Summary: A look at the invitation (and the need) for us to be bold and honest in our talking with God.
Is it ok to question God?
- The presumption is usually that the answer is “no.”
- Just sit down and shut up. Just take it.
- When you hear people pray, a lot of the praying is very rote and formulaic. It’s pretty rare that you’ll hear someone really bearing their heart to God. It’s even rarer that you’ll hear someone laying out something they’re questioning God about.
- Especially in worship, we almost never venture into that territory. And since most of what we’ve learned is what we’ve caught rather than what we’ve been taught, we’ve come to understand that you don’t get to question God in your prayers.
- But what does the Bible say?
- In this sermon series, we’re actually going to look at several of the times in the Psalms that David questions God, like He does in our passage for this morning.
- But before we get too far into that, I want to look back into Genesis for one of the best passages in the Bible on questioning God.
1. Asking questions doesn’t get you zapped.
- Genesis 18:23-25, 28, 30, 31-32.
- This is one of my favorite passages in the Word because it shows Abraham openly questioning God and getting away with it.
- Why doesn’t God zap him?
a. God already knows what he’s thinking, so saying it brings no surprise.
b. God wants a relationship with Abraham, and a relationship requires honest communication.
c. God is big enough that He can handle being questioned without feeling threatened.
2. Be bold but not disrespectful.
- Verse 27 is a great balance. On one hand, he’s being bold. On the other, he acknowledges that He is merely dust and ashes.
- It’s an important balance.
- When we shift to the side of boldness too much, we can come across like we have all the answers and know exactly what should happen.
- When we shift to the side of dust and ashes too much, we don’t utilize the privileges of coming before God that have been given to us by Christ.
- Which side are you more tempted to dwell on?
3. Focus on God’s character.
- Notice that Abraham bases his questioning on the character of God – in this case, His justice. See vv. 23-25.
- A couple things this can do:
- Often our questioning of God comes from the fact that He hasn’t done what we expected Him to do.
a. It cuts to the heart of your complaint.
- This is the usually the case in a legitimate complaint.
- We were expecting God to do a certain thing based on our general understanding of His character.
- For instance, someone might expect healing from cancer to come because they know that God is a Healing God. Why didn’t it happen in my situation?
- Another example: Someone at work blames you for a major problem. Rather than the truth coming out, things fall apart and you end up losing your job. You wonder – if He’s the God of justice, why did He let this happen?
- Of course, the thing is that God may have other long-term considerations that have caused Him to pursue this path (maybe He’s going to use your faithfulness to Him in the face of cancer to multiply your witness; maybe He’s allowing you to be removed from that office because there are greater problems coming down the line). God is a God of healing; God is a God of justice. It’s just that it doesn’t always appear that way in the short-term.
- But when we focus on His character, it can help us to see the heart of our sense of being forsaken or disappointed or abandoned.
b. It can reveal selfish and shallow complaints.
- Sometimes our complaint is not legitimate. Sometimes we complain because we didn’t get what we wanted. Sometimes we complain because we were inconvenienced by God’s answer. Sometimes we complain because we want our lives to be made easier.
- In these cases, we have no legitimate complaint before God. Sadly, though, there are many people who walk away from God or become stunted in their spiritual growth even though their complaint has no legitimacy.
- Focusing on God’s character can help us to cut to the core of the issue. If we’re honest with ourselves and mature enough to understand what the word says about God’s character, these moments before God can be convicting. He may show us that He is doing thing just the way He promised to do them. He may show us that He is acting in perfect accordance with His character. He may show us our pettiness.