"The Hand of God: Finding His Care in All Circumstances" by Alistair Begg

Thursday, July 5th 2007
Sep/Oct 2000

In The Hand of God, pastor and Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals council member Alistair Begg surveys the life of Joseph, the hero of the faith in whose life the biblical doctrine of providence finds its classic Old Testament expression. Joseph, Begg contends, was a radically God-centered individual whose journey from the fields of Canaan to the throne room of Egypt reveals the “incredible truth that God rules and overrules in all the circumstances of life.” Indeed, the “overarching theme” of the biblical portrait of Joseph, Begg insists, “is that of the sovereign hand of God manifesting itself in his providential care over his dearly loved children and bringing about all that he has purposed in the affairs of time.” As such, the story of Joseph is a “real-life illustration” of the fact that Romans 8:28 is more than just “kitchen-verse theology,” for it exemplifies the biblical truth that God works all things-including evil-for the good of his children and the glory of his name.

There are a number of noteworthy features of Begg’s analysis. Not only does he pause from time to time to note significant parallels between the lives of Joseph and Jesus, but he also offers practical insights on God-centered living on topics ranging from temptation, assurance, and forgiveness to the Christian’s more general relationship to culture. By far the most significant aspect of his analysis, though, is his description of the profoundly theocentric worldview of Joseph the man. What sustained Joseph through his journey and what makes his story relevant to those whose circumstances are less than “ideal” was not the fleeting desire for “perfect” circumstances. What sustained him, rather, was his unwavering conviction that God is “the speaker of his Word and the doer of his Works,” the supreme reality in the universe who “determines what is going to happen according to his will, for his glory, and for the good of his people.” Joseph was convinced, in short, “that God sovereignly orders all things that come to pass and preserves the lives of his creatures for his purposes,” and thus he recognized that there “is no ideal place to serve God except the place in which he has set you down.”

While The Hand of God is written on a popular level and thus might not be useful as a college text, it will be useful in combating the teachings of evangelicals who, as Begg so delicately puts it, “do not want to bow before the mysteries of God’s providence.” For this reason alone the book is highly recommended.

Thursday, July 5th 2007

“Modern Reformation has championed confessional Reformation theology in an anti-confessional and anti-theological age.”

Picture of J. Ligon Duncan, IIIJ. Ligon Duncan, IIISenior Minister, First Presbyterian Church
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