Do You Let Jehovah Question You?
THE Bible contains hundreds of questions that penetrate deep into the heart. In fact, Jehovah God himself uses questions to teach important truths. For example, Jehovah used several questions when warning Cain to correct his destructive course. (Gen. 4:6, 7) At other times, a single question from Jehovah was enough to motivate a person to take positive action. Upon hearing Jehovah ask: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” the prophet Isaiah responded: “Here I am! Send me.”—Isa. 6:8.
Jesus, the Great Teacher, also used questions effectively. The Gospels record more than 280 of Jesus’ questions. Although he on occasion used questions to silence his critics, most often his purpose was to reach his listeners’ hearts, moving them to reflect on their own spiritual condition. (Matt. 22:41-46; John 14:9, 10) Similarly, the apostle Paul, who wrote 14 books of the Christian Greek Scriptures, used questions persuasively. (Rom. 10:13-15) For instance, his letter to the Romans contains a multitude of questions. Paul’s questions move his readers to appreciate “the depth of God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge.”—Rom. 11:33.
While some questions prompt a verbal reply, others are intended to stir a deeper reaction. The Gospels record Jesus’ extensive use of the latter kind. On one occasion, Jesus cautioned his disciples: “Look out for the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod,” meaning their hypocrisy and false teachings. (Mark 8:15; Matt. 16:12) Jesus’ disciples did not get the point and began arguing over their having forgotten to bring bread. Note Jesus’ use of questions in the brief conversation that ensued. “He said to them: ‘Why do you argue over your having no loaves? Do you not yet perceive and get the meaning? Do you have your hearts dull of understanding? “Though having eyes, do you not see; and though having ears, do you not hear?” . . . Do you not yet get the meaning?’” Jesus’ questions called for a mental response, moving his disciples to reflect on the real meaning of his words.—Mark 8:16-21.
“Let Me Question You”
Jehovah God used questions to adjust the thinking of his servant Job. By means of numerous questions, Jehovah taught Job about his insignificance in comparison with his Maker. (Job, chaps. 38-41) Did Jehovah expect an audible answer to each of those questions? It seems unlikely. Such questions as “Where did you happen to be when I founded the earth?” were evidently meant to stir Job’s thinking and emotions. After some of that intensive questioning, Job was left nearly speechless. He simply said: “What shall I reply to you? My hand I have put over my mouth.” (Job 38:4; 40:4) Job got the point and humbled himself. However, Jehovah was not merely teaching Job to be humble. Job’s thinking was also corrected. In what way?
Although Job was “a man blameless and upright,” at times his words betrayed a wrong viewpoint, which Elihu noted when he reproved Job for “declaring his own soul righteous rather than God.” (Job 1:8; 32:2; 33:8-12) Thus, Jehovah’s questions also corrected Job’s understanding. Speaking to Job out of a windstorm, God said: “Who is this that is obscuring counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins, please, like an able-bodied man, and let me question you, and you inform me.” (Job 38:1-3) Through questions, Jehovah then drew attention to his limitless wisdom and power as demonstrated by his wonderful works. This enlightenment helped Job to trust in Jehovah’s judgment and way of doing things as never before. What an awe-inspiring experience for Job—to be questioned by Almighty God himself!
How We Can Let Jehovah Question Us
What about us? Can we too benefit from the questions recorded in the Bible? Yes, we can! Allowing those questions to make us stop and think can bring us rich spiritual rewards. The penetrating questions in God’s Word contribute to its effectiveness. Indeed, “the word of God . . . exerts power . . . and is able to discern thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12) To benefit most, however, we need to direct those questions to ourselves, as if Jehovah were questioning us personally. (Rom. 15:4) Let us consider some examples.
“Is the Judge of all the earth not going to do what is right?” (Gen. 18:25) Abraham posed this rhetorical question to Jehovah at the time of God’s judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham considered it unthinkable that Jehovah could ever act unjustly—putting the righteous to death with the wicked. Abraham’s question reflects his deep faith in Jehovah’s righteousness.
Today, some may be inclined to speculate about matters regarding Jehovah’s future judgments, such as who exactly will survive Armageddon or who will receive a resurrection. Rather than allowing such thoughts to disturb us, we can recall Abraham’s question. Knowing Jehovah as a benevolent heavenly Father and having complete confidence in his justice and mercy, as Abraham did, prevents us from wasting time and energy on unnecessary worry, weakening doubt, and useless debate.
“Who of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his life span?” (Matt. 6:27) Addressing a large crowd that included his disciples, Jesus used this question to emphasize their need to put themselves in Jehovah’s loving hands. The last days of this wicked system of things give rise to many anxieties, but focusing on them will not extend our lives or improve the quality of life.
Whenever we feel anxious about ourselves or our loved ones, reminding ourselves of Jesus’ question can help us to put our anxieties in perspective. It can help put a stop to worry and to negative thoughts that drain us mentally, emotionally, and physically. As Jesus assured us, our heavenly Father, who feeds the birds of heaven and clothes the vegetation of the field, fully knows what we need.—Matt. 6:26-34.
“Can a man rake together fire into his bosom and yet his very garments not be burned?” (Prov. 6:27) The first nine chapters of Proverbs include short discourses by a father who is imparting practical wisdom to his son. The question quoted above refers to the bitter consequences of adultery. (Prov. 6:29) If we catch ourselves engaging in flirtatious conduct or entertaining any wrong sexual desire, this question should ring like an alarm bell in our mind. In principle, this question can be asked whenever a person is tempted to take any unwise course. How clearly it emphasizes the practical Bible principle: ‘You reap what you sow’!—Gal. 6:7.
“Who are you to judge the house servant of another?” (Rom. 14:4) In his letter to the Romans, Paul discussed problems that arose in the first-century congregation. Some Christians, coming as they did from a variety of cultural backgrounds, were inclined to pass judgment on the decisions and actions of their fellow believers. Paul’s question reminded them to welcome one another and to leave judging in Jehovah’s hands.
Likewise today, Jehovah’s people come from all walks of life. Yet, Jehovah has brought us together in precious unity. Do we contribute to that unity? If we are inclined to express quick disapproval of a brother’s conscientious course of action, how wise it would be to ask ourselves Paul’s question above!
Questions Draw Us Closer to Jehovah
These few examples demonstrate the power of the questions included in God’s Word. Considering the context of each question can help us to make practical application to our own circumstances. And as we read the Bible, we will note additional helpful questions.—See the box on page 14.
Allowing the penetrating questions found in God’s Word to touch us deeply will help us bring our minds and hearts into line with Jehovah’s righteous ways. After Jehovah questioned him, Job affirmed: “In hearsay I have heard about you, but now my own eye does see you.” (Job 42:5) Yes, Jehovah had become more real to Job, as if He were right before his eyes. The disciple James later expressed it as follows: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.” (Jas. 4:8) May we allow every part of God’s Word, including its questions, to help us grow spiritually and “see” Jehovah ever more clearly!
[Box on page 14]
How can asking yourself these questions help you to adopt Jehovah’s view of matters?
▪ “Does Jehovah have as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of Jehovah?”—1 Sam. 15:22.
▪ “The One forming the eye, can he not look?”—Ps. 94:9.
▪ “For people to search out their own glory, is it glory?”—Prov. 25:27.
▪ “Have you rightly become hot with anger?”—Jonah 4:4.
▪ “What benefit will it be to a man if he gains the whole world but forfeits his soul?”—Matt. 16:26.
▪ “Who will separate us from the love of the Christ?”—Rom. 8:35.
▪ “What do you have that you did not receive?”—1 Cor. 4:7.
▪ “What sharing does light have with darkness?”—2 Cor. 6:14.
[Picture on page 15]
What did Job learn from Jehovah’s questions?