Book Reviews, Christian

Fiction Friday: On This Foundation by Lynn Austin

52The Powerful Concluding Novel
to The Restoration Chronicles
When news that the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire, Nehemiah, Jewish cupbearer to King Artaxerxes in Persia, seeks God’s guidance. After fasting and prayer, he’s given leave to travel to Jerusalem and rebuild the city wall, not anticipating all the dangers that await him on his arrival.
The leaders of the surrounding nations become his fierce enemies, plotting to assassinate him and halt the work. A drought, meanwhile, has left the country impoverished, many families resorting to selling their children as bondservants just to keep from starving.
Capturing the rebuilding of the wall through the eyes of a number of characters, On This Foundation is a powerful exploration of faith in the midst of oppression, and hope that, in spite of appearances, the gracious hand of God is upon those who believe.

I’ve always loved the book of Nehemiah so when the opportunity came to review Lynn Austin’s latest release I couldn’t resist. 

Rating: 5 stars for my first, and currently favorite ;), Biblical fiction novel.

What I Loved: Austin has always impressed me with her attention to detail and her careful study of historical settings, so I knew my first venture into the Biblical fiction field would be a safe one with her as my guide, and I was not disappointed.
I’ve studied Nehemiah several times, so I was familiar with the story. But the stories within the story kept it feeling like a fictional novel and were very entertaining.
But I think what shined the most were the lessons on glorifying God, restoring a right relationship with the Lord, letting go of fear and anger, staying committed to a God-given task in the face of opposition, and extending forgiveness. I’ll share a few of my favorite quotes further down the page.

What I Didn’t Love: There was an issue with character development, which I’ve NEVER said about a Lynn Austin book before. I felt like some of the characters fell flat. She did such an amazing job with the historical records that I think she simply wasn’t able to make them breathe on the paper. But the message. The message was beautifully and thoroughly handled. I was so surprised at what I learned here. I have so many quotes marked.

Who I’d Recommend it to: On This Foundation will be an excellent read for anyone who enjoys or is ready to try Biblical fiction. The Biblical messages will be a treat for any Christian.  I highly recommend it!

~I received a free copy from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to give a positive review. 

As mentioned, I was so encouraged through this novel that I just have to share some of this inspirational quotes with you. This is probably one of the most highlighted fiction books on my shelf! 

“Don’t let grief become a way of life, my little Chana. Don’t let it define your days and quench your spirit.” – Such wise instruction on grief.

“Do you know what the word desecrate means? It means turning what is sacred into common use and profaning it. Making the seventh day just like any other day by doing work or buying and selling instead of keeping the day holy and set apart as God commanded.” – I walked away from this quote thinking about the many ways I’ve taken the sacred and made it common. What about making prayer, bible study, and worship a common thing? OUCH! A much-needed rebuke, I promise you.

“His life was held firmly in His hands.”

“Jerusalem’s wall is real, but it’s also symbolic. In a way, we destroyed the wall ourselves by relying on idols instead of on God. We destroyed it by desecrating His Sabbaths. But ignoring the laws He gave us, laws that teach us how to live. These ruins are a picture of what we did to our relationship with the Almighty One – we demolished it. It’s time to repair the foundations of our faith and renew our covenant with God. To restore His laws and precepts, and live by them. Rebuilding this physical wall won’t do us any good unless we also rebuild our lives with the Almighty One at the center.”

“Most of all, Jerusalem is God’s city. His dwelling place. It shouldn’t be a shame and a disgrace to Him. You’ve seen the splendor of this Persian king’s house. Shouldn’t the heavenly King’s dwelling place evoke awe and respect, not ridicule? Our enemies should tremble at the thought of robbing or murdering His people.” – Today, as Christians, WE are God’s dwelling place. We should NEVER be someone that brings His name shame and disgrace. This quote begs the question — Are you honoring Christ with your time, attitude, body, mind, actions, and words? Or like a ruined city that bears His name, do you only bring disgrace? Do His enemies mock His name because of you?

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