|A NEW Biblical Fiction|
I love the smell of ink on the pages, the feel of stiff paper before use does its damage, and it gives a certain pleasure to be the first one to bend back the cover so a book never really closes tightly again!
For me, Mesu Andrew's books never really close again in my mind. The mere mention of this title will bring back memory of the living biblical characters of past centuries. Their traits, struggles, loves, and most of all, their learned steps of walking by faith parade through my mind again and leave a sweet smile in my heart.
Thank you, Mesu, for allowing me these joys with the gift of your newest book In the Shadow of Jezebel. There are lessons in this book that my heart wants to grab tightly so that I become a more faithful follower of our loving God. I want my heart to trust His protection and walk in His purpose, faithfully proclaiming His goodness and helping others respond to His love because they learn to serve Him.
Even more than reviews though, I love seeing how an author weaves biblical principles into the decisions of fictitious characters and allows her readers to ponder the greatness of a loving God who patiently "works good according to his purpose for those who love him."
I realize Jehosheba is the main character, but I fell in love with the Jehoiada's heart while he was still second to the high priest and assisted in daily struggles of the elderly honorary. As I read the opening pages of the plot, I was given the opportunity to hear the musings of his heart and his conversations with his God, Yaweh.
|Photo by Desiray Lewis|
In every circle the discussions begin on a modern trend that accepts the acts of unbelief and disobedience as "a normal" for the majority. I recently found this online rejection to the popular Christian discussion, reminding believers to claim the power in the gift of the Holy Spirit given to God's children .
For some reason, there are some who show the possible acceptance of God's love immediately and use His Word as their guiding lamp throughout the rest of their lives. Jehoiada is one of these men. He was trained to know and practice God's laws and be a leader in righteousness, but he also learned to live faithfully in his daily decisions because he believed in the comfort of a loving God. He picked up the mantle and followed a holy calling voluntarily because he recognized God's awesome Presence and trusted God's mighty help in times of trouble.
When this approach is mentioned in modern Christian circles, the word perfection is scoffed. Yet, Mesu did an wonderful job showing that Jehoiada's love and obedience did not make him perfect, but allowed him to surrender to the constant peace of God's involvement in his nation, in his personal life, in his relationships, in daily decisions made on his account, and in his priestly service.
I wondered at Jehoiada's family tree as I read the many times where anger was his first response. As far back as Genesis 49, a patriarch's blessing marks the anger of his forefather, Levi, as a constant historical remembrance. This could have been a red thread of sin that Jehoiada inherited in the flesh and had to battle constantly in his zeal for the Lord. His anger almost blinded him to common sense and reason, made stumbling doubt creep into his heart and confronted his faith as a substituted worshiped god. His anger was his constant personal battle and often hurt those he loved.
Yet this anger also turned to zealous courage when he needed to stand against the audacious and confused king who questioned the righteousness and sovereignty of God's law. His zeal also stood boldly, upholding the faithful worship of Yahweh when confronted by the evil queen and her false religion. His aging body often challenged this zealous strength in his fight on the Lord's side, and although he admitted his weakness was part of his sinful nature, he didn't allow it to have ultimate control or become the normal excuse.
He strongly stands firm when he turned his weakness into a godly trust and lived God's Word for others to follow. His faith leaned on the knowledge of a Sovereign God for the outcomes of life and was rewarded over and over again for his faithful walk with His God.