On that night the king could not sleep. And he gave orders to bring the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. Esther 6:1
Many mercies and deliverances have fallen upon the people of God that are far beyond the course of natural causes. When fire seeks to burn, water seeks to drown, and the lions seek to devour, God can suspend these agents. The sea can be made a wall on each side to give distressed Israel a safe passage. The fire could not singe one hair of God’s faithful witnesses. The hungry lions became gentle and harmless when Daniel was cast among them. Were not the envy of Joseph’s brethren and the cursed plot of Haman al turned, by a secret and strange hand of providence, to their greater advancement and benefit? The history of Joseph’s advancement shows twelve remarkable steps of providence. If but one of them had failed, in all likelihood the event would have fallen too. But every one fell in its proper order, keeping its own time and place. In the deliverance of the Jews from the plot of Haman, we find no less than seven acts of providence concurring strangely to break the snare. In like manner, if the means and instruments employed to bestow mercy to the people of God are seriously considered, who can but confess that there are tools of all sorts and sizes in the workshop of providence and a most skillful hand that uses them. We find a multitude of providences so timed to the minute that had they fallen out just a little sooner or later, they would not have had the same impact. How remarkable were tidings that came to Saul that the Philistines had invaded the land to protect David (1 Sam. 23:27). The angel spoke to Abraham just before the fatal stroke to Isaac (Gen. 22:10-11). Rabshakeh also met with a blasting providence (Isa. 37:7-8). When Haman’s plot was ripe, on that very night the king could not sleep. So the providence of God falls out in remarkable moments of time.
Sinclair Ferguson has publicly stated that no one has had a greater spiritual impact on his life than William Still! William Still was the minister of Gilcomston South Church, Aberdeen, from 1945 to 1997. While his name may not feature in the official annals of the Church of Scotland, it is doubtful whether any other individual in his Church during the latter half of the twentieth century had such a profound or widespread influence. For over fifty years Mr. Still pioneered a single-minded commitment to expository preaching and congregational prayer which made Gilcomston a beacon of Reformed and evangelical Christianity in Scotland.
A man whose very life breathed the grace and love of God, no one who ever met him, received his counsel, or sat under his ministry, could have escaped the sheer Christlikeness of Mr. Still’s life. In the early days of his ministry he wrote: “There is no part of me, or of my life, that I will withhold from the work that God has called me to.”
It was one of the marks of his evident commitment to the service of Christ that he devoted himself to the pastoral care of his people, providing them with daily Bible reading notes that would feed their souls and prepare them for works of service. The “Notes”, which appeared in the monthly “Congregational Record,” soon became highly sought after across Scotland, the United Kingdom, and even to the far-flung corners of the world, increasing in many a love for and commitment to the Word of God.
Drawn from every book in the Bible, this selection, edited and arranged by David C. Searle, will take the reader through the year with William Still. These pages will explain what it means to live under the authority of Scripture, to exalt the glorious Person of Christ, and to rejoice in the wonder of the gospel.