She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus . . . for He will save His people from their sins [that is, prevent them from failing and missing the true end and scope of life, which is God].
(Matthew 1:21 AMP)
So far on this quest to discover the kind of questions God asks, we have heard Him ask where and what.
Recently with a group of women, we were discussing the impact of asking “why” questions. Asking why often puts the listener on the defensive, so we were thinking of other ways to build relationship by asking open ended questions.
But we also admitted that asking why sometimes helps those involved in the conversation to understand the purpose or motivation behind a response, thus creating a greater ability to live in peace with each other.
This conversation led us to wondering if God ever initiated a why based question. I was suprised that I didn’t have to go much further in the book of Genesis to find the answer.
By chapter 4, Adam and Eve have suffered the consequences of questioning God’s word. They have been sent out of the garden. Even though their work and lives would now be marked with painful living and death, they proceed to “be fruitful and multiply” as God intended. They have two sons, Cain and Abel.
We come upon a conversation between God and Cain, after each brother had made an offering to God. God did not accept Cain’s offering. And Cain became very angry. In the next scene, we find God asking a searching question:
“Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? (Genesis 4:6 NLT)
There has been much speculation about why God’s response differed for each brother’s offering. However, in reading this passage, I marvel at God’s pursuing love. He takes this opportunity to speak to Cain’s heart. To give him a chance to turn things around.
Listen again. Can you hear the love, the kind desire to see this son of God be victorious over sin?
“Why are you angry?” the Lord asked him. “Why is your face so dark with rage? It can be bright with joy if you will do what you should! But if you refuse to obey, watch out. Sin is waiting to attack you, longing to destroy you. But you can conquer it!” (Genesis 4:6,7 The Living Bible)
Unfortunately, Cain doesn’t respond to this loving discipline. And when he goes to take matters into His own hands, God remains true to His character. He comes to find Cain and ask him what has happened.
God could be very angry at this point, and maybe He was, but His questions and His actions toward Cain are marked with mercy.
(These questions of God have been hard, but not harsh. I challenged myself to answer this particular question: “Why are you so angry?” in my journal. At first, I didn’t know if I’d have an answer. I am not very good at “dealing” with my anger. I ignore it, stuff it, hold it under water hoping it will drown, but then it explodes like a bomb, with lots of pain and fallout. But writing about it was a release, so I encourage you or even dare you to answer this question in the presence of our merciful Father and see where He takes you.)
What do you do with your anger?