September 1st, 2008
Tripp, Paul David. Whiter than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2008. 154 pp. $12.99. 33% Off At Westminster Bookstore
Paul David Tripp is most noted for his book, Instruments in the Redeemers Hands and Lost in the Middle. More recently, he has started writing little booklets that are being used by churches across the nation to help counsel and instruct many Christians struggling with sin. With his experience in biblical counseling and engaging writing style, Dr. Tripp offers us 52 meditations on Psalm 51.
Summary of Whiter than Snow
How can you summarize a one-year devotional? I am not going to attempt to summarize as much as introduce the contents and style of this book. Dr. Tripp begins in his preface that this story of David and Bathsheba is perhaps one of the more well known stories of sin and treachery found in the Bible. The story is not one of sin so much as it is a story of grace and mercy. Yes, David sinned on multiple levels in the course of this story, but God showed His great mercy to David despite himself. It is hard to imagine while reading this story that David as the nickname of being the “man after God’s own heart.”
Dr. Tripp explains that we will get nothing from these meditations if we view what happened to David from a distance. The simple fact of the matter is that David’s sinfulness is found in all of us. We should learn, not only from his sin and the consequences that ensued, but also from the grace and mercy that is found in God alone at the cross on Calvary.
Dr. Tripp reprints for us the story of David and Bathsheba from 2 Samuel 11-12 and then reprints Psalm 51 immediately after. The following 52 “chapters” meditate solely on Psalm 51. He does not attempt to systematically go through Psalm 51 verse by verse. Instead, he takes the reader on a slow, year-long journey of revelation. He begins by explaining how our daily sin is just as bad as David’s sin in the context of this Psalm and how we should find our redemption in God alone through Christ alone.
Each “chapter” is not just his thoughts. Some “chapters” include nothing but a poem or quotations from men throughout the history of the world. Each week’s devotion concludes with a “Take a Moment” segment. This consists of two questions to help guide your meditation on God’s wonderful grace and mercy and your ultimate need for His salvation.
I intentionally did not include a critique simply because a book of meditations will strike each individual differently. However, Dr. Tripp has done the church a great service in writing this book. It seems as though many churches are recognizing the need for more accountability for everyone and more mentoring and shepherding from the spiritually mature to the spiritually immature. This book would be a great asset to any of those groups.
I also believe this book would be an excellent edition for families who have begun Family Worship. What more would bring a family together than seeing God’s grace and mercy extended in an instance of sin such as what David committed? To be able to see David’s sinfulness in your own life helps to bring the family closer together with Christ as the glue. Then, to see God move an unrepentant David to repentance is an awesome testimony of how God handles his children.
This book could also be used to help guide your quiet time with the Lord one day a week or more. The many uses of this book only enhances its great subject matter. You would not go wrong in purchasing this book for yourself or your friends. Even more, it would be a great gift to a new believer in Jesus Christ.