Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gods and Kings...

Nice and busy here, but Saturday was kind of strange. For the first time in longer than I can remember- I could feel boredom setting in. My kids both had an event that day, so once I dropped them off, I really didn't have anything I HAD to do, or WANTED to do. It was slightly panicky. No horses to work, no cleaning to do, no weeds to pull, nothing.
So, I decided to indulge in another treat- and picked up a fiction book I bought a long time ago, but never started reading. It was one of those books you find on the $2 table, that you know sounds good, but if it is a stinker, you won't be out too much.

The title is "Gods and Kings" by Lynn Austin. Wow. I was totally surprised to find so much sound doctrine, encouragement, and Jewish history in one little novel. I wouldn't say it should win a literary award- the writing is mediocre, but the characters are fanastic, and the story touched my heart- because it follows the Bible so closely. Borrow it from me, order it and buy it for yourself, whatever- but you will love it!

The setting is towards the end of King Ahaz's reign, and then focuses on King Hezekiah. It starts with Hezekiah as a boy, and as his father is a total idolater, he is forced at a young age to watch his half brothers be sacrificed by fire to the false God, Molech. Needless to say, it is terrifying. Yet, through his father's wickedness, the story shows how God has already chosen Hezekiah to be the King to lead the Israelites back to Him. Isaiah and Micah the prophet are key characters, as well as Hezekiah's grandfather, the high priest Uriah, and Hezekiah's dear mother.

There has been obviously some fictional license to develop the characters and dialogue, but as I read 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles, as well as portions of Isaiah to see how closely the story followed the true events, I was pleased to see the events were right on. And to read as a boy turned King gets saved and brings hope and light to a wicked place- ah! What a great story. Lots of Biblical quotes from the prophets and the Law as well. There are 5 books in the series, and needless to say- I am anxiously awaiting the UPS guy for book 2. :)

Here is an excerpt from the first book. Hezekiah's mother has snuck away to see her father, Zechariah, who is imprisoned for teaching Yahweh's laws to his grandson. Lots happened due to events I would rather you read about (Muhahahaha). What you should know is Zechariah was the High Priest under King Uzziah, Hezekiah's great grandfather. Because Zechariah failed to teach Uzziah God's ways, he has watched Judah be destroyed by the idolatry and evil that first, Uzziah, and now King Ahaz have brought. He starts out in the story a miserable alcoholic who only wishes to die, and now, Yahweh has redeemed him and given him new life:
"How can you be so calm about it? You're being held prisoner for no reason, without even a trial." (spoken by Queen Abijah, Zechariah's daughter, Hezekiah's mother)
"It's all right Abijah. Yes, at first I questioned God throughout the long, boring days and sleepless nights. I kept waiting for Him to vindicate me and to punish my enemies. And when He didn't, I immersed myself in the Holy Torah, always questioning, demanding answers.
But when I read the Book of Job, and I discovered another victim of injustice who demanded answers from God. And do you know what I learned from Job? Yahweh doesn't owe us an explanation for what He does. He's sovereign over all:'Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens- what can you do? They are deeper than the depths of the grave-what can you know? If he comes along and confines you in prison...who can oppose Him?'
So you see? I don't need to know why anymore." (Zechariah's response)

Yeah, many times have I asked "Why?" and forgot that God doesn't owe me an explanation? It was such a perfect time for this reminder, and encouraged my heart Saturday as I wondered "why" on pretty much every aspect of my life.

Thank you, Lord, for great stories that bring you glory. You are an awesome God- and so worthy of our praise. Thank you that BECAUSE you are sovereign, I don't need to wonder and worry.

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