In one life-changing moment, the lives of the Jewish exiles in Babylon are thrown into confusion and despair when a decree arrives from the king's palace in Susa. It calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire on the thirteenth day of Adar, in less than one year. Ezra, a quiet Jewish scholar and teacher, is suddenly called upon to lead the community as they seek God for a reason for this catastrophe. When a second decree arrives, authorizing them to fight back, Ezra is thrust into the role of military leader as they defend themselves against their enemies.
When the battles come to an end, Ezra's brother Jude is dead and Ezra is required by the Law he so diligently studies to marry Jude's widow, Devorah, and provide an heir. Fatherhood changes Ezra, and he asks God to make a way for him and the other exiles to leave Babylon for good and return to Jerusalem. His prayers are answered and the exiles move to Judea to revitalize worship at the temple---but the fight to keep God's Law is never easy. As more and more of his community are tempted, a new battle emerges . . . this one for the survival of God's covenant and the souls of His chosen faithful.
MEET THE AUTHUR:
Bestselling author Lynn Austin has sold more than one million copies of her books worldwide. She is an eight-time Christy Award winner for her historical novels, as well as a popular speaker at retreats and conventions. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and live near Chicago.
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"We show our faith in God when we keep moving forward even when our prayers aren't being answered. It's the highest form of praise to keep believing that God is good even when it doesn't seem that way."Such truth! And Austin's latest installment in her series The Restoration Chronicles is peppered throughout from the first page to the last with God's truth.
Keeper's of the Covenant is the second book in the series. I really appreciate Austin's attention to not only historical narratives but biblical accuracy. She includes in her "note to the reader" the Scripture passages from which her novel is based as well as a glossary of terms.
While several other stories are being told outside of the main character's (Ezra) story, Austin moves back and forth between the narratives fluently and weaves them together to cover one of the most significant times in Jewish history. One of my favorite side stories was Amina's story. Her's is such an excellent picture of God's big story of redemption and the grafting in or adoption of Gentiles into the family of God through salvation. What grace!
Some of my favorite quotes from the book:
"He (Ezra) knew that a pot couldn't be shaped without pressure. He also knew the importance of centering the lump of clay precisely in the middle of the wheel before beginning. If it wasn't centered, the emerging vessel would become deformed or even fly off the wheel as it spun. Ezra had never mastered the centering process, and his pots had inevitably become misshapen beneath the pressure of his fingers. Was that where his people had gone wrong? Had they failed to center their lives on God's law before being shaped by Him?"
"It's easy to have faith when we get everything we want from God, everything we pray for. But when we don't, we have to decide if we want His will or our own. We can't manipulate God by a display of faith or by our actions. Only idols can be manipulated. God is sovereign, and He will do what He wills, for His purposes. And those purposes are often hidden from us."Austin's books are NOT ones to miss! Anything she writes have a prominent place on my keeper shelf. They should be on yours as well!
Happy Reading Ya'll,