Thursday, July 31, 2008

Book Review: Experiencing God’s Presence by Matthew Henry

Experiencing God’s Presence by Matthew Henry

Somewhere along my path I either purchased or received a little book by Matthew Henry called, The Pleasantness of a Religious Life. The title was enough for me to put it on the shelf for several years, until curiosity got the better of me. Henry is the acclaimed author of the very useful commentary on the entire Bible, and I couldn’t help but think that a man who had spent that much time in the Word might have something to say worth hearing! How right I was – Pleasantness is now in my top 10 of all books and I commend it to you without hesitation.

So, I was glad to grab this book by the same author now published by Whitaker House. Experiencing God’s Presence is a collection of thoughts on how to walk with God in the nitty-gritty of life. And this is Henry at his best – taking deep truth and working it out in the practice of common folks like you and me.

Chapters cover a range of what to pray for, when to pray, how to visit with your Christian friends, how to live in the common world with a view to Christ, and even how to treat our need for sleep:

“Do not dare to go to sleep in that condition in which you do not dare to die.”

One of my favorite little sections was on thanking God for our clothes:

“Do we have clothes to put on in the morning, garments that warm us? Do we have a change of clothes, not for necessity only, but for ornament? Our clothes are from God; it is His wool His flax that are given to cover us. And the morning when we dress ourselves is the proper time for giving Him thanks for our clothes. Yet, I fear we do not thank God for our clothes as consistently as we give thanks for our food when we sit down to eat, though we have as much reason to do so.”

Henry also addresses Christian fellowship, with a quote I think would be quite fitting to speak aloud to one another at the start of our monthly church lunches at GFC:

“Why should we be strangers to one another, we who hope to be together forever with the Lord?”

With such little insights and probing questions this book becomes a tool of cheerful conviction, urging the Christian reader on to greater godliness and faithfulness. And the helpful updating of language and terminology enables the simplest reader to stay the course and not lose heart mid-course.

I have enjoyed reading portions during family devotions and even chuckling aloud at some of the simple instruction. Reading it will be sure to bless and encourage you.

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