This week, COTT's Book Club is taking a further look at The Stones by Eleanor (Ellie) Gustafson!
Much of it is narrative, but when Ellie pens dialog, she does it with expertise. The things her characters say either crack me up or sober me with their depth of wisdom. Ellie is indeed a master at crafting compelling dialog.
The event that stood out to me the most during the second quarter of the book was David’s move from Hebron to Jebus (which he renamed Jerusalem). I’m not sure if I just glanced over it every time I’ve read it in Scripture or if there just isn’t much there, but it was practically new information for me.
Ellie wrote a nail-biting account of the take-over of the city from the Jebusites. I never thought about who occupied Jerusalem before David or for how long. For those who haven’t read the book, the Jebusites had control of the city for hundreds of years before David decided he wanted it for his capitol. But that’s all I’m saying! You’ll have to buy the book if you want to find out exactly how David entered the highly-defended and, up to this point, unconquerable fortress.
Before the battle David addressed the troops. This is what he said:
“Look up, all of you, to the hill above Jebus. Mt. Moriah, Abraham brought his son Isaac from Beersheba to this place to sacrifice him in obedience to God’s command. He stood right where you’re standing now. He looked up in dread, yet set food to the mountain, confident that God—somehow, in some way—would provide. And he did. As Abraham raised his knife, the angel of the Lord stayed his hand. So shaken he could hardly stand, Abraham looked around, and there in the thicket, caught by its horns, was the sacrifice God provided in place of Isaac.
“Abraham called the mountain, ‘The Lord will provide,’” David continued, “and we’ll hold to that word today. We’ll climb Mt. Moriah, and there Yaweh will provide. Here, in the name of the Lord, we claim that miserable shelf called Zion. It shall be cleansed of Jebusites and be forever known as Jerusalem, Mt. Zion, the Holy City of God.”
That passage deeply impacted me. Having grown up on the Thoene’s work, I’ve always been fascinated with Jerusalem, but Ellie took me back to the beginning and drew a thread through the centuries, through David and to Christ. Although you didn’t mention it, the reader easily draws the thread the rest of the way through to present-day and the ongoing struggle for God’s Holy City.
Our God is an awesome God! History is already written and he sees the big picture with perfect clarity. We can only hope to catch a glimpse.
Head over to COTT's Bookclub Blog, or join us on Facebook, to hear what the author has to say!
Have any of you visited Israel? If so, share your favorite part of the experience. If not, tell us the first place you’d want to see if you were told you’d be flying there tomorrow.
I hope you'll join us over at our Book Club headquarters for more conversations on this wonderful book And if you'd like to read along with us next month, make sure you pick up your copy of COTT champ, Delia Latham's, Destiny's Dream. We'll be discussing this fun romance in August!
~April Gardner is the Senior Editor of COTT and author of Wounded Spirits.