Book Review: A Year with God, Daily Readings and Reflections on God’s Own Words; by R. P. Nettelhorst

 

What Christian doesn’t want to take his walk to the next level by making “His thoughts your thoughts”?  The title and caption of R.P. Nettelhorst’s A Year With God sounded intriguing, as I find daily devotional books so varied that I can burn a good half-hour in that section of the book store.

Had I been able to do so, I would discover this book’s pleasing pattern of numbered days (rather than specific dates), which lends itself to beginning where you are – not your calendar’s requirements.  Chronologically quoting God’s words according to 10 elements of His character also caught my interest – I had not conceived of tracking The Word to us in this fashion.  Nettelhorst then admirably drew together ample details and background relating to each entry of God’s voice, but his editorial lost me in its lackluster finish.

For example, on Day 14, with the title “God knows what’s going on,”  the Word of God comes thru an interim prophet Jahaziel to the king Jehoshaphat, who is terrorized by an invading horde of Moabites.  Because of the king’s humble reliance upon God, his enemies destroy each other, without requiring Jehoshaphat to even raise a sword.  The summary to this miracle of grace and deliverance is: “Since God is with us, we should never be afraid.  When we understand that our own abilities are weak but that God is strong, and when we know in our hearts that what God wants is what we want, we can ask for and receive God’s help.”  I have been in situations that defied human help, and my fear was real, just as my faith in God.  I would never advise someone that they should never be afraid – rather that their fear should drive them to the action Jehoshaphat exemplifies: to pair our dusty-knees with humble open hands as we cry to God.

This flat finish led me to search for background on the author, which the book also lacked.  A sparse author’s website, a jog to his church‘s scattered site, and his stint as teacher for the seminary, left me further puzzled as to his Biblical perspective and purpose.  A visit to his aptly named personal website, Nettelhorst”s Ramblings, did not dispel this boggle.  I am driven to suggest that Nettelhorst might consider his purpose in each editorial as of more import than the total book.  If I cannot find more depth in the summary, why would I wade thru another beginning?  God did not ramble thru the wilderness with a million escaped slaves for 40 years, He trained an entire nation to trust His character and created a unique people out of pure grace.  Jesus did not ramble over Galilee, He took 3 precious years of His short life with us to intensively train His followers to “the Way.”   Our Father does not fumble any finish, nor leave us flat when we long for depth.  I guess that leaves me reshelving this one in the book store.

Disclosure: the publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through Booksneeze.

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