Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:13-14) NKJV
God often reveals his nature and purposes in response to our questions. “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:8) In the womb, we begin discovering as our senses and minds develop. After birth, we are provided answers to certain tangible things with names like cat, chair, and mama, but we also learn to identify intangible, yet real, things with names like no, please, and love. We go through various stages of testing answers handed to us until we settle on explanations we can live with. One of the greatest failures of modern man is our failure to challenge the status quo by asking more questions, especially about God and what it means to be human.
Things we stop paying attention to are often taken for granted despite being unexplored or properly understood. Although we generally function quite well without paying attention or being subject-matter experts in all things, understanding can often be a matter of life and death in relationships. If I stop paying attention to my wife, children, or neighbors, it means I have stopped asking questions about them, for love tends to atrophy apart from inquiry. How can we open our hearts to best understand our family or neighbors apart from clear eyed observation?
Questions have the potential to create new beginnings when the answers come. This was true for Moses and is true for us. If we are going to understand who God is, we must first acknowledge His authority to define Himself and secondly pay attention to His answers we have waited to receive. (Isaiah 64:4) True wisdom and justice allude men who define God by cheap, inaccurate, or incomplete definitions, for He chooses to reveal himself to those who seek His face, and His final answer is always Jesus. (Psalm 24:6 Matthew 11:27) At the very least, the story of the burning bush reveals just how important questions are, for the answers we receive and believe become the foundations on which everything else is built.
We hesitate to push through the walls of our ignorance because we are afraid of what waits beyond, and our proud desire to seem requires much less effort than the discipline to become. Known risks are more acceptable than unknown risks, so we default to comfort zones. But is mediocrity what we really want? Do we simply want to eat and breathe and then die without experiencing the good fruit of knowledge and wisdom picked by our questions?
Not understanding cats, chairs, and most things on a deep level is likely inconsequential, but not attempting to ask questions of and understanding God is quite another. Questions create a tension only released with answers. When our hearts cry out for meaning, God’s answer is “I AM.” When we ask which path leads to life, God’s answer is “I AM.” When we ask, “who knows all of our darkest secrets, yet is still singing over us?” God’s answer is “I AM.” When we ask, “Who is responsible for providing the Spotless Lamb?” God’s answer is “I AM.” Questions matter.
– Richard Harwood from The Guild