When a graduate student of mine graciously presented me with, God’s Profound and Mysterious Providence, I confessed that I was unaware of the writings of Dr. Abraham Park. What lay in these pages was an undiscovered treasure! As a scholar and professor, I have read dozens of books on biblical history and authored many articles in the field of Old Testament studies. Seldom have I found a book that is so clear in its presentation of the message of scripture and in its commitment to honor Jesus Christ. Through the gift of this book, I came to appreciate how Dr. Park has fanned into flame the gifts that God has given to him (2 Timothy 1:6). Indeed, our Lord has given this servant to the Church as a gifted pastor and teacher in order to bring us together in the faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13).
This book is the fourth in a series about God’s administration of the history of redemption. Christ is the culmination of this history and his genealogy consists of three periods of fourteen generations each (Matthew 1:1-17). This book covers the second of those periods from King David to the Babylonian Exile. Biblical history is a difficult topic and often misunderstood. The names of the kings are difficult to sort out and trace. Dates for their reigns and activities are hard to reconcile. The details of their administrations are complex. For these reasons, many have mistakenly concluded that the Bible is somehow at fault. Dr. Park has faced all of these issues with patience, hard work, and a humble commitment to understand God’s Word. The result of his study is a clear and convincing presentation of scripture. He has worked through the details, keeping the overall flow of covenant history always in view.
An example of his careful study concerns the names of the kings who ruled Judah yet who were not included in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Many have noticed these omissions, but Dr. Park has asked the important practical question: Why does Matthew not list the names of these four rulers? He concluded that each of them forsook the worship of the Lord to worship idols and died in judgment of unnatural causes. The manner of their deaths reveals God’s sovereign administration of redemptive history. Their wickedness highlights the importance that God places on personal faith. Through Dr. Park’s careful attention to history and concern to understand God’s ways, we are all encouraged to praise God for his wisdom and to respond to God’s grace with genuine faith and love.
Dr. Park writes as a pastor with keen academic abilities. Many scholars today study much about the Bible but spend much less time actually reading it directly. Some pay more attention to what other writers are saying about the Bible than they do to the very words of scripture itself. The fruit of scholarly publishing frequently has to do with details that are not unconnected to the message of the Bible as a whole. When I read Dr. Park, however, I find such devotion to the words of the Bible and such concern to help others appreciate God’s wisdom and love. Anybody who reads this book will be built up in their knowledge of Jesus Christ. Beyond this, it is clear Dr. Park is a pastor to pastors. The work of local church ministry is very demanding. Pastors are God’s gifts to the body of Christ, yet they have many responsibilities that make it difficult to devote time to study, teaching and preaching. Dr. Park understands these pressures and has responded to the needs of pastors by providing them with a rich and sure guide. Blessed are the people who have shepherds who know these paths!
God chose our forefather Abraham and commissioned him to instruct his children to keep the way of the Lord, thus spreading God’s blessing to all nations (Genesis 18:18-19). The lessons of biblical history are often ignored and easily lost. We wish to hear a word that is relevant to our times and regrettably overlook the wisdom that God has already laid down for us. God’s truth is for sharing, and this book about redemptive history enables us to do that. Through focusing on the faith and failures of Israel’s kings, Dr. Park leads us to Jesus the Messiah so that we may know Him and be known by Him.
The truthful content and effective writing style of this book would be enough to earn my hearty recommendation. Beyond that, however, I find myself challenged when I observe such a clear commitment to Christ and the Bible, such an attentive and humble manner of study, and such a concern to encourage the people of God to live a life of love and faithfulness. Through this book and the others in the series, may God give us all grace to have a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith (1 Timothy 1:5).