Questions that the Lord Asks
John Wright Follette
There are two levels of truth in the field of spiritual reality.
Because this is not understood, many within the Body of Christ
are starved for spiritual food. Not for the milk of the Word,
which is received on the level of our salvation experience,
but for meat and strong meat, which are available only in
the realm of Kingdom life, light, and truth.
When Jesus spoke about our coming into His Kingdom, He was
not referring to heaven, but to this vast realm of Kingdom
living in which we have submitted ourselves to His governmental
There are natural laws which God has established for our
well being, such as the law of gravity. We are to rightly
respond to these, yet at the same time be able to say, "This
is not my realm, I live with Him in the Kingdom."
In the realm of the Spirit there are discoveries of principles,
methods, and laws, which are just as real as those in the
natural realm, but are abstract and spiritual. These are made
known to us in various ways. For example, in the Word, the
Lord asks a question which provokes an answer that becomes
a confession, or platform upon which a blessing falls. From
this, the Lord is able to work out a higher purpose. This
is a spiritual principle used by the Lord to effect our spiritual
growth and well being. There are three occasions in Scripture
where this pattern applies.
The first, "Where are you?" speaks of our position.
This question is intended to unmask all that is hidden within
us by the artificial coverings we have created. Only after
we remove these "masks" and become honest before
the Lord can we truly say, "Here I am."
The Lord had said to Adam, "In the day that you eat
thereof, you will surely die." Testing is on the part
of God, but temptation is from the enemy. The tree of the
knowledge of good and evil was placed in the Garden of Eden
for a specific reason, for Adam's (our) testing and proving.
Our obedience to the Word of the Lord concerning this process
of being tested will release us into a higher level in our
spiritual life and development. The enemy takes advantage
of the same arrangement and uses it to kill and destroy."
The Lord said, "If you partake, you will die."
He did not say, "You will fall from grace." This
is the reason modern religion does not like the words "sin"
and "cross." What is it that dies? It is the lovely
spirit of life and truth that actuated Adam.
Adam did not physically die when he partook, but lived for
hundreds of years. Rather, he died spiritually. That is, all
spiritual contact with God was severed through his disobedience
and he was left a sub-normal being.
We are made spirit, soul, and body. The spiritual level of
our being is where the Holy Spirit seeks to dwell. Even intelligent
people, if they have not the Spirit of Christ in them, are
sub-normal because their spiritual life has been cancelled.
They have mental and psychic life, and are able to move in
the realm of religion, but not in spirituality.
When Adam partook and discovered the terrible condition in
which he found himself, there should have been a repentant
response; "Lord, we have sinned." But human nature
will not do this, it substitutes the natural; "Let us
make a covering of leaves." They sought to take from
the earth the material to make a covering to come before God.
This is unacceptable, so the Lord must clothe them.
Adam did not have the courage to come to the Lord, so He
made skirts and hid behind the trees. The Word tells us, "because
he was naked." This was not a physical nakedness, but
the discovery of a terrible failure, a nakedness as to any
access to God.
The man whom God had created for His glory is hiding, he
who was to carry not only the nature of the human, but the
character qualities that would come up under the pressure
of testing and proving and blossom before Him into glory.
The Lord had said, "Let Us make man in Our image and
likeness." This is a moral and spiritual likeness; the
impact of a personality that would line up with Him so there
might be intelligent communication and fellowship.
It is the Lord who takes the initiative, for man would never
return on his own. It is always the Eternal seeking God, saying,
"Oh Adam, where are you? The Lord slew an animal, and
Adam was covered with its skin, the unveiling of the Lamb
of God who was slain from the foundation of the world, finding
its first place.
"Where are you?" This is the first question that
is asked each of us in our spiritual development. When asked
this question, we too must answer. We are to confess the things
which brought us to the position in which we find ourselves.
Thus, a question concerning our "position" provokes
an answer, which becomes the platform upon which God may once
again restore and bless.
The second question is, "What is your name?
This person has already moved from his position of failure
and death, and has been lifted into another level. There is
something he is to learn, which has to do with his "condition."
"And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled
a man with him until the breaking of the
day" Gen 32:24.
Jacob has had many experiences with God. But to take him further,
the Lord had to make an arrangement so he would be alone,
under great pressure. Jacob had a way of working himself through
difficulties, as he was a manipulator. Thus, only the Lord
could get him into a place where none of his natural abilities
"Jacob was left alone." This is not an accident,
but an arrangement of God whereby every last thing Jacob had
as a source of comfort or solace was removed.
"There wrestled a man with him." The initiative
is with the Lord. It had taken the Lord a long time to get
Jacob into a place where He could deal with him. Jacob had
prayed to know the Lord, but had been so busy that He had
been unable to answer. Now the Lord has his attention.
"Jacob, I am sending a special messenger who will wrestle
with you until you are in a position where I can reach you."
In response, Jacob begins to wrestle too.
"And when he (the angel) saw that he prevailed
not against him (Jacob), he touched the hollow
of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh
was out of joint, as he wrestled with him"
Gen 32:25 (Parenthesis added).
Paul says, "All things happen as an admonition for us."
We are still in the flesh and if we respond on this level,
the Lord may need to put our "hip" out of joint
in order to get our attention and overcome our self abilities.
Jacob limped ever afterward. What is the Lord saying? "Remember
where you were, Jacob, and stay put."
And the angel said, "Let me go, for the day breaketh."
And Jacob said, "I will not let you go, except you bless
me." The Lord responded, "Do you really want to
be blessed? What is your name?"
The Lord was seeking a confession. Names reveal a person's
character. Jacob means "deceiver, a deceptive, subtle
one." Who would want to say, "Dear Lord, I am a
deceiver." But Jacob rightly responded, "Jacob."
He could not get through to God, nor could God reach him,
until he had been brought to the place where he was able to
make this confession.
"What is your name?" "Jacob." The answer
became a platform upon which God changed his character.
"And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob,
but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God
and with men, and hast prevailed" Gen 32:28.
Because Jacob humbled himself and responded in obedience,
the Lord was able to lift him into a new dimension of life
The first question involved our position, the second our
condition; and now the third, our provision.
"When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a
great company come unto him, He saith unto
Philip, whence shall we buy bread, that
these may eat? John 6:5.
Here, the Lord of Heaven, all supply for all eternity, is
saying, "Philip, what will you do?"
"Philip answered Him, two hundred pennyworth of
bread is not sufficient for them, that every one
of them may take a little" John 6:7.
Immediately, Philip reverts to his natural limited resources
in the presence of the "Whole Loaf" of the Bread
of Heaven. He is not able to see the eternal supply because
he is centered in his own limited interpretation of the problem
and is "counting" instead of saying to the Lord,
"we have seen you work before. This is quite impossible
to us. Will you be the host and feed them?"
Philip cannot do this; he is not yet advanced enough. The
other disciples also tried to help Philip out of this difficulty.
"One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother,
saith unto Him, There is a lad here, which hath
five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what
are they among so many?" John 6:9.
They all failed because they are self-conscious of their
Notice that there are seven items, five loaves and two fishes.
Five and two make seven, which speaks of completion. We are
not to fall back upon counting our limitations. I have "this
and this," but I cannot make it come out to meet the
need. We never will. We have counted our limitations, yet
we did not count in "The Loaf of Bread" who is standing
at our side.
Jesus was not concerned about their limitations, but He was
very concerned that they recognize Him. The next time we are
tempted to count our limitations, count them in His presence,
then look up and say, "Thank you Lord, I am counting
You in on this."
We tend to fall back on our seeming limitations because it
brings a certain reaction. There is within each one of us
a sense of justification in feeling the power of distress.
Some of us are only happy when we strike this note, so self-pity
can come in. Feeling sorry for ourselves will utterly defeat
Matthew adds a further touch to this.
"And when it was evening, His disciples came to Him,
saying, this is a desert place and the time is now
past; Send the multitude away, that they may go
into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.
But Jesus said unto them, they need not depart;
give ye them to eat" Matt 14:15-16.
Jesus did not say, "Let Me feed them." Rather,
He said, "YOU give them to eat."
When faced with responsibility, the disciple will seek a
way of escape by projecting the need to another. They said,
"Send these hungry people to the villages that they may
What are these villages? All too often, we have sent the
hunger of our heart to strange places for its satisfaction.
These are distant ministries where we think we might find
the answer for the need at hand. The hunger is within us,
and we must do the giving, and stop sending it to the villages
as an escape mechanism.
Why were those discouraged disciples so quick to leave Jerusalem
and make their way to Emmaus? Because Emmaus is an escape
mechanism. They felt an atmosphere of defeat and failure in
Jerusalem, where their glorious idea of a Kingdom had seemingly
exploded. The Messiah they followed was dead. The handful
of disciples was completely reduced, with all hope, on a natural
basis, swept out from under them. All the things they had
desired were wrecked.
He may do this to one of us sometime, but do not despair.
Anyone can receive a blessing and stand, but few can take
a defeat and live, because they do not know how. This is why
the Lord is not able to trust some of us with sufferings,
trials, and disciplines. He cannot, because we have not been
"tempered" for it. He can trust the multitude with
the blessing, but there are so few to whom He can say, "Will
you watch with me one hour?"
Think of the "villages" to which you have sent
your heart, your mind, your spirit. Each one of us is guilty
of this. We try to project "our present hunger"
into another field, lest it would cost us something to have
it fed properly. We would rather have a substitute. So we
say, "I will send them over there," but Jesus had
said, "Give ye them to eat."
These disciples saw only their limitations and said, "We
have here but 5 loaves and 2 fishes." This confession
opened the door for all that follows. Jesus responded, "Bring
them hither to me." This required an absolute surrender
of that which they had, and placed in the hands of the Lord.
He is saying, "Would you dare to surrender all that
you have to me? Will you place it into my hands?" This
is a stripping that few will take. Five loaves, two fishes,
the completion of all that we have, but placed in His hands
will become enough to satisfy every hunger and urge we could