I like to browse through the Christian book catalogs we receive at work to keep an eye out for new books and/or authors that our local stores may not be carrying. I am able to read a short description and then find more information online. If it is a new author or new to me, I may try to borrow it from another library to read. If I really like the book and decide I'll want to read it again, or it's something I want to share with my family, I then purchase the book.
That's what happened about a month ago when I ran across an intruguing excerpt about a brand new author and her new book, Pearl In the Sand. I borrowed the book from another library, but before I was halfway through I knew I needed my own copy. The next order I placed through Amazon included this book.
Pearl In the Sand, by Tessa Afshar, is a fictional account of Rahab's story. The Biblical account of Rahab is found beginning in Joshua Chapter 2 of the Bible. Rahab, a harlot in Jericho, hid two Jewish men sent by Joshua to spy out the land and because of her faith, she and her family were saved when God destroyed the city of Jericho. Rahab and her family became part of the Jewish nation, and she is mentioned as being part of Christ's lineage in Matthew 1:5.
Author Tessa Afshar has taken that basic information from God's Word along with her knowledge of Middle Eastern customs and filled in the blanks of Rahab's story. We see Rahab forced into a soul and body destroying profession and abandoned by the family who sold her into prostitution; see her longing for a God bigger than the cruel gods of her country; her courage in hiding the Jewish spies; her belief that the God of the Jews, Who has defeated every other nation's gods so far, might be worth believing; and we see the difficulties of integrating with a nation whose laws are so foreign to anything she's ever known.
Bible history comes alive in this book and made me eager to re-read those portions of Scripture that dealt with Rahab. God's mercy, grace and redemption are the red cord that tie the Old and New Testament together, and these truths run deep through Pearl In the Sand. Rahab comes to learn that God forgives the deepest sin, heals the deepest hurts and, if allowed to, will restore and bless us in ways we never dreamed possible.
I shared this book with my father who pastored churches for over 30 years and has a deep love and understanding of Old Testament history. He thoroughly enjoyed the book; reading it twice before giving it back to me. I also shared it with my brother. He enjoyed the story as well and mentioned how appreciative he was of the discreet way the author handled the subject of Rahab's prostitution.
By the way, did you know that the Bible tells us who Rahab married? Did you ever wonder how and why a Jew would marry a Canaanite harlot; someone they would normally despise and were told to shun? This book will give you an idea as to how that came about and does it in a way that is heart warming and memorable.
I highly recommend you get your own copy of Pearl In the Sand. It is definitely a bookshelf keeper; a gem I'll be re-reading for a long time to come.