Faith and Theology: Dr. John MacArthur Q&A


Is it okay to question God?

Upon hearing that God was sending Moses to be the leader/deliverer of Israel (Ex. 3.10), his response of “Who am I…?” is an expression of inadequacy for such a serious mission. It sounded reasonable, for after 40 years of absence from Egypt, what could he, a mere shepherd of Midian, do upon return?

But was Moses crossing the line from reasonable inquiry to unreasonable doubt in 3.13? God’s patient replies instructing Moses on what He would do and what the results would be, including Israel’s being viewed with favor by the Egyptians (3.21), ought to caution the reader from hastily classifying Moses’ attitude as altogether wrong from the very beginning of the interaction between him and the Lord.

Yes, Israel might ask for God’s name in validation of Moses’ declaration that he had been sent by the God of their fathers. Asking “What is His name?” meant they sought for the relevancy of the name to their circumstances—the character, quality, or essence of a person. God’s answer was. “I AM WHO I AM” (v. 14). This name for God points to His self—existence and eternality; it denotes “I am the One who is/will be.” The significance in relation to “God of your fathers” is immediately discernible. He’s the same God throughout the ages!

A response of divine anger comes only in 4.14 at the very end of Moses’ questions and objections, where he moved beyond inquiry into objection.