Lessons From the Old Testament: Being Honest With God

We have a record of the private thoughts of saints made public in the Psalms.  And some of the things they utter to God seem blasphemous to us.  For example:

Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? (Psalm 10:1)

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest. (Psalm 22:1,2)

All this came upon us, though we had not forgotten you; we had not been false to your covenant. Our hearts had not turned back; our feet had not strayed from your path. But you crushed us and made us a haunt for jackals; you covered us over with deep darkness. If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart? Yet for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever. Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression? (Psalm 44:17-24)

Job is perhaps the most blunt when he says to God, among other things,

Even if I summoned him and he responded, I do not believe he would give me a hearing. He would crush me with a storm and multiply my wounds for no reason. It is all the same; that is why I say,  ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’ (Job 9:16-17,22)

Why does God allow this kind of talk?  Is He encouraging us to say irreverent things about Him?  I would say rather that He is encouraging us not to think that we can conceal any of our thoughts from Him and that if we have a problem with Him we ought to speak it to Him.  If I have a problem with you but never let  you know it and simply allow the hurt and anger to build up inside, I will never be able to have a healthy relationship with you.  Instead, it will always be attended by bitterness and distrust.  And if I tell my concerns with you to others, I am guilty of slander.  The only way to get our relationship right is to go to you with my issues against you.  I may find out I was right or wrong.  But respect for our relationship means I will talk honestly with you.

The same is true of our relationship with God.  He does not want us to think wrong things about Him, but if we do, we need to take it to the only One who can correct our wrong viewpoint.  He already knows what we are thinking (Psalm 139).  To keep it locked inside for fear that we are going to offend God is futile.  If He is going to be offended He is offended by the thoughts He is already reading.  So take it to Him.  He is strong enough to handle anything we could think or say.  Bringing it verbally to Him is saying we care enough about our relationship with Him that we are willing to work it through to reconciliation.  This is what Job did and God commended him for this (Job 42:7). 

So free yourself up with the knowledge that God wants to hear whatever is in your heart.  Become totally honest with Him and it is like opening up your heart for God to bring His healing.

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About thimblefulloftheology

Staff pastor of an evangelical church in Collierville TN just outside of Memphis. Married with four grown children, all married. Thrilled with life in Jesus Christ. View all posts by thimblefulloftheology

3 responses to “Lessons From the Old Testament: Being Honest With God

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