A Heart for God
"In A Heart for God, Ferguson sounds a call to all Christians to deepen their own personal knowledge of the living God. Through a skillful and in-depth exposition of Scripture, he paints a rich and multicolored picture of the most profound aspects of God's nature and character, always urging us to consider carefully how these insights from God's Word should impact our lives--in a deeper surrender, a truly vital worship, a more unreserved commitment."
-- From the dust jacket
Sinclair Ferguson, with typical pithy and poignant brevity, packs an enormous punch with this relatively small book. Perhaps the best way to begin summarizing his message is to start with the poem which he uses to conclude the book:
The goal is God HimselfNot joy, nor peace;Not even blessing,But Himself, my God.'Tis His to lead me there,Not mine, but His--At any cost, dear Lord,By any road.
Whether we are talking about family devotions, Christian disciplines, or personal prayer time -- the goal is God himself. It is for this reason that Ferguson, in encouraging us to foster "a heart for God" spends the bulk of his book in a thorough and practical consideration of God. In the opening chapter "Growing in the Knowledge of God" Ferguson writes:
-- From the dust jacket
"While man has never had so much knowledge about the world as he possesses today, perhaps he has never had so little knowledge of God. . . Who cares for the wisdom of this world,, or the strength of men, or the riches and fame some attain, if all these things are to be had without knowing God?" (pp. 14, 16).
While he does delve into such practical matters as faithful and obedient living -- and such theological truths as "God alone is the author of our knowledge of Himself" -- Ferguson brings a fresh, enlightening, and scripturally robust perspective to the whole subject of personal communion with God.
For instance, he approaches the goal of knowing and fellowshiping God better by first studying closely the perfect relationship of the Trinity with each other -- what better way to see closeness with God than to view it in the interaction and affection of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with and for one another? And what better way to know God than to first recognize him as the unique and tri-personal deity that he is? Ferguson observes:
"In the upper room on the night of the Passover, Jesus decided that this mystery of the Trinity was the teaching His disciples most needed to hear. Why was this truth so important? Because Jesus wanted His disciples, and us, to come to know God, in all the riches and fullness of His being." (pp.39-40).
Continuing in his study of God, Ferguson considers Christ as the Creator, God as a coventant-making and covenant-keeping Lord, and as the ever-present and eternal God. He writes:
"We come to know God, never as the object we possess, but as the subject who possesses and knows us. That is why when Paul speaks about us coming to know God, he can add "or rather, are known of God." (p. 76).
After considering the love of God in Christ, as our Savior, the wisdom and holiness of God which sets him apart from us, the faithfulness of God as our provider, Ferguson sums up the lesson for us with these words: "Let us worship God!" And finally Ferguson gives us this sobering reminder:
"The solemn truth of the gospel is that, in spiritual things, you get what you set your heart on. Se your heart on knowing God and He will reveal Himself through His Word; set your heart on serving Him and you will not lack the opportunity to do so. But set your heart on nothing of spiritual consequence, and that is precisely what you will receive--nothing of spiritual consequence." (p. 172).
What greater motivation--or more sober warning--could we have toward a fervent, single-minded, worshipful heart for God?