When Tessa messaged me on Facebook to ask if I’d consider endorsing Harvest of Gold, I was elated! I love her work, and I’d been waiting with GREAT anticipation for this sequel to Harvest of Rubies. It took me all of two seconds to respond with a “YES!!!”
I Enjoyed It Slowly…
I’m a slow reader by nature, and for this book…I’m especially glad. It was like eating a rich, creamy slab of New York cheesecake, relishing every scene and character bite-by-delectable-bite.
Here’s What I Thought…
Engaging. Inspiring. Heart- stopping and heart- rending. Harvest of God takes readers on a journey from ancient Persia to the broken-down walls of Jerusalem, re-building our hope as Nehemiah’s story is woven through a complex plot with multi-layered characters we love and hate and then love some more. A fabulous biblical novel that sent me straight back to God’s Word!
God’s Timing Is Perfect
While I was reading Harvest of Gold, I was enduring a personal spiritual struggle–a bit of a wrestling match with God concerning a sin He had revealed in my heart. I was devastated, convicted–even condemned to the point of self-loathing. Ever been there? When I finished Harvest of God, I went to my Bible and began reading Nehemiah. My heart nearly burst at the Lord’s love and mercy when I read the words:
“This day is sacred to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep…Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:9-10
A Lesson on Praise From Nehemiah
I’ve always been quite tough on myself when it comes to the substance of my prayers, never feeling like I praise God enough, always too much me, me, me, and too many requests. But it’s hard to come up with unique praise, something that sounds new and majestic enough to describe my infinite God! Nehemiah 9 gives the substance of the Levites’ confession and worship that lasted for HOURS! Any guesses on the topics of their praise?
“You made the heavens, even the highest heavens…You are the Lord God, who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and named him Abraham…You saw the suffering of our forefathers in Egypt; you heard their cry at the Red Sea…You divided the sea before them, so that they passed through it on dry ground…But they, our forefathers, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and did not obey your commands…But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them.” Nehemiah 9:6-17
Their praise wasn’t anything original. It was simple. Even repetitive.
- God’s promises fulfilled
- God’s faithfulness during trouble
- God’s merciful forgiveness when they (or their forefathers) sin
One More Lesson From Nehemiah
Remember the sin I mentioned earlier? I didn’t kill anyone or pillage a village. You might not even consider it sin–but it was sin because I’d missed the mark. I knew what God asked of me, and I ignored it. Here’s the perfect description of THAT KIND of sin:
“But they were disobedient and rebelled against you; they put your law behind their backs.” Nehemiah 9:26
To me, “putting God’s law behind our backs,” means knowing what we’re supposed to do…and refusing to do it. I’ve got the right tool in my hand, but I put it behind my back and don’t use it. That’s sin.
Why Read Biblical Novels?
All these messages to my heart came in the days during and after I read Tessa’s book. Biblical novels were never meant to replace time spent in God’s Word, they’re meant to enrich our study and add new dimension to our understanding.