There is a strategy of investigative inquiry that turns one question into another question. Sometimes it drives me crazy! Like when you ask someone what they think about your new coat and they simply respond – “What do you think?”
Jesus used this tactic frequently. In Matthew 16:13-20 Jesus was in a discussion with his disciples. All of them had mingled frequently with the people and Jesus was interested to know what the crowds were thinking about him. “Whom do men say that I am?” He asked them. “Some say you are Elijah or Jeremiah or one of the prophets. Some even think you are John the Baptist,” they replied. “But who do YOU say I am?” Jesus asked the group. Peter pipes up and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
We see this again in Luke 20:1-8. Jesus was teaching in the temple when he was interrupted by a question from some of the chief priests and rulers. They asked, “What right do you have to do these things, and by what authority?” “Jesus replied, I want to ask you a question.” (v:3) His question brought their combative interrogation to a screeching halt!
God used this strategy of investigative inquiry in Isaiah 40:21-41:5. He asked at least eight questions of the people of Israel who were feeling discouraged and in the minority. His purpose was to restore hope. 1. Have you heard? Don’t you know? God is the one who rules the world. 2. Who compares with me? 3. Is anyone my equal? 4. Look at the sky! Who created the stars? 5. Who gave them each a name and leads them like an army? 6. Who puts nations and kings in power? 7. Who makes these things happen? 8. Who controls human events?
I love God’s answer to his own final question. In it, he puts a definitive period where others had substituted a question mark and reinforced a reassuring promise for you and me. “Who controls human events? I do! I am the Lord. I was there at the beginning; I will be there at the end.” (41:4) “I am God now and forever.” (43:13) “I alone am God – no one else is a mighty rock.” (44:8)
Amid the growing uncertainties of life, stability is found in the changeless nature of God. “I am the Lord,” he assures us. “I was there at the beginning; I will be there at the end.” Can you think of anything more reassuring?
“For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the people. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance. For the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.” (Psalm 33:9-12, 18 NIV)
Be blessed my friend.
The Barnabas Group / Loads of Love