A Sweet and Bitter Providence

Sex, Race, and the Sovereignty of God

by John Piper

Sex. Race. Scripture. Sovereignty. The book of Ruth entails them all. So readers shouldn't be fooled by its age, says Pastor John Piper. Though its events happened over 3,000 years ago, the story holds astounding relevance for Christians in the twenty-first century.

The sovereignty of God, the sexual nature of humanity, and the gospel of God's mercy for the undeserving-these massive realities never change. And since God is still sovereign, and we are male or female, and Jesus is alive and powerful, A Sweet and Bitter Providence bears a message for readers from all walks of life. But be warned, Piper tells his audience: This ancient love affair between Boaz and Ruth could be dangerous, inspiring all of us to great risks in the cause of love.

First Edition 2010
Crossway Books (Wheaton, Illinois)

“Like so many, I love Dr. Piper because he helps me to love the God of the Bible. And, in A Sweet and Bitter Providence, he has done it yet again.”
Mark Driscoll, Founding Pastor, Mars Hill Church, Seattle; President, the Resurgence

“This book surprised me at how it both comforted and convicted me. And in the midst of a difficult circumstance it inspired me to look for God's hand of providence. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't benefit from its call to purity, faith and Christ-centered hope. John Piper's God-given gifts as a teacher and pastor are on full display in these pages. Reading this book will serve your soul.”
Joshua Harris, Senior Pastor, Covenant Life Church, Gaithersburg, Maryland

“We live in a relativistic culture, where people are more concerned with being liked than being truthful. In A Sweet and Bitter Providence, John Piper does an outstanding job of biblically defending key truths that the church often ignores. He gives us an example of how to take a bold and educated stand on issues of race, purity, and God’s sovereignty.”
Francis Chan, Founding Pastor, Cornerstone Church, Simi Valley, California; Founder, Eternity Bible College; author, Crazy Love, Forgotten God, Erasing Hell.

“With his usual clarity, candor, and insight, John Piper masterfully guides us through the short but powerful book of Ruth. More than a ‘little romance,’ Piper unpacks the book’s teaching on sovereignty, providence, grace, and glory. As we follow the account of Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz, our own lives are enriched and transformed. I recommend this book to all who desire to know God better through his Word.”
Tremper Longman, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College