Monday, June 24, 2013

Chronicles of the Kings

I have been reading Lynn Austin's book series, Chronicles of the Kings, and am 70 pages from finishing book 3, The Strength of His Hand. At the moment, King Hezekiah is being threatened by the Assyrian army which is surrounding the city. The situation is hopeless -- the Assyrians, who depend on their brute strength, barbarian warfare, and psychological torture to subdue people wherever they go, have left no way out for the people of Jerusalem. They have mocked God and terrorized the people. Based on every evidence to the human eye, Jerusalem and all its residents will soon be destroyed.

When God sends word through the prophet Isaiah of His deliverance, will the people be faithful to Him? Will they wait for Him, or will they yield to the terrorizing taunts of the Assyrians?

Lynn Austin has done an amazing job of bringing the stories of the kings of the Old Testament to life through her series. As I read the scripture I find it difficult to sort out the kings, to fit the prophets into the proper era, and to feel like I see flesh-and-blood people living out their lives in a way I can identify with. But when I read Austin's books, the people and the details of their lives appear before me vividly. Some of the characters have several chapters of scripture dedicated to them; others are a brief whisper in the pages of the Bible. Austin deftly fills out their personalities and their roles in the story. When I turn to the scripture to read the passages she has written about, I am impressed that she is true to the scripture and each of the characters that she has brought to life, even if there is little mention of them, fit very well within the context of the Bible. 

Book one, Gods and Kings, tells of the reign of King Ahaz, known as a man who did not follow God. The story of his son, Hezekiah, is told in books two and three, Song of Redemption and The Strength of His Hand. We will meet Manasseh and the intrigue surrounding him, in the last two books, Faith of My Fathers, and Among the Gods.

I enjoy the stories of scripture coming alive. But these aren't just historical retellings. I have been challenged to consider what my own response would be if I were to find myself in similar situations to the characters. I have watched as the author has called out societal evils in the days of the kings and seen similar evils in our own day. I have witnessed the faithfulness of God through the pages and been drawn to praise Him. 

If you are wondering what to read this summer, let me recommend Chronicles of the Kings.


Joan Husby said...

You make these sound irresistible, Ginger. Thanks for the good review!

Cami said...

Love hearing of a good book series to get caught up in. Thanks!