Friday, October 4, 2013

Book Review: The Strength of His Hand

The Strength of His Hand. Lynn Austin. 2005. Bethany House. 336 pages. [Source: Bought]

The Strength of His Hand is the third book in Lynn Austin's Chronicles of the Kings series. The first novel is Gods and Kings; the second novel is Song of Redemption. Hezekiah and Hephzibah have a strong marriage at the start of The Strength of His Hand, but, what Hezekiah doesn't know about his wife will change EVERYTHING and endanger the kingdom itself. For in this adaptation, Austin has Hezekiah's discovery of his wife's idolatry (he catches her worshipping an idol; he learns of her vow to sacrifice their first child) prove almost fatal. The direct cause being burns from a fire. In much pain--physically and emotionally--Hezekiah is certain that he must divorce Hephzibah immediately, that she lose her position as his queen. Hezekiah's illness is nearly fatal, that is completely biblical. Hezekiah seeks Isaiah and more importantly seeks God. God in his mercy extends his life by fifteen years and gives a sign to Hezekiah and the world of that promise of life. But what will Hezekiah do with those fifteen years? And will he extend mercy to others?

The Strength of His Hand focuses more on war and politics than on romance. (Song of Redemption focuses on the relationship between Eliakim and Jerusha and Hezekiah and Hephzibah). Hezekiah is a flawed king. At his best, he remembers to seek God, to trust in God and God alone, to listen to wise advice from godly men. At his worst, well, he's overly confident that he is in a good place with God and that nothing can shake him or harm his kingdom. He is proud of what good he is doing for God. He starts making decisions first and only later thinking about what God might have wanted him to do.

The Strength of His Hand still focuses on the Assyrians, but it also introduces the Babylonians.

Main characters include: Hezekiah, Shebna, Eliakim, Hephzibah, Jerusha, and Isaiah.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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