Feb. 17, 2017

It's okay to ask God a question, but not to question God.

Mark 2:13-28 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

And He went out again by the seashore; and all the people were coming to Him, and He was teaching them. 14 As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him.

15 And it happened that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him. 16 When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

18 John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and they came and said to Him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “While the bridegroom is with them, the attendants of the bridegroom cannot fast, can they? So long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.

21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; otherwise the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear results. 22 No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins as well; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.”

23 And it happened that He was passing through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples began to make their way along while picking the heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees were saying to Him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25 And He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions became hungry; 26 how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?” 27 Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”


In today’s text Jesus was asked why? First the scribes and the by Pharisees, who said:  “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?”   Then later by the disciples of John the Baptist and the Pharisees, who said:  “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?”      It’s okay to ask God a question about something we don’t understand. James 1:5 says:   If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.    It is one thing to ask a question of God it is another thing to question God. The psalmist often questioned why God did or did not do something, but he never questioned God. In Psalm 10:1, he begins:   Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?  He ends that psalm saying:   The Lord is King forever and ever; Nations have perished from His land. O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear
To vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, So that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror.

God will not strike us down if we question why something is happening. There are times that we may be given a clear answer. Other times God may only reveal in part, knowing that we are not ready to know everything. If the Israelites would have known that the army of Egypt would pursue them, they would not have left. God gives us the revelation and understanding we need for the time we are in. Still, in some cases we simply must trust that as He says in Isaiah 55:8-9:    “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.”   The most important thing is that even when we don’t fully understand something, we fully trust in God. Jeremiah 29:11 says:  “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”       Romans 8:28-29 says:    we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren           In the end, regardless of what we go through, if we submit to God and trust in Him we become more like Christ. Philippians 2:5-8 says:   Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.    

More important than if we question God, is how we answer Him. When God asks us to do something, it is impossible to say no Lord. If He is truly our Lord, even when we don’t understand, even if we have doubts or questions we will trust and obey Him.  Jesus never promised a life free from difficulties, trials and tribulation. In fact when He was speaking to His disciples in His last hours before the cross, He said:   These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)    Regardless of what we are going through, regardless of whether or not we understand why and what is happening, we have the confidence of knowing that Jesus has already overcome it through His obedience and death on the cross. All we need to do is to trust and obey.

May the words of the hymn, written in 1887 by John Sammis, be our prayer today.

  1. When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
    What a glory He sheds on our way!
    While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
    And with all who will trust and obey.
  • Refrain:
    Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
    To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
  1. Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
    But His smile quickly drives it away;
    Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
    Can abide while we trust and obey.
  2. Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
    But our toil He doth richly repay;
    Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
    But is blessed if we trust and obey.
  3. But we never can prove the delights of His love
    Until all on the altar we lay;
    For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
    Are for them who will trust and obey.
  4. Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
    Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
    What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
    Never fear, only trust and obey.     Amen.