After decades of exile, the prophesies are coming true–King Cyrus has declared the Jews may return to Jerusalem. Iddo, a priest, is sure this is a sign of God’s renewed favor. For too long they’ve remained in Babylon, and many, including Iddo’s sons, are losing the faith that sets them apart. And so only a few choose to leave everything to return–return to their home and their God.
Nothing about their journey to the Promised Land is easy. As hardships mount, even the faithful, like Iddo’s beloved wife, Dinah, question the sacrifice of following God’s leading. Zechariah, Iddo’s oldest grandson, feels torn between his grandfather’s ancient beliefs and the family they left behind. But one life-changing encounter with the Holy One gives him insight that will change Zechariah–and history–forever.
Bringing the Old Testament to vibrant life, Return to Me tells the compelling story of two men living by faith in the midst of doubt, the women who love them, and the faithful remnant struggling to rebuild their lives in obedience to the God who beckons them home.
I had reviewed On This Foundation (Book 3 of the Restoration Chronicles) last year and knew that I needed to go back and read the first two books of the series. And boy am I glad that I did!! This one was even better!
What I Loved: I was very skeptical about Biblical fiction. How can you write fiction and stay true to the Bible at the same time when the Bible is often vague in various areas? The truth is, when working with historical figures of the Bible, you can’t. Large portions of the story WILL be fiction. However when you pick up the right author they can take you to a world that you’ve never seen before. They can help you see, feel, and understand the setting, traditions, and context that we’ve read about in the Bible. Lynn Austin is one of those authors that you can trust to bring you fiction in a realistic way.
Return to Me told the story of the 1st exodus of the Babylonian captives as they return to Jerusalem and struggle to rebuild the temple. The prophet Zechariah and his family are the main characters of this story. Austin brings some beautiful truths to life in this novel. The overall theme was returning to God. My highlighter stayed busy as I marked passages that most edified me as I read.
Rating and Recommendation: I highly recommend this novel to all Christian readers. Not only will it help bring to life passages of the Bible, but will also draw you closer to Christ. I’m happily giving it 5 stars.
“The rain never came last year, remember? Just a few spitting drops from clouds that had no substance, no life-giving water. That’s what we must seem like to the Holy One. We’ve been all talk and hot air when it comes to our faith and to rebuilding His temple, but with no life-producing results.”
“Our enemies are very shrewd, Zaki. But they won’t be able to stand in God’s way for long.”
“’Why do you want to perform all those rituals at the temple? Is it from love or from duty? Is it merely to appease the Almighty One because you fear more punishment if you don’t?’
Iddo didn’t know what to say. Was it true that he served God only out of fear? Could he say that he loved God or that he believed God loved him? He wanted Dinah to walk beside him because she loved him – was it possible that God wanted the same thing?”
“’Why is it so impossible to follow God?’ Berekiah asked bitterly.
‘It’s hard,’ Iddo said, ‘That’s why so few people do it. But it’s not impossible.’”
“You may be old enough, but you’re not showing much wisdom. Did you pray and ask for guidance before deciding? I believe you should.”