Monday, August 5, 2013

David and Bathsheba... a novel by Roberta Kells Dorr.

David and Bathsheba

The writer of Biblical Fiction has the ability to tell such powerful, moving stories... 
Well-done Biblical fiction can help us feel the living heart, made out of real flesh, like ours, that beat inside each man and woman whose story is told in Scripture, including Christ Jesus Himself, when the Word became flesh.  

Biblical fiction can let us into Mary's joy and wonder and worry, 
as she felt the Christ Child growing within her, sheltered in her womb, 
and she an unwed girl facing a world that would believe the worst of her! 

Biblical fiction can take us inside the life of Abraham, who killed a calf the ordinary way and roasted the meat with all it's accompanying sizzle and good smell, then served this meal to The Lord himself in the shade of an oak tree! 

And Biblical Fiction can give us a window into the spirits of David and Bathsheba, one of my favorite couples in Scripture.
Roberta Kells Dorr tells this story of a man and woman whose names are synonymous with devastation and seduction... but whose story does not end in despair, it ends in redemption. The weight of sin, the fear and guilt left in the wake of their choices, then the burden lifted by the God who gives Grace and who makes a place for us with Him for eternity.

Their story is a story of the darkest sin: lust, desire, adultery, murder, and judgement. Their home was rent by the effects of their sin, and they were never able to fully mend it... and yet their story is also the story of complete forgiveness, cleansing, and renewal, best expressed in David's Psalm 51. This Psalm came pouring from David's crushed, repentant soul, and became a hymn of worship to the God who gives us His Own purity to cover our iniquity. 

When you end this book, you not only have a much better feel for David and Bathsheba's time in history, you have a heart spilling over with gratefulness for your own salvation... and you want to pray again the Words of Psalm 51.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; 
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Thank you Moody Press for my review copy!

ROBERTA KELLS DORR is the author of seven books: six novels, one biography. She majored in creative writing at the University of Maryland and received her master's in Religious Education from the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. For seventeen years Dorr lived in the Middle East as the wife of a busy missionary surgeon and the mother of five children. On her return to the United States she carried with her the manuscript of the first novel she had written and researched extensively over the years. She claimed that the years in the Middle East, the exposure to their culture, and the experiences she had while there profoundly influenced what she wrote.

Roberta Kells Dorr
~March 2, 1922 - August 21, 2010~

Somehow Roberta always saw the great wonder in what was going on around her. She said it was an attribute she must have gotten from her father, Robert Kells, a man who loved great literature, great possibilities and adamantine accomplishments (his type of word) of God’s creatures everywhere. She painted (sketches, water colors, oils, pastels), she journaled (books and books of thoughts scratched out alongside line drawings), she asked questions of people great and small (wanting to know how or why they thought they way they did), she counseled troubled souls in the direction of God’s great shores of peace and reconciliation, she acted in and wrote plays, and she raised five children in the wilds of the sand dunes of Gaza and the ragged, majestic mountains of Yemen, all the while trusting that God was good and would, in all things, accomplish His intended purpose through her obedience and her family.

She was a lady that enjoyed the finer things in life, yet spent much of her time in the wilderness school of the Father. Those sharp blasting sands, searing waves of heat and trackless wastelands were all tools in the hands of a loving God that honed her talent, skills and her listening heart in such a way that she could write and tell the great stories of history and the Bible like she had lived them - and maybe she did. 

This may all sound rather somber in reflection, yet life was anything but that in the house of Dorr. Sometimes we would get to telling and acting out a story such that everyone ended up wheezing, gasping for breath and “seeing” the absolute hilarity of the matter. So much laughter and joy could not have spilled out of the house of Dorr had it not been for Roberta’s worldview of the goodness of God and His hiding a silver dollar in the sands of life.

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