Questioning GodAugust 29, 2012 - 5:00 am
Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.” — Habakkuk 1:3
The Book of Habakkuk opens with a lot of questions. The prophet questions God’s ways. He asks how God can allow injustice and why He doesn’t put an end to violence. Is the prophet suggesting that God is doing a bad job running the world? How can it be that a man holy enough to be God’s prophet could question His ways? Where is his faith?
The truth is that Habakkuk is not alone in his questioning. Abraham questions God when it is revealed to him about God’s plans to destroy Sodom. Abraham asks, “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”(Genesis 18:25). Moses questions God too. Moses’ first meeting with Pharaoh requesting that God’s people be freed doesn’t go so well. The result is that Pharaoh makes the work of the Israelites even more difficult. Moses asks, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people?” (Exodus 5:22).
Job does a lot of questioning as well. After he loses his money, his children and his health in one day, Job asks of God, “Why have you made me your target?” (Job 7:20). The holiest of all men have questioned God. Even more startling is that God doesn’t get angry with them.
There is a story told about a heretic who visits a rabbi with a simple request. He has some questions about Judaism that he would like to ask. “Sure,” says the Rabbi, “I’d be happy to answer your questions.” The heretic proceeds to rattle off about twenty questions. When he finishes speaking, he waits for the rabbi’s reply, but the rabbi is silent.
“Why don’t you have any answers?” the heretic asks. “Because you haven’t asked any questions,” comes the reply. The rabbi explains that had the heretic asked real questions, he would have gladly supplied the answers, but the man had simply made statements that he disguised in question form.
Not all questions are the same; they depend on the questioner. Some people are seekers and they truly wish to understand. Other people ask questions even though they have already made up their minds. They aren’t really interested in answers. Answers require us to re-think and re-evaluate. They may even make us admit error or force us to change. Sincere questioners aren’t afraid of answers. They are open and willing to hear them.
The questions Habakkuk, Abraham, Moses, and Job asked were all sincere. This kind of questioning is not only tolerated, but is even welcomed by the Lord.
Do you have questions in your heart? Go ahead! Ask away! Just remember to listen for the answers and be prepared to possibly change because of what you’ve learned.