“If there is God who knows everything,” Collette Gary asked, “why does he ask questions?” They are certainly not for himself. So what is it that God knows questions do that answers don’t. He certainly used them often. There are over 3,000 questions in the Bible and the majority of them are asked by God.

If someone had just ruined something you worked really hard to make or spoiled plans you spent a lot of time preparing, how would you respond? That’s what God faced after Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden. But did you know the first four things God said were all questions? (Genesis 3:9-13)

If someone you knew had been going through terrible pain and loss, for no fault of his own, and was looking for answers to his experience, how would you respond? God responded in this kind of situation with Job by asking questions. The longest list of questions in the Bible was God’s response to the suffering of Job. (Job 38-39)

Jonah was an awful missionary. The man had deep anger issues. He had no respect for his calling. He openly hated the people God asked him to minister to. He had no passion for his work. His main concern was his own comfort. His story is the only book in the Bible that ends with a question. It is a question that God asked. We know the question worked because the only reason we have the account of Jonah is because God broke through to Jonah and he was willing to disclose his self-condemning story.

So what is it that God knows questions do that doesn’t happen by simply unfolding the facts and necessary steps that a person must take?

Questions make us think. They engage the mind. In contrast, imperative statements are embedded conclusions. The next step has already been decided. The subject really isn’t involved, or at least given a choice. But God wants us involved. Questions invite us to get involved.

The better we get at engaging others and awakening the imagination to get involved, the closer we are to relating to others the way God relates to us.

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