Why God Asks Questions


questionWhat is the last question God asked you? On first impulse, you might say, “God doesn’t ask questions; He knows everything.” And that He does, however God is a master question-asker. What kind of questions does He ask and what is the purpose of His questioning?


God asked Adam, “Where are you? Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree?”

God asked Eve, “What have you done?”

When Cain murdered Abel, God asked, “What have you done?”

God asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Is anything too hard for the LORD?”


The questions of God are laden with purpose…targeted…cutting…they reveal our heart.

They are not simple requests for information but divide between our soul and spirit and reveal the thoughts and intents of our heart. As Hebrews 4 tells us, we are naked before God. He knows all about us.

He understands us.

Yet we often do not know our own hearts. We have difficulty sorting out the depths of our motives so God comes with His questions and lays us open before Him. This “laying open” is not done to condemn us, but to strengthen us, restore us, convict us, and heal us.


Elijah was a great prophet of God. He was courageous and powerful. His life exemplified one who walked in signs and wonders.

Elijah was also human. After a great spiritual victory, he ran into wilderness to hide and lick his wounds after Jezebel threatened him. We find him feeling quite sorry for himself (1 Kings 19) as he sat under a juniper tree.

As a human, Elijah was tired. His body was exhausted after great spiritual battle. His emotions were depleted.

God ministered to Elijah in his humanity. He sent an angel to touch him, to provide food and drink for him. God strengthened him, all the while knowing that Elijah would continue his escape into the wilderness until he eventually ended up in a cave.


I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a literal cave, but I have on several occasions.

On one particular cave tour, a fellow tourist, a teenager nonetheless, thought it would be quite fun to unplug the underground lighting system. I found myself teetering on a set of metal steps, transitioning from one level of the cave to another, in complete and utter darkness. I promised God that if He would get me out of that cave, I would never be so foolish again.

However, my boys love caves and I have since relented of my vow and tredged the underground world again. I still don’t like it. Caves make me feel especially vulnerable, as if I could be cut off from humanity any second and left to die.

Elijah chooses to escape into a cave. It’s dark, secluded, quiet, hidden.

God comes to him calling him by name, just as He came to Adam and Eve. There is nowhere we can hide from His presence.

And God asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Translated into current vernacular, “What the heck do you think you are doing, Elijah? Do you think you can hide from Me?”

Beautifully, God pursues this man He loves. He has fed him, touched him, and now he asks a question.

Of course, God knew what Elijah was doing. He was running. He was hiding. He was feeling sorry for himself.


God invites Elijah to speak. Relationship with God is more than just our listening to him. God invites us to share our hearts, to speak, to engage Him, the God of all creation.

So Elijah answered. “God, I hope you realize that I have been a really great servant of yours. I have been your point person. I have done what no one else would do and just in case you have not noticed, I am all you’ve got left and now the enemy is trying to kill me. It looks to me like You’re not doing a very good job taking care of me, God.” (loosely translated J)

God’s question was not simply about where Elijah was physically. It was about revealing Elijah’s false beliefs (i.e., God has abandoned me, etc.) It was about exposing Elijah’s woundedness and his weakness.

God then re-commissioned Elijah, gave him directions for the next phase of his life, reassured him that he was not alone, and sent him back into God’s service.


So what’s the last question God has asked you?

What is it in your heart that God is trying to get to?

Is it past woundedness that He wants to heal?

Is it sin that needs confessing and forsaking?

Is it weakness that needs God’s grace and strength?

What is your answer to God? Will you agree with Him on the truth about your heart?

If you will, He will do what He did for Elijah. He will speak to you in ways that restore, heal, and give direction.



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  1. Song says:

    I think one of my favorite questionnaires from the Bible is when God is questioning Job (40 & 41). He really sets him straight. Of course, I couldn’t handle that sort of inquisition. 🙂 But He knows what we can handle and He knows how to ask the questions. So thankful for His mercy in those moments.

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