How God Readies Us to Read in Tune

If in your morning devotions you open God’s word to the book of Judges and find that the strings of your inner instrument are not in tune, it is not blasphemy to excuse yourself for a few moments from the King’s library and turn to a paragraph from one of his unflinchingly faithful, broken-hearted, happy servants. Should we find it surprising that the King should appoint some of his closest friends to be especially good at tuning the strings of our soul so that we may play His music when he puts the bow of his Word on our soul?

At least for me, this is how it is from time to time. And I am thankful for Satan’s folly in throwing Samuel Rutherford into prison in Aberdeen for seventeen months. Little did the devil know or intend that he would make this servant of Jesus a quick and gifted tuner of my soul, so that 371 years later he would send me back to the King’s Library with my strings taut and ready to play.

The opposition had apparently succeeded. In reality the devil had outwitted himself. True, the preaching of Christ, to limited congregations, was for the moment silenced, but only to give place to a ministry of Christ, that had been for the blessing and comfort of the generations of God’s people for all the succeeding years. At first his “silent Sabbaths” weighed heavily upon his spirit. But the gloom passed, and so feasted was he with the love of Christ that he can write, “My prison is a palace to me, and Christ’s banqueting house.”

Of his three hundred and sixty-two letters that have been preserved, two hundred and nineteen were written during the seventeen months he was confined in “Christ’s prison palace” of Aberdeen. (Hamilton Smith, editor, Extracts from the Letters of Samuel Rutherford, 8-9)

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.