Monday, February 8, 2016

Book Review- A Stand At Sinai (The Promised Land Series)

Jarah, Ezra, Ada, Eitan and all our other friends from A Cry From Egypt join us again in one of the most thrilling eras in history. A Stand At Sinai takes the Israelites from the crossing of the Red Sea, through battles with the Amalekites, an Israelite wedding (wonder who?), the giving of the Ten Commandments - and the temptation of the Golden Calf.

I waited eagerly for this book for two years. Granted, it was out earlier than that, but unfortunately, this author does make it a little difficult to have easy access to buy her books. However, even after two years of waiting, I was not disappointed with the end result.

A Stand at Sinai picks up just a few weeks after the end of A Cry From Egypt. The Israelites are beginning their long journey through the desert wilderness. This book is at least twice as long as its predecessor, which was fully necessary in order to flesh out the story properly.

Just like with the ACFE, A Stand at Sinai takes you out of the sky and puts you on the ground in the Israelite's sandals. I think that many of us read the account of the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land with disgust towards the nation of Israel, their fickleness, and their short memories. We think, "How on earth could you turn away from God after all that He has done for you?" I have often thought that I wouldn't have been that foolish and fickle, I believed that I would have stayed strong.

But here's the truth: I wasn't there. I wasn't the one walking for hours on end in a hot, thirsty desert. I wasn't hungry, I wasn't scared. I didn't lose loved ones to attacks from the Amalekites. And to top it all off, many of the older generation turned away from God. It terrifies me to the core of my being to imagine what it would be like to have many of the trusted elders in your life, the people you have always relied on to be strong, suddenly turn away from the God they taught you to trust.

The Hebrew people were just that, they were people. They were inconsistent, they were foolish. Sometimes they were brave, and sometimes they were cowards. They were hungry, they were thirsty, they wanted to provide for their children. They wanted a place to call home. Welcome to the human race, for this is all of mankind. If I had been in their sandals, whose to say what I would have done. I really hope that I would have made the right choice, but a bit of reality has since taught me that I would have had to struggle and fight to make that good choice.

Auer yet again puts you right in the situation with Jarah and those around her. Jarah struggles so much in this book. Her faith is stretched to just about every limit there is. She desperately wants to do the right thing, to be a support to her family, and she dreams of a future in the Promised Land. I understood many of her struggles personally, having faced my own version of them. There is quite a bit of character development and growth that takes place in all of the characters in this book, particularly the younger generation. Several strong characters in particular take very defined stands for their faith, even after they have been dealt terrible blows, they continually turn their face towards Yahweh and resolve to follow Him, even if it breaks them.

I was deeply inspired by this book, and I felt that it came at a very pertinent time in my life. Many of my young adult peers are being tempted with the world, and some are falling away from their faith with God and running eagerly into the dark arms of the world. Its scary. I have sometimes asked myself the question, "If there was a room full of people, both strangers and beloved friends and family alike, and I was the only one who was willing to stand with God, would I be able to do it? Even if it meant walking alone in terms of human fellowship." The thought of being like the younger characters in this book who are losing their elders is even scarier.

And yet, just like the characters of the book, I keep coming to this conclusion: where else is there to go besides God? He is Almighty, the Alpha and the Omega, I AM, He is Yahweh. Where else would I go? The answer is no where. When hardship strikes, when trials come, when the pain deepens, there is no where to run to but to the Lord.

One of the most magnificent scenes of this book takes place at the foot of Mount Sinai itself. The moment when Yahweh descends upon the mountain and speaks to His people. I have a deep desire to experience something like that. Can you just imagine what it would feel like to have the ground tremble, and to hear loudly the voice of God? It is so awesome.

My only critique of this book is yet again the cover art. The artwork is beautiful, but it gives this book the feeling of a children's book. And while children could certainly read and enjoy this book, the story and writing is capable of entertaining and feeding a wider age range. I think the author may be limiting her audience with the cover art.

I highly recommend this book to anyone. It is so rich, it will encourage you in your faith, and it will give you that earthy and full-detailed picture of what it would have been like to experience this event firsthand.

Check the book out here on Amazon, or on Hope Auer's website. You can find this gifted author on Facebook and Twitter.