One of the best books I read on Ruth in my research was John Piper’s A Sweet and Bitter Providence. I was especially touched deep in my soul by his words on the power of the Word of God, and I wanted to share them with you.
I recently taught on the book of Hebrews, and was reminded again of why I so love the opening of chapter 12. The book of Hebrews encouraged its original audience to persevere through their trials by “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2).
In our suffering, grief, and pain, Jesus is indeed the one we should focus on. The last thing we need to focus on is the “why” of our suffering or the “who” of it. Jesus alone can help us overcome and conquer the worst that life and Satan can throw at us.
The opening narrative of 1 Kings is one I never heard in Sunday school or VBS—or in any sermon, for that matter. It’s ripe with all the things we tend to keep away from children: sleazy back room politics, royal family intrigue, threats of murder and assassination, and a national beauty pageant (the winner of which gets to sleep in the old king’s bed).
The opening scene depicts King David in a pathetic state; his once vigorous, battle-tested body can longer keep him warm. Winters in Israel had the tendency of turning stone palaces into cold refrigerators. But it seems there was a second motive for finding a young virgin to keep David warm. In the thinking of the day, if a king was no longer sexually virile, he wasn’t fit to serve (we haven’t come that far; few are surprised when our government leaders are ensnared in sex scandals). When Adonijah learned that the young virgin Abishag had failed to arouse his father, he set about seizing the kingdom himself, thinking it was his right as the next in line.
Amazon.com has been in the news recently over its ongoing battle with Hachette Publishing, one of the “Big 5″ publishers in the U.S. As I understand it, at issue is who will control pricing of Hachette’s eBooks—Hachette or Amazon. Amazon wants control over pricing presumably to make books more affordable to their customers, while Hachette’s PR machine is advocating a dooms-day scenario should Amazon be given complete control over the publishing universe.
Since I am a veteran of the book publishing industry for all of 19 months, I wanted to weigh in on my relationship with Amazon… as a customer, author, and now publisher.
© 2010–2014 by Michael Whitworth. All rights reserved.