Eugene H. Peterson, InterVarsity Press, 2019, 232 pages.
I confess I’ve never read the book of Jeremiah in its entirety. Sure, I know all about Jeremiah 29:11—I’ve even sent out graduation cards with that verse featured prominently. And although I’ve read the Bible through from Genesis to Revelation, not skipping a single chapter or verse, I didn’t really read the book of Jeremiah.
This commemorative edition of Eugene H. Peterson’s classic, Run with the Horses, intrigued me. Heretofore, my general impression of Jeremiah came from the word jeremiad—a prolonged lamentation or mournful complaint. It doesn’t sound much like something an optimistic person like myself would want to spend time on.
Peterson made me see Jeremiah in a completely different light. Yes, Jeremiah lamented, warned, and annoyed his contemporaries with his prophecies from God. But he also lived an incredible life of obedience and faith in a world gone wild.
According to Peterson, “My procedure here is to select the biographical parts of the book of Jeremiah and reflect on them personally and pastorally in the context of present, everyday life.”
And he does just that. He takes the incidents from Jeremiah’s life—the strange, unique, ordinary, and terrible, and shows us how Jeremiah maintained his faith through each and every one.
For Peterson, “The fundamental mistake is to begin with ourselves and not God. God is the center from which all life develops.” And Jeremiah began with God. We need to do the same, because, according to Peterson, “we are living in the middle of the story.” Only the Author knows the entire story, so we must go to him for information, direction, and wisdom.
Grab a Highlighter Before You Begin
I don’t think I’ve highlighted a book this much since my university days. Jeremiah has wisdom on every aspect of life, and Peterson does a marvelous job of sussing out the truths. Instead of feeling depressed whilst reading Run with the Horses, I found myself encouraged. All too often the state of the world depresses me if I think on it too long. But Peterson reminds us:
“And if we are going to live in the world, attentive to each particularity, loving it through all the bad times without being repelled by it or afraid of it or conformed to it, we are going to have to face its immense evil, but know at the same time that it is a limited and controlled evil.”Eugene H. Peterson
I also fall into the trap of arguing with fellow Christians about trivial things (such as how to worship, when to worship, what a passage in the Bible means). But Peterson reminds us that “Believers argue with God; skeptics argue with each other.” This brought me up short. Do I argue for the sake of argument and thus waste emotional and mental energy?Only the Author knows the entire story, so we must go to him for information, direction, and wisdom. #amreading #RunwiththeHorses Click To Tweet
I’ll read this book over again more than once. And next time, I’ll read the book of Jeremiah along with it. You don’t have to have a theology degree to understand Run with the Horses. And reading the book of Jeremiah along with Peterson’s book will help you dig in to an important book for out time. After all, God still needs people of incredible obedience and faith living in a world gone wild.
I receive free electronic advanced reader copies of these books through an arrangement between the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion on NetGalley’s website. I only review books on my blog that I really love.