Dear Grace Baptist Church Family,
I think you know what a “rhetorical question” is. Here is the definition: “A rhetorical question is a figure of speech in the form of a question that is asked to make a point rather than to elicit an answer.” You are not really expected to give an answer to this sort of question.
There is a longer section of Scripture in which we see this. It is Job 38:1–42:6. As you read through this you will find over 70 questions that God asks Job. I think as you read this you will also find that there is no real way to answer the questions that God asks. That is why I take them as rhetorical. Now, Job did respond to God on two occasions. In them you will find agreement and repentance—which are the only two ways we should respond to God when He confronts us. We should agree with what God says (the implication is that what God does is just and right whether we think so or not) and we should repent of any attitude toward God that is less than trust and worship.
Notice a commentary on this passage in one commentary:
What was the purpose of God’s rebuking response? By displaying His power and wisdom, God showed Job his ignorance and impatience. How could Job comprehend or control God’s ways with man, when he could not comprehend or control God’s government in nature? Since Job could not answer God on these matters how could he hope to debate with God? Since God has His own ways and designs in the sky and with animals, does He not also have His own purposes in His dealings with people? Though people cannot understand God’s doings, they can trust Him. Worship should stem from an appreciation of God Himself, not a comprehension of all God’s ways. Though puzzled, people should still praise. (Zuck, Roy B. “Job.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 1. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 766. Print.)
Misfortune does not mean God has forsaken His own. It does mean He has plans that the sufferer may know nothing of. A believer’s unmerited tragedy may never be fully understood. Yet he can realize that God is in charge, that God still loves him and cares for him.
So here in God’s Word we find the answer to the unanswerable question of why God does what He does or allows what He allows. It is really a question of trust when we do not understand. And we actually do not understand. His ways are not our ways, they are past finding out.
Perhaps this is not what you are hoping to hear when you are asking “why?”. There are many other aspects to this beyond what I have shared with you here. But if we simply get to the place of complete trust and genuine worship it will literally change our viewpoint. And in this we will discover that there is no room for bitterness in our lives. There is no reason for us to forsake our faith in God. There is no question that God is God.
I am humbled and encouraged to consider this. I hope you are as well.
In closing, I encourage you to pray for our services, for our church and for me as well. Would you take a few private moments between now and Sunday morning to pray?
I look forward to worshipping the Lord together with you this Sunday. Please join us.
Dr. Wynne Kimbrough is the editor of this resource.
Some of the articles are written by him, others are found and shared with permission from the original authors, some of who wish to remain anonymous.
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