Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Keepers of the Covenant

How do I begin? The story itself is a bookfull! Let me start by saying this is the book of Ezra personified for the contemporary reader.  Lynn Austin has written Book 2 of the Restoration Chronicles with an eye to the human story behind the story.  God's story, as recorded in the two books I mentioned has so many lessons for us about His covenant relationship, his mercy, obedience to God's law, but it also documents the history of the return of all the of Jews from exile and captivity in Babylon.  Keepers of the Covenant relates the return of that remnant that did not go back the first time.  It is filled with God's people trying to do the right thing.  The author writes believable characters that speak to the reader in their human flaws and foibles.  It reads easily and moves smoothly from chapter to chapter.  I had a difficult time reading the story of Reuben, a Jewish boy who's father is killed in the battle on the 13th of Adar.  The story begins with Haman convincing King Xerxes to have all Jews annihilated.  A second decree allows the Jews to defend themselves.  None the less, Reuben's father is killed in that battle.  The ensuing anger on Reuben's part was hard to read but very convincing.  He turns to a life of thievery and drinking.  Ms. Austin writes this book as it may have been (probably was) lived.  She does a good job of writing so we can relate to it.  My only criticism would be that the author sometimes writes the dialogue and situations in a modern frame of mind and language making it a little confusing.
It stands out as an example of God's mercy and grace.She draws a clear picture of how we can sometimes drift into the way of the world without noticing it, just as some of the Jews did after living in Babylon for several generations.  Living in the world as a Christian is a hard thing to do and not be drawn in.  The main character, Ezra, says the following to his wife about that when talking about the earlier battle; "...believe there was a genuine spiritual renewal going on.  It was easy to rise up in faith and heroism when we faced a clear-cut enemy.  It's much harder to resist the enemy of gradualism and assimilation, much harder to maintain a passion for God when we're bogged down in the daily routine of life."  Amen!  Ain't it the truth?!  This reminded me that faithful people since the beginning of time have faced the same struggles we face today.  While not a blockbusting, all consuming read, I enjoyed this enough to think I would like to go back and read Book 1 of the Restoration Chronicles.  I give Keepers of the Covenant four stars.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House, the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.  These words are my opinion.

Cover Art

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