“Leap Over a Wall” –Peterson Examines David

Book Review


Reviewed by Lisa Bingham – 

Who is your favorite Bible character? For many, the answer is David–David the shepherd boy, the giant-killer, the psalmist, the king. David, the man after God’s own heart.

We probably know more about David than any other individual in Scripture. Why, then, another book about him? Hasn’t his life been lived out in glorious detail in the Bible? Perhaps the more we know about David, the more we want to know.

Eugene Peterson’s Leap Over a Wall (HarperCollins) is pure excitement. Named by Christianity Today magazine as one of the “top 20” books of the year, David springs to life within its pages. Living and breathing, exalting and anguishing, expressing himself with all of his being from cover to cover, we discover David “alive before God, aware of God, responsive to God.”

The author works through the events in David’s life without skipping over the rough spots. He deals objectively with David’s reality, his weaknesses, his strengths. The point Peterson brings home so beautifully, though, through the tumultuous highs and lows of Davids’ life is this: whatever David did, he did with the awareness of God and in the context of God. David “lived and moved” in God’s presence. We are reminded again and again of the possibililties that are before us when we “live in the shadow of the Almighty.”

Opening each chapter with words of Jesus, Peterson carries the truth of David’s Old Testament experience into the New Testament, while allowing us to learn more about ourselves in the present. Intellect, compassion and good storytelling earmark the pages of these reflections on the life of David. Peterson states, “David characteristically uses words magnificently. He uses words to mint reality, fresh and shining: he uses words to make something, not just talk about something.” The same can be said of Eugene Peterson. His writing is a gift to believers and non-believers alike.

If the II Samuel title reference is unfamiliar, readers may relate better to the book’s subtitle, “Earthy spirituality for everyday Christians.” The promise of this phrase combines with Peterson’s name recognition to appeal to a wide readership. An exciting read–guaranteed to give a renewed sense of spiritual energy–Leap Over a Wall is good for one’s mind and spirit!

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