Though the book began shipping about two weeks ago, today is the official launch date of Bethlehem Road: A Guide to Ruth. This book began as a Kickstarter project back in the Spring, and I’m immensely grateful to everyone who helped make this book a reality. This book was a deeply personal one to write as I was reminded of the difficult road I’ve walked since Dad died, and of the difficult road many of you have walked as you’ve dealt with your own suffering.
I want to give you 3 reasons why you should read this book:
1. This book will reassure you that God is not out to get you.
This is a lie that Satan whispers in our ear when we suffer. God is not a sadistic deity who loves to inflict pain on his people. Rather, God is always at work to redeem our suffering. In the story of Ruth, Naomi believed that God’s hand had gone out against her, but that was not the case, because God was <i>for</i> this Bethlehem widow, not against her.
Maybe you need a reminder that, if you are in Christ, you don’t stand condemned before God (Rom. 8:1) and that nothing can separate you from his love (Rom 8:38-39). Maybe you have had to suffer some tragedy, and someone told you that you deserved it. I pray that <i>Bethlehem Road</i> helps expose Satan’s lie that God is out to get you, because nothing could be further from the truth.
2. This book will reaffirm that God is in complete control.
In the story of Ruth, Naomi got one thing right in her bitterness, and it’s that God was in complete control of all things. Admittedly, it’s a paradox that I can’t fully explain: God is not out to get you, but he is in control of everything that happens. But instead of focusing on all the ways God has failed me, I’d rather focus on all the ways his mysterious hand of providence has been faithful to me.
Using Ruth’s story, I try to trace how God’s mysterious providence is something that we can’t always see working, but it is there nonetheless, and we have to trust God that he knows what he is doing…because he does. Just as the story of Ruth was a prologue to the glory days of King David and the coming glory of Christ, we never know how God will redeem our past and present bitterness for future blessing. God is in complete control, and we should trust in his gracious, albeit, mysterious providence.
3. This book will call you to greater faithfulness.
It’s not the case that God always acts, and we can sit back and do nothing. Especially in our despondency and despair, it’s easy to withdraw into ourselves and wait for God to gift wrap better days and place them on our doorstep. But in Ruth’s story, we see that Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz all had to take initiative at various times. The relationship between divine sovereignty and human responsibility is an enigmatic one, and Ruth embraces the tension, thereby reminding us that God uses our faithfulness to accomplish his glorious purposes far beyond our imaginations.
Like Ruth’s day, we live in a morally dark time when everyone seems to do what is right in their own eyes. That’s why it is so important for God’s people to walk before him in holiness and integrity, to demonstrate loyalty and faithful love to those around us. We never know the hope we give tomorrow by the faithful love we show today. May “Bethlehem Road” inspire you to greater faithfulness in bearing others’ burdens “and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2)
Since today is the official launch day, I’d like to give you a special incentive to buy the book, and if you’ve already got a copy, to buy one or more for a few friends. I’m giving away THREE awesome prizes to one lucky winner. The prizes are:
- A membership in the eGuides4Life Club ($350 value).
- A new Amazon Kindle paperwhite ($119 value).
- A nice set of the Bibliotheca Bible when it ships ($79 value).
For every copy of Bethlehem Road: A Guide to Ruth that you purchase on Amazon, you get ONE entry into the contest. In other words, buy three books and you get three entries into the drawing. But…
If you buy your copy/copies from one of the following bookstores, I will give you FIVE entries for each copy purchased. Purchase three copies? Get FIFTEEN entries into the drawing!
- Bible Treasures & Gifts — 636-248-3476
- Christian Family Bookstore — 800-782-8175
- Gospel Advocate Bookstore — 800-251-8446
- H&C Religious Supplies — 800-688-5509
- Mars Hill Bookstore — 800-321-4587
Simply email your receipt (snap a photo if necessary) to email@example.com by Saturday, September 6th. The winner will be announced on this blog on Monday, September 8th.
I pray that reading Bethlehem Road is a blessing to you. May God redeem your suffering for your good and His exalted glory…