Monday, October 20, 2014

Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin

Keepers of the Covenant
by Lynn Austin
Biblical Fiction
Baker Publishing Group

Lynn Austin once again brings the Old Testament to life in Keepers of the Covenant, book two in the Restoration Chronicles.
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.

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.

Find Lynn online: websiteFacebook

Margie's Comments: Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin is the second book in the Restoration Chronicles. I don't usually like to read books in a series out of order. While there were some instances where I felt a little lost, wondering if I should have read the first book—Return to Me—the book can stand alone as a very good read. I've always loved the story of Esther, but I've never read about the millions of Jews who were directly affected by Haman's attempt to wipe out their nation (other than what is recorded in the book of Esther). The author's characterizations and her choice of characters made the people and this time in biblical history come alive. While there are several themes, the one that touched me most was the theme of faith in God, which includes God's faithfulness to mankind. True biblical faith believes in God and who He is as revealed in Scripture and in our life experiences no matter if we can sense Him near or if we can understand His working. It means staying true and obedient to Him even if it's the hardest thing we've ever done. Amina, a Gentile-born believer in God, summarizes faith when her husband was faced with possibly having to divorce her. He says he'll take her and go live somewhere else if the worst happened. Amina says, "I don't think faith works that way, Reuben. Before we can ask for mercy, we have to be prepared to obey the Almighty One no matter what happens. Abraham didn't know that God would provide a ram in the thicket in place of Isaac. He was willing to obey and sacrifice the son he loved no matter what." And that's exactly what faith is—trusting and obeying God, even when it doesn't make sense. God is good, no matter what. Keepers of the Covenant and the Restoration Chronicles are excellent biblical fiction that I can highly recommend to fans of this genre. 

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