Thursday, September 13, 2018

Book Review: The Hand of God

The Hand of God. Alistair Begg. 1999/2018. Moody Publishers. 204 pages. [Source: Review copy] 

First sentence: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” —Romans 8:28 Those who have been Christians for any length of time may find that the page in their Bible which contains this verse is a little worn, even smudged—and with good reason. The implications of God’s providence are staggering, because they impact every area and every moment of our lives. This truth is one that separates believers from unbelievers.

The Hand of God by Alistair Begg is a book about the Providence of God; specifically it is about the Providence of God as illustrated through the life of Joseph. The book is about Joseph--son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham--but it is also about God's providence in general: how believers can draw comfort from the doctrine. Begg argues that studying the life of Joseph is like seeing the truth of Romans 8:28 lived out and "with skin on."
Joseph hadn’t read Romans 8:28. He didn’t have it hanging on the wall of his dungeon. But he understood the truth behind it, and even in the worst of human circumstances, he displayed patient endurance and quiet confidence.
The PROVIDENCE of God isn't a doctrine that gets much attention from the pulpit--perhaps because  preachers are afraid of being misunderstood. If it gets little attention from the pulpit, then it gets even less from ordinary believers. Dare I say it's considered tacky to talk about God's providence?! You mean it's God's will for me to lose my job? You mean it's God's will for me to have cancer? You mean it's God's will for me that I miscarried? You mean it's God's will that the tornado destroyed my house? These are the same people who have no trouble believing that it is God's will for you to get the job, to get married, to have a baby, to move to a better house, to always be healthy.
How did we arrive at the conclusion that following Christ is a walk in the park? Where did we get the idea that serving Christ is a guarantee against trial, pain, and persecution? We didn’t get it from Jesus. He guarantees just the opposite: “In this world you will have trouble” ( John 16:33).
I hope that Begg's study on Providence will persuade readers that this is an EXCELLENT, comforting, blessed doctrine.

We often ask God to remove the problem from us or remove us from the problem. But most of the time what God does with His children is change their attitudes toward the circumstances in which they find themselves.
Do you understand that you were made to bring Him glory? This means that every matter you deal with, every moment you spend, every move you make is an opportunity to bring glory and praise to God.
If you listen to the Word of God in a sermon with an angry heart, you will hear the pastor talking, but you will not hear the Word of God to your spirit.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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