Reading to Enrich Your Hearing
I'm sometimes asked to recommend books to enrich and illumine the sermons we're hearing on Sundays. Here are two volumes that I would point you to as we give our attention to Genesis 37-50 and the sermon series, Becoming A Company Of Peoples.
The Mystery of Providence, John Flavel
At the heart of the message of Genesis 37-50 is the doctrine of God's providence. And it is in this sweet doctrine that broken people may find profound consolation. Flavel, a seventeenth century puritan non-conformist pastor/preacher, says, "It is the great support and solace of the saints in all the distresses that befall them here, that there is a wise Spirit sitting in all the wheels of motion, and governing the most eccentric creatures and their most pernicious designs to blessed and happy issues . . . indeed it were not worth while to live in a world devoid of God and providence." Though the sermons recorded in The Mystery of Providence are not expositions from Genesis 37-50, but are, rather, based on Psalm 57:2 ("God fulfills His purpose for me"), they are rich in encouraging application drawn from the doctrine of the providence of God. The Mystery of Providence would be a useful devotional companion for anyone desiring to go deeper into Joseph's declaration, "you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good."
Even In Our Darkness, Jack Deere
The sub-title of Deere's personal memoir, "A story of beauty in a broken life", conveys something of its relevance to our focus on the Joseph narrative in Genesis 37-50. Jack Deere recounts the brokenness in his own marriage and family, as well as his own personal life and pastoral ministry. It is raw, unsettling, transparent, and resounding with hope in the midst of life's darkest trials. Jesus is the hero of this story. Even In Our Darkness is a contemporary Joseph's story - and every believer's story. No other book I've read so far this year (besides the Bible) has left a deeper impression.