The Book Corner
Reaching God’s Ear. By C. Samuel Storms. Wheaton, II: Tyndale House Publishers, 1988. 282 pp. Paper, $8.95.
Of all there is to know about God, we know and understand very little. Nevertheless, He has revealed Himself to us in His Son and in the Scriptures, thereby having provided us with more than enough revelation for the present. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about God, and only as we rid ourselves of these can we begin to understand Him and the working of prayer.
To be sure, we are all limited in our knowledge of some theological problems which are beyond our ability to understand. The author, however, has given us a treatise on the theology of prayer, and his book answers many questions Christians have concerning prayer, such as: Why is prayer so difficult? What does prayer mean? What do we do when God says no? Does God hear the prayer of the Jew?
One of the author’s best sections is his exposition of the impeccability of Christ, centering on the vital question, “Could Jesus have sinned?” (pp. 157-162).
A few years ago I recall reading an intriguing account about President U. S. Grant when he lay dying. Having fought under him through the Civil War, his old friend, General O.O. Howard, came to see him. Howard expressed to Grant how much the people of the United States appreciated his service. Grant, restless and wistful, seemed unimpressed. “Tell me,” interrupted the dying commander-in-chief, “tell me something more about prayer.”
In his fine book, C. Samuel Storms has succeeded in doing just that on behalf of all who might ask the same question.
Rise Up My Love. By C.E. Hocking. Precious Seed Publications, PO Box 8, Neath, West Glamorgan SA11 1QB, UK. 421 pages.
A Jewish sage of the 10th century A.D., Rabbi Saadia HaGaon, commented, “Know, my brothers, that you will find differences in interpretation of the Song of Songs. In truth they differ because the Song of Songs resembles locks to which the keys have not been lost.” Cyril Hocking, in this commentary on the Song of Solomon, has attempted several keys and has, in this reviewer’s opinion, successfully opened the locks to the Song. The book is divided into five sections with three appendices and indices. It also is well illustrated with pictures from the Holy Land.
Part I places the Song into the historical setting of the Solomonic period, as well as giving an overview of Biblical marriage and love, emphasizing the Lord’s marriage to Israel.
This commentary reflects the author’s many extended visits to the Land of Israel. Part II details some of the major motifs in the Song. Imagery is drawn from the fauna (animal life) and flora (plant life), as well as from the weather cycle and agricultural seasons.
It is Mr. Hocking’s contention that “the book can be interpreted consistently and completely only when it is seen as an actual developing human love relationship which mirrors that which is being worked out between the Lord and Israel” (p. 7). Thus he takes a typological/eschatological approach to this love song. Part III discusses the various interpretations which have been set forth for the Song. Interestingly, he finds the allegorical approach, depicting the love of the Lord Jesus for the Church, lacking because it confuses Israel and the Church and robs both of their peculiar God-given heritage! The lost keys to the book are then finally unveiled. He states: “Attempts to trace the Biblical history of salvation in the Song have seemed doomed to failure even where there is a messianic goal. However, once Jesus is seen to be the Messiah, His two advents to earth provide the keys to the locks of the Song which have been lost for so long!” (p. 172).
The commentary on the Song itself is found in Part IV. The Song is divided into six poems, each revealing a different phase of the Lord’s love for Israel and salvation history. Poem 1 (1:2-2:7), the period from Abraham to the Babylonian captivity. Poem 2 (2:8-3:5), the period when Israel was subjected to the Gentile nations. Poem 3 (3:6-5:1), the public ministry of the Lord Jesus, His death, burial, resurrection and ascension to Heaven, and the giving of the Spirit. Poem 4 (5:2-6:9), the “Israel of God” in the present (Rom. 11). Poem 5 (6:10-8:4), the second advent of the Messiah. Finally, Poem 6 (8:5-14), the Millennial Glories of the Lord Jesus with His people Israel.
The “In Conclusion,” or summary of salvation history, is given in Part V.
This commentary could be useful in three areas. First, for the serious student there is plenty of “meat” to chew on concerning Salvation History. The footnotes allow further study for those interested. Second, for a devotional reader there is plenty of material concerning the Lord Jesus, and such would be profitable for the Lord’s Supper. Finally, for the Jewish person it could serve as a gospel tract from the Hebrew Scriptures which point to the two advents of Israel’s Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.