Read His Words Before Ours!
There is power in a question.
It’s an invitation to connect.
It’s a humble initiation of a conversation.
All of these make perfect sense to me as I reflect on my use of questions in recent interactions. Asking clarifying questions helped me better understand the work project my husband had begun. Asking the daughter of a friend her thoughts drew her into the conversation and helped bridge the gap between generations. Asking for the motivation behind a friend’s decision enabled me to infuse the conversation with grace in the midst of a challenging discussion.
Questions have power and can yield powerful results.
In Genesis 3:9-13, the Lord graciously asked Adam and Eve the first questions in Scripture.
Where are you?
Who told you that you were naked?
Did you eat from that tree that I commanded you not to eat from?
What have you done?
Consider the significance of the Lord asking questions.
God, the Creator of everything, asks questions which invite and allow us to engage with Him. He initiates conversation with us through questions. Is that mind boggling to anyone else? The infinitely powerful Lord, Who was, is, and is to come, chooses to interact with us. (Revelation 1:8)
Not only does He choose to interact with us, He does so with grace and mercy.
He did not ask Adam and Eve, “Where are you?” because He did not actually know where they were. The Lord knows all things (Psalm 139:1-4), but by His ask, He provided space for them to come to Him with their defenses down.
Have you ever experienced a similar interaction? Has someone asked you a question to which you both knew the answer, but you were given an opportunity to speak non-defensively?
Tone and timing have an incredible impact in this communication. When I visualize the Lord’s interaction with Adam and Eve in Genesis 3, I picture the patient calm of a parent seeking to draw her child’s attention to a glaringly obvious mistake. As in, the mom asking her toddler where the cookie went while the visible crumbs still line the child’s lips.
By asking the question instead of declaring the failure, the ownership of the decisions made rested solely on Adam and Eve. A defensive response did not arise because the Lord’s approach revealed the sin, instead of attacking it.
The Lord asked a series of questions that fleshed out the first sin on earth. He lovingly removed the shame by addressing the failure while still treating Adam and Eve with dignity. He asked them to explain their decisions, He addressed their sin, and He conveyed the consequences of those decisions.
Because of the way the Lord engaged Adam and Eve, an open door for communication remained and a framework for dealing with sin was created.
These truths apply to us as well. When we sin, we must process through it with the Lord just as Adam and Eve did in Eden. The Lord invites our conversation and lovingly prompts us with His questions.
“If we say, ‘We have no sin,’ we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9)
Thousands of years after the first sin in Eden, when the Lord walked the earth as Jesus, His gracious invitation to conversation remained unchanged. To a woman caught in adultery and literally surrounded by predatory, self-righteous accusers, He responded with mercy, dismissing those who sought her death. (John 8:1-9)
Then, He invited her into conversation with two gentle questions.
“When Jesus stood up, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’
‘No one, Lord,’ she answered.
‘Neither do I condemn you,’ said Jesus. ‘Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.’
(John 8:10-11, emphasis mine)
Like Adam and Eve, like this woman, I know the Lord is after my heart when I sense the Holy Spirit ask me sweetly-convicting questions about my behavior, thoughts, or anything else. The sooner I confess my sin to Him, the sooner I experience restoration in our relationship. The process goes much quicker and more smoothly when I approach the Lord with lowered defenses.
Many times I have felt the Lord lift my head and invite me to talk with Him. Never once have I raised my eyes to look upon His gaze only to be turned away with condemnation. (Romans 8:1)
When you hear the Lord ask about your heart, know He is inviting you into deeper relationship with Him.
How will you answer His invitation to conversation?
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!