October 24, 2006

First Take: "The Hand of God"

As you know, I got my hands on another new Banner of Truth book last week with it's arrival in our warehouse - "The Hand of God: The Comfort of Having a Sovereign God," by Frederick Leahy.
After only reading a few pages, I ran downstairs to the staff here at Banner U.S., "Did you know about this book?" I asked. I then read from our tribute to this author. "After he handed the package (the manuscript for this book) across the post-office counter, his wife Margaret, who was with him, suggested he might buy a new notebook to begin his next book. He paused before replying, 'Margaret, I think I've said all I want to say.' That evening he entered his eternal rest." He was 83. Clearly, in the providence of God, this book was not to go undone!
Today, I am about half way through this 207-page paperback. If this tells you anything about what I think, I am buying five copies so that my wife, our three daughters and I can read through its ten chapters in the next ten weeks. I have long thought that the sovereignty of God, the doctrine that some squirm over, is one of the most comforting truths in Scripture. When I was laid off and without a job for seven months ten years ago, I clung to the fact that God is sovereign. When my dad was diagnosed with cancer, when my mom was killed in a car accident, and now as I look toward sending our firstborn baby to college, God's sovereignty is an amazing comfort and strength, that which enables me to rest. In another excellent new Banner book, "Elizabeth Prentiss: More Love to Thee," I saw a similar impact of this truth on her life. And as Leahy wrote, "In this book, my aim is to show that the sovereignty of God, as revealed in Scripture, is a comforting truth."
Two things have especially impressed me so far. First, this book is full of Scripture; you can't help but know that this is God's truth that we're discussing here. Leahy also weaves in some incredible and precious gems from saints who have gone before us: Calvin, Murray, Berkhof, Hodge, Shedd, Spurgeon, Bridges, Ryle, Warfield, Boice, Henry, Rutherford, Edersheim - they're all in there!
Secondly, this book clearly takes the truth of God's sovereignty and applies it in very real and practical ways to the life that I find myself living in today. For example:
- In "Chapter One: The Hand That Creates," I was challenged with my responsibility to care for the world in which I live, the sanctity of life vs. abortion, and even my mental purity in an age of increasing access to pornography.
- In "Chapter Two: The Hand That Governs," Leahy faces the fact of tsunamis and holocausts head on, and addresses the classic unbeliever's statement, "Do you ever read the newspaper or watch the news? Either this God of yours is a cruel, heartless tyrant, or so feeble that he is not able to govern."
- In "Chapter Three: The Hand That Provides, " Leahy brings in the subjects of work, laziness, gambling and the important role of prayer.
- Ahhh, and just wait until you get to "Chapter Four: The Hand That Redeems."
Other chapter headings include the hand that keeps, guides, chastens, blesses, enables, and judges, with an epilogue that's simply titled, "Comfort."
Without a doubt, the Burlew family will begin our ten-week read this week, reading a chapter each week, coming together on Sunday to discuss. God truly is sovereign, and that fact is so relevant, and is to make such a difference in our day-to-day lives here in this contemporary world. What better discussion might we have as a family? Leahy's book will serve us well as a great guide. For more information, click here.


Jim Kang said...

Looks like a great book. Another book to add on my reading list. Thanks for your encouraging words on my blog. Press on brother.

Rory Shiner said...

Hi Steve,

Thanks for popping in at Frankly, Mr Shankly. Good to discover your blog that way. I have posted a belated reply.