by Philip Yancey
Yep, finally getting around to a book review. Doesn’t really help when you’re a slow reader. 🙂
So Yancey speaks of how misunderstanding in large tainted his view of the Old Testament. So he researches what ends up looking like a long book of statistics, transforming into the Old Testament tapestry which became and was Jesus.
He speaks on the books of Job, Deuteronomy, the Psalms, Ecclesisastes and the Prophets.
What hit me hardest was what I might have expected, just because they seem so cryptic…the books of the Prophets. The biggie was how Yancey learned about how the emotions of GOD are so dramatically and painfully laid out. Kinda like our parental unit telling us “this hurts me more than it hurts you”. And that when God punished Israel…exile, wandering and dying in the desert, Moses, the biggest ambassador not making it to the promised land, he did it because like as Yancey says about God, “I had no other choice”. Like a concept painfully introduced to me…”better the back side than the far side”.
The lesson drawn from Job was helpful. The response God was drawing on from Job, which although Job apparently didn’t completely live up to, was not “Why?” but “to what end”? I know I go around looking for examples of harder cases than my own, so I can motivate myself, that ‘if he or she can do it, so can I!” But as life demands, the world turns and so do we. Thank goodness for God’s rest that we can enter in now, as we watch our “mind of Christ” develop and mature more and more. For the goal is when we see God face to face! What a mind blowing reality! No one has seen God face to face in this life…something to meditate on.
I always wondered how the bad advice of Job’s friends made it into Holy scripture. Well, as far as I can see it, not just to emphasize Job’s better response by keeping it real, but also to show us the readers how guilty we are of “God helps those who help themselves” kinds of foolish advice. But let’s face it. God is a problem solver, so made in His image, we are too. But…we’re not exactly on His timetable. I keep thinking “does God really know how to make a pot (me) because it seems He keeps dropping it on the ground and starting over”. Yes, trusting the process or journey wasn’t really helpful to Job either. Kinda like Simba needing to hear from his dad, Mufasa…in the Lion King, Job desperately needed an audience with God more than anything.
I’ll stop there, so you can read the book. If you haven’t read Yancey, he is extremely well read, plays the critic to the nth degree, and grows with the reader. I’ve read a handful of his books. Makes me feel like I’m reading 10 books at once with all his references. Former editor of Christianity Today mag…and he sports a large, white afro! Much like the brilliant public television artist, Bob Ross!!
I”ll close with this…the late Ravi Zacharias, modern day Christian apologist said he couldn’t go into Scripture cold. He had a go to author who he would turn to for short stories, some fiction. So that’s why an author like Yancey is so valuable…bc he never loses sight of his need to learn. Like an inquisitive child, here is his connection with and inspiration for his readers.