Book Review: Mysterious Ways

Before the year ends, God has graciously and providentially brought this book to my shelf and to my heart.

This book, Mysterious Ways by David Kingdon (you can order the book here, though I received it for free), I would say, is written in the tradition of the Puritans (he quoted from John Flavel’s The Mystery of Providence)! After reading the book, one would realize that what Sinclair Ferguson wrote in the foreword to this book proves true in saying, “its value is much greater than its size.” It is a short book with so much heart and grace inside. This book is indeed a great one to read that I can hardly put down when I set my eyes on its pages.

The book has nine chapters. The first chapter shows the big picture of Joseph’s life—it is under God’s providence. Though it seems baffling, yet we must ‘trust when we cannot trace.’ There is more to God’s providence than a definition that we confess. It is mysterious, yet it is for our good. It addresses almost every issue of life that understanding God’s providence has personal, ministerial, pastoral, ecclesiastical, and practical implications.

Chapters 2-3 expound Joseph’s life from the time that he was sold to be a slave till he was imprisoned unjustly. Lest we think that God is not with Joseph, the author tells us that God, at that moment, never put His servant where He is not (p.13), and enrolled him in the LORD’s school of adversity. A school where we never graduate in this side of glory.

In Chapter 4, when Joseph was exalted from prison to palace, we’ll learn that providence is always to be interpreted backward (p. 36). We cannot see what lies ahead and it proves that God’s ways are not like ours. God prepared Joseph long enough that he may learn the beauty of God’s providential care.

Chapters 5-7 show us how Joseph dealt with his brothers during the severe famine as one who was in a high position who can in fact do whatever he wanted. But he sought their repentance, preservation, and provision as God graciously provided His. He acted as a physician to their souls, reminiscent of Christ’s healing and reviving grace upon dead sinners.

Chapter 8-9 teach us six precious truths about God’s providence, that it is all-inclusive, looks a great way forward, operates for the good of His people, leaves to God’s hand the rightings of wrongs, overrules men’s malice, and teaches us to repay evil with practical love. The author’s dealing with the issue of sin and God’s providence is also commendable in that sin and evil serve God’s purpose. Though we cannot understand how it is possible, yet we must submit to God’s providential care. If we think that the afflictions that we currently experience are too much, look at the cross!

This book ministered to me personally, especially whenever the author applies the balm of God’s grace in Christ after he exposes my real insensitivity to God’s providence. Read it for yourself and you’ll testify that it is a fitting read to prepare you for the coming year under the hands of the Sovereign God.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

William Cowper (1731-1800)

These are my top six favorite quotes from the book:

"Enjoy His presence in your immediate circumstance, and forsake the folly of rebelling against God's providence. The way of wisdom lies in accepting God's providence, not in kicking against it." [13]
"For reasons best known to Himself, God seldom reveals to His servants in advance what His providential purpose is. He expects us to trust Him, to take what we know of His revealed character as righteous and faithful, and to let that be our guide when life seems more of a maze than a straight path to heaven." [18]
"We make submission to God's will harder if we insist on evaluating our circumstances in terms of whether or not they contribute to our happiness or our comfort. If we judge things by this consideration when are in the school of adversity, one thing is certain: we shall rebel, rather than submit to God's will." [28]

“The essential thing for a would-be Christian leader is to be a ready learner in the school of adversity—to submit to God’s process of fashioning His servant for the work He has in view for Him. How long God keeps anyone in this school is His business—not ours!” [38]

"Because mystery attaches to the operations of God's providence, it is not surprising that objections should arise in the minds of carnal people who are not prepared to live with mystery... For the believer, facing the mystery of God's providence, the right approach is to realize that God is God." [79]
"Now we in our self-centeredness have a habitual tendency to measure things solely by how they affect us personally. But if we are Christians, are we not members of Christ's body, the church, and therefore members one of another (Eph 4:25)? Should we not, then think much less of our own good, our own comfort, than of the good of the church and the furtherance of the gospel?" [85]

To God be the glory!

Published by Jeff Chavez

Sinner saved by grace

11 thoughts on “Book Review: Mysterious Ways

              1. Wow thanks for reminding I need to do this. I feel I always have a Dozen idea of a post but I need to write them down to write about it or else I forget!! Lord willing I write a book review

                Liked by 1 person

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