Second Reformed Church

Friday, May 13, 2016

Review: "Portraits of Faith"

Portraits of Faith:  What Five Biblical Characters Teach Us about Our Life with God by Joel Beeke is his third collection of addresses that he gave at the Aber Conference over the past years (xi).
In this volume, Dr. Beeke begins by looking at what faith is – showing that it is a much larger word that one would first understand it to be – not to say that the author of Hebrews got it wrong, but faith is big, as God is bigger than we imagine.
In the first address, he considers Adam and Eve and how they heard the condemnation of God for their sin and the promise of the seed to come to conquer the serpent and restore the elect to a right standing with God.  This is the child-like faith that we are called to in Christ – to believe God, our Father, because of Who He is.
Then, he looks at the submissive faith of the Shunammite woman, as he shows that faith in God submits to His will, receives it as from Him and good, not matter what suffering it may be – as one can only do who knows something of the character of God.
In the third address, he considers the mature faith of the Canaanite woman – in that passage where Jesus calls her a dog and, initially, does not seem willing to help her.  Her faith is the faith of one who has lived in faith and knows God well enough not to let go until He gives an answer in accordance with Who He is.
Finally, he looks at Caleb and his persevering faith – who for forty-five years argued against the “nay-sayers” and went forward, believing God’s promises, because God cannot lie – so, if God has said, “this shall be,” it shall be so, no matter how it may look.
The book ends with a discussion guide for individual and/or group reflection.
I have profited by Dr. Beeke’s books in the past, and this is no exception.  I found myself encouraged and strengthen not to rely on my eyes, but to look to Who God is, what He has done, and what He has promised, believing in faith that everything comes to pass as God wills it. 
May this book be used to grow and mature the faith of those who read it.
[This review appears on my blog and  I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.]

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