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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Asking God Questions (Psalm 13:1, 2; 22:1)

 "How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and everyday have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?"

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?"

Asking questions accompany the struggle of faith and the struggle for faith; they eitherstrengthen faith's resolve or they kill faith altogether. David was no stranger to asking God questions that seem to hang in the air unanswered.

David's high view of God leaves room for his questions to remain unanswered. It seems, then, to ask God questions isn't wrong, but to demand answers crosses the line. David's Psalms encourage hurting people to honestly face their fears, confusion, and feelings and to seek answers that these things create. But you can't remain there. David asks his questions but he immediately follows his questions with praise to God and focuses on God's goodness and sovereignty.

David's "How long" questions address the passage of time having to do with the endless continuation of suffering. This is a normal question asked by everyone during times of crisis. David, however, looks away from the desperation of his situation to the unfailing love of the Lord. He chooses to rejoice in God's salvation. And, he chooses to sing.

David's "Why" questions seem to address his confusion regarding the cause of his suffering. After all, David's job as a shepherd boy was interrupted by his dad's call at Samuel's behest. He was good at what he did and did not ask to be king. Had he known that killing Goliath would cause years of suffering he may have left the cheese with his brothers and returned to his small flock.

Bottom line: God rarely answers our questions. If He answered all of our questions then we wouldn't need to have faith. Faith in God, in spite of our difficulties, pleases God. It says that God is trustworthy and good.

How does this apply today? Are you honest enough to assess your own questions? What do your questions reveal about your view of God? Do they reveal your confidence in a loving heavenly Father? Or, do they reveal that you still entertain thoughts unworthy of God?

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Psalm 13
  • What reasons does David give for asking God these questions?
Psalm 17
  • As you read this Psalm in the context of David's fleeing from Saul and the betrayal of the Ziphites what does it teach you about David's spiritual condition and view of God?
Psalm 22
  • What does David understand about God that keeps him grounded during difficulty?
  • Considering that this particular psalm contains Messianic portions what does this psalm teach you about David's suffering and the purpose of suffering?
Psalm 54
  • What do the petitions contained in this psalm teach you about prayer?
  • What does the ending of this Psalm teach you about David's trust in God?
1 Samuel 24
  • What does this passage teach you about the counsel of others and seemingly providential circumstances?
  • What do David's men learn about God from David?
Turning truth into prayer:
What are you doing with your questions? Are you demanding answers or are you asking the Lord and then praising Him for His goodness and trustworthiness? Spend a few minutes thanking the Lord for your difficulties and troubles. Thank Him for His ability to remove them and then thank Him for allowing them to remain in your life. Affirm your trust in His goodness.