Hard Questions from Kids

It’s well known that kids will ask the hardest questions. Their little minds are still open to all possibilities and they see life with such simple clarity. This allows them to ask the “inappropriate” questions about life, God, and the Bible.

Recently, one of my boys came to me with some questions about God. He admitted, openly, what some of us are unwilling to admit we think privately. He asked why we have to worship and obey a God who is so arrogant. In his words, “It seems like God is just bragging all of the time, telling us we have to do this and have to do that. Why does He get to tell us what to do?”It’s a question I think we’ve all wrestled with, and if you haven’t, then you haven’t thought about it long enough.

Our quick tendency is to just say, “Because He is God,” and sweep the question under the rug. But before we do that, let’s consider the inquiry. Why does God get to tell us what to do? Why does He even care about what we do when He is so great and powerful and needs nothing from us (cf. Acts 17.25)?

Is God arrogant? The Bible is full of passages where God tells us of His power, His majesty, and His glory. Even if God is not directly making these statements, He is inspiring these statements and preserving them for our reading. Consider God’s comments in Isaiah: “I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things” (45.5-7). If I were to go around saying such things about myself, wouldn’t we consider that arrogant? If I were to step down from the pulpit each week and say, “I am the preacher. I know the Word of God. I deliver the message week in and week out, sharing news that eternally changes the lives of all men and women. I have the answers of life,” we would all consider such words arrogant and uncomely. Even though the message is true, and none of it truly even exalts me, it shows conceit and too much focus on self.

But with God, it’s different. God’s statements of ability are always given to a people who are needing to trust in His ability to be saved. God’s statements of power are made to people who need God’s power for safety. God’s statements of righteousness are made to people who need God’s standard and example. God’s statements of “arrogance” are not made to exalt Him, but to reveal Him as the source of all that fulfills our needs. He is not exalting self to satisfy His need of praise (remember, He needs nothing from us), but He is lifting Himself up as the source of all comfort, all fulfillment, all redemption.

If my kids come to me with a root beer bottle they cannot open, and I open it with little effort, I do this to serve them, not exalt myself. If I see them struggling to open the same bottle and I tell them, “Let me have that. I can open it for you,” I am not exalting self, but telling them I am able and willing to help. God likewise comes to us, even in our darkest times, and says, “Let me have that. I can erase those sins.” He is not exalting self, but extending His hand to help. It is His willingness to help that causes us to praise Him. It is His willingness to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves that causes our obedience. He offers be our guide out of trouble and into hope that causes us to walk with Him. God does not demand praise because He is arrogant, but because He wants us to trust Him as the basis for a relationship with Him.