Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Where Are You? #1

Have you seen those Southwest Airline commercials with the theme “Wanna Get Away?” My favorite one has two friends in the one friends apartment. He is showing off his new flat screen TV and game system with wireless controllers. He tells his friend that with the controllers the game mimics their movements. They happen to be playing a baseball game and he tells his friend, “Pitch it to me just like you would outside.” So the friend winds up and throws the controller which hits the TV, cracks the screen, and then causes the TV to crash down on the game system. Then the announcer's voice says: “Wanna get away?”

When we do stupid or thoughtless things we tend to want to hide and avoid contact with other people, especially those we may have harmed or embarrassed. We do the same thing with God. When we sin we want to hide and avoid contact with God. So here is the question I have for you this morning: How do you avoid God?

Questions are a part of life. We use questions everyday and they play a big part in our interactions with each other. Here are a few ways we uses questions.
  1. To discover information. We ask questions because we are curious about a topic. We might ask: “Why is the sky blue?” or “How does a plane fly?” for the purpose of learning.
  2. To strike up a conversation. We ask questions so we can have something to talk about and in the process learn information about the other person. We might ask a new acquaintance: “How long have you lived here?” or “Do you have a family?” We are killing two birds with one stone because we are learning about them while having a conversation with them.
  3. To asses whether or not the students have learned. Teachers and parents ask these questions so they can determine what their students or children have learned. A history teacher may ask: “who was the first president of the United States?” to determine if the students grasped the lesson. A parent might ask: “How many snacks can you have when you get home from school?” to determine if the children understood the rule.
  4. To have a person reflect on what is being said. Sometimes we will ask a question, not for our benefit, but to get the other person to reflect upon their situation. A counselor might ask a client: “How did that make you feel?” or a parent might ask their child “What lesson did you learn from this?”

What we see in all four types of questions is the ability of learning information. Even with the fourth type of question we are able to gain insight into the person’s feelings or the lesson they believed they have learned. We will always gain information when we ask questions.

Perhaps that is why it seems odd to think that God would ask questions. What does God have to learn? If God is truly omniscient, knowing everything, then there is no need for Him to ask a question. Yet we discover on the pages of Scripture that God indeed asks questions. So we are forced to ask a question of our own: Why does God ask questions?

God asks questions for our benefit. I think He primarily asks the fourth type of question; questions that are designed to get us to think about our lives and situations. God wants us to take the time to reflect about our lives. Too often we go about our days and we never take the time to think about our lives or our commitment to God. We need to ask questions such as: Are we truly following Jesus or are we just going through the motions? If God loves me why is my life such a mess? How can I trust God better this week? Do people see Jesus in my life? If we are not going ask the questions then God will.

“Sure,” you may say, “God uses questions in the Bible, but does He still use questions today?” I think He does. Henry Blackaby wrote about in his excellent study Experiencing God:
“God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways” (back cover of workbook).

God will ask us questions through the Bible. I think the questions God asks in the Bible still apply to our lives today. Other times God might plant a question in our minds and hearts for us to consider as we pray. God might also use a circumstance to prompt a question for us to think about. At other times the question will come from a fellow Christian and God will use that question for His purposes. God asks questions and when He does it is important for us to take time and think about them, because He isn’t looking for an answer, He wants us to discover a truth about our lives.

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