Monday, February 23, 2009

Book Review: Heart of a Lion

Morris, Gilbert. 2002. Heart of A Lion. Bethany House. 344 pages.

The sun's white disc still burned brightly in the sky as it settled toward the western horizon.

Heart of A Lion is the first book in a series, the "Lions of Judah" series by Gilbert Morris. The series seeks to novelize the ancestors of Christ, trace his family tree so to speak. The front cover reads, "Enticed by the world's pleasures, humanity's common ancestor fights the spiritual battle of the ages."

When the reader first meets Noah, he is sixteen. Curious about women, about girls, certainly. The fact that he is tempted--and does in fact succumb to lusty pleasures is interesting. But what he discovers--and rather quickly, perhaps too quickly?--is that this doesn't lead to a happy life, a satisfied life. He's repulsed--not so much by the woman he was with, but by the lifestyle of those around him. Idol worshipers. Those that believe in human sacrifice. Those consumed with pleasure and greed and power. He both regrets his dalliance and relishes it. This fictional Noah holds onto this love--tainted as it may be, the product more of lust than true love--for many many decades--maybe even a century or more.

But for the most part, the Noah of the book is older and wiser. His teen years only get a couple of chapters. Soon Noah is listening to his God-worshiping friend, Zerah, and his grandfather, Methuselah. Noah is a carpenter. A craftsmen. A man who lives apart from almost everyone. A man with a good reputation. But not many friendships--as the years pass, he realizes that there are fewer and fewer people worshiping God and more and more people worshiping false gods. Noah is the one of prophecy--in this story--he's the one from his clan whom Methuselah feels should have the lion medallion. This lion medallion signifies the promise of redemption. It is to be given to the man in the family whose life and heart belongs to God the most. It's a sign that one day a Redeemer will come. This is of course purely a work of fiction. I'm not saying it's a bad thing....or a good thing. It's there; it's a theme. (Noah towards the end of his life does have a vision of Jesus, of the Savior who will come from his line.)

This one doesn't have a horribly fast-moving plot. We meet Noah at several different stages in his life--probably five or six different ages or stages. A little over a third of the book deals with the flood--building and preparing the ark, the last fifty or sixty pages deal with the Flood itself and its aftermath. Most of the book seeks to show life before the Flood--the sinful cultures, societies, and peoples that populated the earth. Noah's willingness to worship God--the Strong One or the Ancient One. Relationships. A lot of the book was devoted to getting each of Noah's sons a wife.

The Bible never claims that Noah was perfect, that he was sinless. It just says that he found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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