What is your passion? What ignites the glimmer in your eye? What compels you to climb out of bed every morning? In other words, what is your magnificent obsession? For bestselling author and Bible teacher Anne Graham Lotz, she knows only one magnificent obsession: God.
In her latest book, Lotz details the story of Abraham to illustrate a life wholly devoted to God. She describes “meeting” Abraham more than 30 years ago while leading a Bible study. As she read the Biblical text, she found herself resonating with one of the early forefathers of faith: “As I saturated myself in the text, Abraham walked off the pages and into my life --- a very ordinary man who became extraordinary for one primary reason --- he made the critical choice to embrace a God-filled life, to pursue knowing God and making Him known through living a life of obedient faith.” Lotz’s inspiration from Abraham only goes to show you how the Bible is as relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago. Normal, everyday people can find the strength and the hope in the Good Book’s words to give their life direction and meaning, much like Abraham found meaning in God all those years ago.
The chapters of the book follow the journey of Abraham from Genesis 12 through Genesis 24. In each one, Lotz tells of a life principle based on Abraham’s own trials and triumphs. In “Let Everything Go,” she examines what it meant for Abraham to leave behind the land of Ur of the Chaldeans and enter a new land. She compares Abraham’s obedience and wisdom to Lot’s shortsightedness and foolishness. The scripture says little about Lot’s commitment to God as he isn’t known as a man who spent hours in prayer or obeying God’s voice. When given the opportunity to divide the land with Abraham, he chose what looked like the best portion for himself. Such selfishness was a hallmark of Lot’s life. Rather than leave the compromising lifestyle of Sodom, he chose to stay, and his decision had unforgettable consequences on his family. In the end, Lot did not consider God his magnificent obsession, and his choices were costly to himself and those he knew.
The examination of Lot’s life stands in stark contrast to Abraham, who, though he made mistakes, took matters into his own hands and even lied on occasion, was quick to turn back to God and depend on Him. One of the best chapters, “Lay Everything Down,” examines the harrowing moment when God called Abraham to sacrifice his own son. God’s command was both personal and painful, yet Abraham chose to obey. The confidence in God’s power, promise and person carried Abraham through and resulted in an unforgettable Biblical lesson.
Throughout the book, Lotz draws on compelling stories from her own life. She shares a time when she was stranded in Europe, mad at God, and found herself blessed wildly by a complete stranger. She describes her own struggles in prayer, obedience and pursuit of God candidly. As a result, her writing and material is accessible to a wide range of readers.
THE MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION may be Anne Graham Lotz’s best work to date. It’s highly recommended for fans of Lotz, Bible studies and small groups everywhere.
Reviewed by Margaret Oines on August 18, 2009