A Sweet and Bitter Providence: Sex, Race, and the Sovereignty of God - unabridged audiobook on CD
I recently finished listening to the audiobook version of A Sweet & Bitter Providence by John Piper. The audiobook is available through Christianaudio.com for purchase either on CD or in digital download form. The book, which is narrated by Grover Gardner, is an exposition of the Old Testament book of Ruth told in a very readable (or in this case listenable) form. I downloaded the audiobook from Christianaudio.com and listened to it on my iPod during longer drives in the car and while sitting at my desk in my office. The chapters are bite sized enough to enjoy one section at a time.One of the things I enjoyed most about the book was how the author showed this ancient book to be so very relevant in todays world. Piper does a wonderful job of showing that this is no mere ancient love story. As the books subtitle suggests, Ruth is a story that speaks to our human struggles and to our understanding of Gods sovereign rule over this world.I enjoyed listening to the audiobook version of A Sweet & Bitter Providence. I would recommend this audiobook especially to those who may be new to audiobooks due to the relative shortness of this work.Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Christianaudio as part of their Reviewers Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
January 20, 2010
I've loved the story of Ruth ever since I heard about it in Sunday School. Ruth, the Moabite widow, leaves her family to stay with her widowed Jewish mother-in-law Naomi. Many things transpire in the book, but in short, Ruth meets Boaz and marries into the lineage of Christ. A Sweet and Bitter Providence covers the book of Ruth chapter-by-chapter. John Piper discusses the issues of God's sovereignty, sexual purity, Scripture, and race. Throughout the book, Piper emphasizes how God knows the big picture. He has everything planned out despite how grim circumstances are and when God seems silent or absent. God's way is always perfect, and He will use and turn circumstances around despite bad choices. Another subject Piper touched on was the purity of Ruth's and Boaz's relationship. Ruth and Boaz portray true femininity and masculinity with their honorable and respectable conduct. I like how Piper discussed Ruth's ethnicity and how she (a Gentile) became an ancestor of Jesus. Jesus Christ has come to not only redeem Israel (God's chosen people), but the whole world.Even though this story is thousands of year old, the principles ring true today. I enjoyed listening to all the different points and perspectives Piper brought up. There are some things in this story that I never really thought of before or realized. This book was very insightful.The narrator (it wasn't John Piper) had a good pace reading pace, but his expression was little cold to me. However, his voice didn't take away from the message. I recommend listening to this audiobook as supplement to reading the book of Ruth.
January 15, 2010
Plotting. This word has negative connotations hinting that a person is scheming to cause injury. Piper uses the word to describe the way God orchestrates good and bad in a Christians life. The focus in A Sweet & Bitter Providence is on the fact that God ordains the believers life in such a way that He gets glory and the Christian is supremely happy. I like that Piper unblushingly declares that God was plotting through Ruth and Naomis pain, to glorify His name and satisfy them beyond their wildest dreams. Piper mentions that Naomi might have lost her children as a result of the sinful decision to flee Israel. This encourages me because after God made them drink the bitter cup of providence He restored to them unspeakably sweet mercies. Even though my sin is an inexcusable insult toward God, He can use it for His glory and my joy. Pipers attack on racism and sexism are not as prevalent as the subtitle leads me to believe. Piper has often said he feels unqualified to write a book on racism. This might be a backdoor attempt to address the issue through the Biblical example of Ruth and Boaz. And He does a good job showing that ethno-centrism and sexism are refuted in Ruth. The Narrator, Grover Gardner, transmits the tone and seriousness I feel Piper is trying to communicate. I highly recommend this book.
January 8, 2010
This comes from a 1985 sermon series by Piper. It is 4 sermons long and each chapter in the audio book is from one of the sermons, with slight modifications and some more stories for application. With the exception of the 5th chapter (which was the best) where Piper explains all the points of the book. You can listen to the sermon series here:http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/BySeries/57/John Piper argues that Ruth deals with the sovereignty of God, the sexual nature of man, and the gospel. Since these things never change this 3,000 year old story is still relevant to us today.This book is like a pastoral commentary. If you want deep exegesis look elsewhere, no doubt John Piper does the work of deep exegesis but his delivery is great for the average church goer (keep in mind this book is almost word for word from his sermon series on Ruth).Piper makes his argument for the sovereignty of God from all of Scripture and from there shows how this affected the lives of the characters in Ruth and how it should affect ours.I would recommend it to young and old believer. It is easy to listen to and very short compared to some of his other works. Perhaps it is a good starting place for new Piper fans (or people who dont know him), though I did enjoy this short listen.The book definitely makes a strong case that Ruth is a story that shows how God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform. It's a story for people who wonder where God is when there are no dreams or visions or prophets. It's for people who wonder where God is when one tragedy after another attacks their faith. It's a story for people who wonder whether a life of integrity in tough times is worth it. And it's a story for people who can't imagine that anything great could ever come of their ordinary lives of faith. (quote from his first sermon on Ruth)
December 30, 2009