Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The God Who Sees You - Review

The God Who Sees You: Look to Him When You Feel Discouraged, Forgotten, or Invisible

By: Tammy Maltby

Published: April 1st 2012 by David C. Cook

240 pages

Source: Publisher via NetGalley

(Goodreads | Amazon)

Goodreads description—For anyone who ever feels invisible, unnoticed, or unappreciated, here’s an invitation to rediscover the biblical God who sees you.

Tammy Maltby wants women to know their lives matter. So she invites you to explore the real life implications of knowing God sees you. He loves you passionately, and He’s intimately involved with every aspect of your life. God wants you to see Him too and to partner with you in bringing about His kingdom.

When you take this reality to heart, you will live more honestly, confidently, and fearlessly—because everything looks different once you really see the God who sees you.

First of all, I’d like to say that I wish the description above didn’t single out that the author is speaking to women, because honestly, I didn’t get that vibe while I was reading this one. I really feel like this book can be equally addressed to both men and women, and nothing in there speaks specifically to women only. It’s almost downright odd that the description singles out women. Oh well.

The God Who Sees You was definitely a thought-provoking, soul-searching book that I wasn’t expecting. And while I do take issue with the fact that she quotes The Message* “translation” (as my dad said, “if you can even call it a translation”), the content itself was really good. The only other issue I had worth mentioning was at one point Tammy Maltby was discussing the first sin in the garden with Adam and Eve and she makes the comment that she believes as soon as Adam confessed the sin and came out of hiding that God began devising a plan on how to redeem Adam and Eve back to Himself. I don’t agree with this because God is All-Knowing and transcends time and space. He knew Adam and Eve would sin before He created the world. And I believe He had the plan of redemption (Jesus’ death on the cross as payment for our sins) planned before He spoke our world into existence. As my dad says, “Nothing ever occurred to God.”

Now that I’ve gotten the negative out of the way, let’s move on to happy things. Knowing God sees you can be a comforting though. When you feel like no one else sees you, or no one else knows the “real” you, God does. And not only does He see you, but He cares about you, me, enough to know the number of hairs on your head. And He doesn’t stop there either, He’s active in your lives. But, knowing God sees you can also be a fearful and humbling experience when you’re not living your life the way He’s called you to live it. After all, it is a scary thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31), but you don’t have to worry about falling if you’re already there (John 10:29). Whether God seeing you is a scary or comforting thought all depends on your attitude, your heart, and the way you live your life.

Throughout this book, Tammy Maltby discusses the reasons why we hide, the difference between reverence and fear, the concept of being God-blind, and obviously what it means to be seen by God. Tammy Maltby pulls the idea of being seen by God from the story of Hagar in the Old Testament. I love how some people are capable of drawing out these massive ideas and concept that God created and placed within single phrases that some of us pass over without a second thought. I wasn’t far into the reading of this book before I got chills—you know the ones that tell you what you’re experiencing is special. What’s more special than realizing and focusing on the fact that God, the Almighty Creator of the universe, sees me?

One of my favorite parts is this “love letter” from God, my Father, that she created from phrases all throughout Scripture and organized in this beautiful way that lets me know my Father sees me. And while I loved that, and will keep that close to my heart, the entire Bible**, the entire story God has written and is continuing to write, is a love letter from Him to you. It’s His plan and His working to redeem you back to Himself. His purpose and His creation to have an intimate relationship with you. So in case you’re ever wondering, God sees you. (4 Stars)

*The Message is a paraphrase “translation.” There are basically two types of Bible translations. Direct translations, such as New King James Version, New International Version, New American Standard Bible, where the original Greek or Hebrew text is translated word for word, and paraphrase translations, such as The Message and The Living Bible, where the text is paraphrased or summarized. MessageBible.com says: “if there is anything distinctive about The Message, perhaps it is because the text is shaped by the hand of a working pastor.” This means that a fallible human being took the direct words of God and paraphrased or summarized them. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not have a human being muddling the Word of God. My God is all-knowing and all-powerful, so much so that He said exactly the words He wanted used, and He does not need man to summarize for Him. But let me not stop there. Let me show you an example:

Psalm 18:20 & 24

The Message (paraphrase) – God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, he gave me a fresh start. … God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

NIV (direct) – The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. … The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

NKJV (direct) – The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. …Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness, According to the cleanness of my hands in His sight.

NASB (direct) - the LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. … Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness, According to the cleanness of my hands in His eye.

As you can see, The Message version is vastly different from the direct translations, and when all else fails, I trust the direct translation of the Word of God over some man’s summarization. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

**As always, my disclosure anytime I review a book related to a spiritual topic: There’s always a possibility of man misunderstanding God’s Word--self-included. I will always refer you back to the Source, which is the Bible, for the authority on these topics. In this particular case, while I’d recommend this book to others, if you really want to learn about the God Who Sees You, the best place for you to be is in His Word, His book.

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