When God pretends that he doesn’t know, as He did when he asked Cain “where is your brother?”, He really knows all things because he searches the hearts and reins. He simply wanted to give Cain the opportunity to confess his sin and seek forgiveness.
When God pretends to want or need sacrifices as He pretended to want Abraham to offer his only son Isaac as a burnt offering, He takes no pleasure in burnt (or human) sacrifices. He only wanted to expose, reward, and bless Abraham’s love and faithfulness by later making Abraham the father of His only Son—the incarnate God–who is the true sacrifice for mankind.
When God pretends to be in need, as He did when He asked the Samaritan woman to give Him water at the well, He really needs nothing from anyone. He is the Giver of life and every good gift. He simply wanted to give the woman Living Water and eternal life.
When God pretends He doesn’t have a solution as He did when He asked Phillip how they will feed the multitudes at the sermon on the mount, God has a perfect solution for everything. He simply wanted to see if Phillip’s solution would involve Him.
When God pretends to not care, as He did when He said to the Canaanite woman,“It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs,” He cares like no other. He said “Though she [a mother] may forget, I will not forget you!” God simply wanted to test (or rather expose) the woman’s faith in His love, compassion, and healing power.
When God pretends to sleep as He did when He slept while the ship was about to collapse in the storm, He really doesn’t sleep. He who watches over Israel will neither sleep nor slumber. He simply wanted all in the ship to know He has Divine power over any sea or storm and all creation.
When God pretends to not be present (in time of need), as He did when His friend Lazarus was dying, He is really omnipresent and His Glory fills the heavens and earth. He did it so that all who witness the miracle of raising of Lazarus from the dead–including Lazarus himself–would know that He has power over death. He did it so that all would know that He is Resurrection and the Life.
There are many other Biblical examples where God simply pretends, in order to test, teach, sometimes rebuke, expose, purify, and eventually reward and bless those around Him. He did so with the Samaritan woman, when He asked her to call her husband, knowing very well she had no husband, in order to gently lead her to repentance. He did so when He asked “who touched me” knowing very well it was the woman with the issue of blood, in order to expose her faith and reassure her of His healing. He did so with the two disciples of Emmaus as He pretended to be a perfect stranger to them until they invited Him in and He opened their eyes to His resurrection–as He rebuked their unbelief. He did so with Peter when He asked him three times if he loved Him, knowing very well that Peter would eventually die for Him. He did so to allow Peter to reaffirm his love for Him three times, after denying Him three times. This was also a gentle rebuke from Christ for Peter’s denial.These were just a few among other Biblical examples where God simply and clearly “pretends”.
When God pretends that He doesn’t know, hear, see or care about you, it is so that He can also test and purify (and sometimes expose) your faith in His love, compassion, mercy, and power. Rather than despair and walk away from Him empty-handed with disappointment–and thus fail his test, cling to Him and His promises even tighter. This is what Jacob did when he wrestled with God and said “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” After that, wait on the Lord, confident in His unfailing mercy and infinite power–fully assured that His deliverance and healing is on its way quickly!