After the amazing deliverance from Egypt, you would think the people of Israel would have said “Wow! We should follow Him all the days of our lives and not turn to other gods!” But, they didn’t. Time and time again, Israel sinned. God handed them over to their enemies; they called on Him for help, He rescued them and then they turned to other gods yet again.
My husband and I have been reading through the Old Testament chronologically and as we have been going through the lives of the kings we keep reading, “He did evil in the eyes of the Lord” or “but he didn’t take down the high places”. God so graciously sent prophet after prophet to warn His people of the coming judgement if they didn’t repent, but they refused to listen. Their captivity and exile to Babylon was not God ignoring His people or being unable to deliver them. It was discipline to get them to turn back to Him.
It is easy to look at this and criticize the nation, yet the reality is, we tend to do the same thing. Maybe not by sacrificing our sons and daughters to idols but we fail Him all the time, harden our hearts and insist on our own way. It is only through His grace and mercy that He offers us forgiveness and the gives us Holy Spirit to empower us to live lives that are pleasing to Him.
By the Waters of Babylon
by Mesu Andrews
Published by McPherson Publishing
Publication Date August 1, 2018
Genres: Biblical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Babylon Babylonian Exile - 609 BC - 515 BC
Written for: Adults
When Babylon destroys Jerusalem, as Yahweh warned through his prophets, the captives' bitterness and grief pours out in the Captives' Psalm:
"[By the rivers of Babylon] we sat as exiles, mourning our captivity, and wept with great love for Zion. Our music and mirth were no longer heard, only sadness. We hung up our harps on the willow trees." (Psalm 137:1-2, The Passion Translation)
A young Israelite woman is among them, captured by a mercenary Scythian prince. Driven toward Babylon by both hatred and hope, she endures captivity to reunite with her husband.
But will he be there when she reaches Babylon? Will the prince risk the Scythian throne--and his life--to believe in the Hebrew God? Can they both find what they seek when they meet the prophet Ezekial. . . by the rivers of Babylon?
I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
Talk about making the Bible come alive! I have read through the Bible multiple times and seem to get a little lost going through the books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Author Mesu Andrews did such an excellent job of taking this ugly and difficult time – the fall of Jerusalem and exile to Babylon – and made the events clear and understandable. The way she combined Biblical history with secular history and her imagination made for a fascinating story.
I really loved the way she took the story in such unexpected directions. She handled the distressing parts of the account with tact and finesse so I knew the details without the horrific images that would never leave my brain.
I also loved the way she so clearly delineated the reason for the Babylonian captivity and showed the kindness and faithfulness of God in and through it. She didn’t make light of Israel’s sin nor did she sugarcoat the conditions of Jerusalem at the time of the siege and yet the story was one of hope, of love and redemption.
This is the first book I have read by this author, but it will certainly not be the last!