just lazy and shirking his responsibilities as a father? Or did he plan all along to get another seven years from Jacob? (Genesis 29:26)
- What is it about God offering Aaron as Moses’ spokesperson that finally gets him to go back to Egypt? Has God finally just worn Moses down and Moses can see he’s not going to get out of this? Is it the promise of Aaron’s help? Is it the reminder that Moses has family in Egypt who are suffering under Pharaoh’s oppression? (Genesis 34:14, 18)
- Should we be surprised the Israelites don’t receive Moses with joy after generations of oppression? Except the action of the midwives, God’s provision has been absent from their lives. How do we have faith when we have no experience of God (that we are aware of) in our lives? (Exodus 6:9)
- After the Israelites make the golden calf, Moses gathers the Levites around him and tells them to go kill people throughout the camp. Did God tell Moses to do this? God had just explained how the priests would be ordained with blood. Is this the ordination by blood God wanted? And this was a blessing? (Exodus 32:29)
As I pose these questions to God, I don’t really expect an answer. I won’t ever understand the inner workings of Laban’s scheming mind or know every word God said to Moses on the mountain. Regardless, I think my questions are important.
For one, they are an indication that I am engaging with the text. As I ask questions of it, I find that God asks questions of me.
- In what ways do I take advantage of others? When do ignore the powerless because I am focused on my own gain?
- Why do I say, “Yes” or “No” to God? Why don’t I trust that God will provide even when I feel unequipped? Who else does my faithfulness (or unfaithfulness) impact?
- In what ways am I blind to what God is doing around me? When I feel that God is absent, do I chalk faith up to stories others tell?
- How do I truly discern the word of God when my actions will impact others? What type of confirmation do I need? When do I question God and when do I submit to God’s sovereignty?
I find in faith I have a lot of questions that are rarely answered directly. Sometimes it takes years to see how God has answered them. Sometimes it takes years (or a lifetime) to realize I don’t need the answer. Regardless, I believe God welcomes my questions. They are the beginning of dialogue and prayers. They are where faith grows.
May the Holy Spirit give you an abundance of questions – and the patience to listen for answers.
It’s Friday and today’s five-minute prompt is question. You can read more about it here.
Also, ICYMI, I have a new newsletter. I published the first one here if you’d like to read it and sign up so it comes direct to your inbox.