Book Review: A Sweet and Bitter Providence

Audiobook: provided for review from www.christianaudio.com

A Sweet and Bitter Providence by John Piper

I was recently invited to join the Christianaudio.com reviewer’s program. I was delighted to join them as I have been listening to their audiobooks for over a year now. One of the first titles offered for review (to me) was A Sweet & Bitter Providence by John Piper.  This volume is narrated by Grover Gardner, who must narrate on a regular bookcoverbasis, I recognized him from the spiritual theology series by Eugene Peterson that I listened to last spring among other titles as well. Speaking of the narration, Gardner is rapidly becoming to me as Morgan Freeman is becoming the next James Earl Jones for the Madison Avenue crowd. Grover Gardner’s voice is very easy to listen to and he is very capable of reading the written story in an audible form that invites you into the story…very conversational and engaging.

The work itself, A Sweet & Bitter Providence, is a wonderful story from the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament Scriptures. I enjoyed the exegetical and expository style of writing from Dr. Piper as he shared his insight to this great teaching about the character and providence of God. As “providence” would have it, I happened to have just finished reading the Genesis story of Joseph and was three-quarters finished with the story of Job at the time of my listening to A Sweet & Bitter Providence. These three great Bible stories together complimented one another in a beautiful way and helped me to solidify what John Piper was trying to get across to his audience.

From a technical standpoint, I appreciate the context of the MP3 files (my preferred medium). They are clearly titled and tagged for my audio player (iPod). This is important to me for filing and categorizing on my player as well as being able to have logical starting and stopping points for the chapters.

Personally, I recommend audiobooks for people who have super busy lifestyles, spend a lot of time over the road in travel, or folks who might be looking for a change from the written word. I enjoy the break in my routine and find this to be an excellent way to continue on the path of my education and make the most use of my time; I also listen to the books while dong my workouts at the gym. Thank you to Christianaudio.com for very affordable titles and a rapidly growing selection.

Summary:

Sex. Race. Scripture. Sovereignty. The book of Ruth entails them all. So readers shouldn’t be fooled by its age, says Pastor John Piper. Though its events happened over 3,000 years ago, the story holds astounding relevance for Christians in the twenty-first century.

The sovereignty of God, the sexual nature of humanity, and the gospel of God’s mercy for the undeserving-these massive realities never change. And since God is still sovereign, and we are male or female, and Jesus is alive and powerful, A Sweet and Bitter Providence bears a message for readers from all walks of life. But be warned, Piper tells his audience: This ancient love affair between Boaz and Ruth could be dangerous, inspiring all of us to great risks in the cause of love.

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