God Tells the Sun to Shine: An Amazing Story of Love and Forgiveness by Femi Bolaji
|God Tells the Sun to Shine: An Amazing Story of Love and Forgiveness by Femi Bolaji|
|Category: Spirituality and Religion|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A retelling of the story in Genesis Chapter 32 in accessible language which brings the tale alive for a modern generation. Femi Bolaji popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 56||Date: August 2014|
|Publisher: Partridge Africa|
Jacob was the second born of twin boys and resented the privileges that would come to Esau who was, after all only a few minutes older than him, but would get twice the inheritance from their father, Isaac, than that which would come to Jacob. Even in his teens Jacob plotted to usurp Esau’s position. What would happen if Esau died? But Esau was fit and a born hunter. Jacob thought about killing him, but the stories of what had happened to Cain and Abel came to mind and he was determined that he would not make the mistakes which Cain had made, so he developed an alternative plan and took advantage of Esau’s well-known greed: he was always desperate for something to eat. Esau is the man who sold his birthright for a bowl of lentil stew.
What Esau had done was not illegal, but it was hardly honourable and it did polarise feelings about the brothers within the family. Esau was his father's favourite: he enjoyed the venison which Esau brought back from hunting trips, but Rebekah loved Jacob. The situation could not be allowed to continue and Jacob fled just ahead of an attempt on his life by his brother. All would not go well for Jacob whilst he was in exile - a relative cheated him over seven years’ work which was meant to be the dowry to allow him to marry Rachel, but after the wedding ceremony he discovered that he had married her elder sister Leah.
Jacob was wealthy, but in a difficult situation when he decided to return with his wives (he married Rachel too) to the family home, sending gifts ahead in the hope that Esau would not attempt to kill him.
It’s a subtle story, with many layers - the sort of tale which stays with you long after you’ve finished reading. It led me to think about inheritance: Jacob was by far the more intelligent brother, but should his trickery debar him from the birthright which he had taken from his twin? If Esau could give up his birthright so cheaply, did he deserve to benefit from it in the first place? Should the matter of a few minutes make so much difference to a brother’s life? Jacob arrived in the world clutching at his elder brother’s heel - it was a close run thing! But the main message of the story is one of love, forgiveness and reconcilliation and it's one which still echoes down the centuries, largely because it isn't practiced.
Femi Bolaji does an excellent job with the characters of the two brothers. There isn’t a goodie and a baddie - both have nuanced personalities with strengths and weaknesses. You don’t automatically side with one person - it’s easy to see the argument from both sides. And talking of personalities - I loved God. He came off the page and spoke - and he could be just a little bit fickle!
The story is well told and in language which makes it accessible for the modern generation: I’d like to see more from Femi Bolaji and to thank the publisher for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
If this book appeals then we think that you might also enjoy Psalm 119 by Heather McRobie. If the holy land interests you then we can recommend Palestinian Walks: Notes from a Vanishing Landscape by Raja Shehadeh.
Femi Bolaji was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
You can read more book reviews or buy God Tells the Sun to Shine: An Amazing Story of Love and Forgiveness by Femi Bolaji at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy God Tells the Sun to Shine: An Amazing Story of Love and Forgiveness by Femi Bolaji at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.