[A few weeks ago I decided to try and devote Wednesday posts to book reviews by friends. I asked my good friend Ernest Smith to kick it off this week. Ernest is the Pastor of the College/20 Something at Seacoast Church here in Charleston, SC.]
When I was asked to write a post critiquing a book, I immediately began trying to determine which book had made the most impact in my life. Many books came to mind. Whether it was Knowledge of the Holy by AW Tozer or Crazy Love by Francis Chan or The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns, there have been many books that have made an impact on my life. However, I wanted to choose a book that has proven relevant for all and is timeless in its subject matter.
Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards is one of the shortest, simplest books I have ever read, yet it has also had one of the most profound impacts on my life. I read this book for the first time when I was a freshman or sophomore in college. I chose it because it was short and it seemed to be an easy read. As I ventured further into the script, I began to realize that the words may be simple but the context is nothing short of complex.
The book is a look at the story of three kings of Israel, Saul, David and Absalom. As the author describes each king and how he came into power, a central theme of pride, anger, rebellion and forgiveness began to surface. King Saul was a man who was disobedient to the Lord and in his attempt to seize and keep power, he displayed anger, pride and resistance toward God’s will. David, a man after God’s heart, sought to take the high road, resulting in forgiveness, humility and trust in the Lord’s will. The last king, Absalom, followed in the footsteps of the first and allowed his pride to get the better of him, resulting in anger, violence and disobedience once again.
Although the plot is full of violence, tension and war, this book is anything but an exciting read, because it reveals the very character of most people, pride, and speaks to a disobedience that results when pride becomes evident. The author uses the illustration of Saul and Absalom to speak the truth that all men have the tendency, and even the pull, toward disobedience, pride and anger, but it is a humble man, a man like David, that responds to opposition and hardships with love, grace and forgiveness.
The book challenged me in my response to others. Would I allow my pride to be what controls me, or would I allow the grace and love of God to become evident in the face of hardships? I struggle with pride. I struggle with wanting my will to be done. Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards, reminds me, time after time, to let go and trust in an Eternal God who knows what He is doing.