Seeds of Turmoil: The Biblical Roots of the Inevitable Crisis in the Middle East
By: Bryant Wright
We make decisions everyday. Some of them are minor and petty, like deciding whether to have Apple Jacks or Frosted Flakes for breakfast. Others are huge and could change our lives forever, like deciding who you are going to marry. We make so many decisions throughout the day that it is easy to become flippant about them, even the big ones. We rarely stop to think about the long term consequences. Or if we do, do we give it as much serious thought as we ought to? What if you knew that every decision you made would majorly impact the rest of your life? We’d take things a little more seriously, don’t you think? What about a decision that could alter history? A decision that would impact billions of lives for thousands of years to come?
That’s what this book was about. One woman made one seemingly insignificant decision thousands of years ago and you and I are still being affected by it. That woman was Sarah, and she was married to a man named Abraham.
Abraham and Sarah were very old and still had no children. One day, God came to Abraham and made him a promise that he would have a son, and through that son, his descendants would be impossible to number (Genesis 12.6-7; 15.5). Years passed and they got older. Still no heir. Sarah decided to take matters into her own hands. She didn’t have the patience or the faith to wait on God’s timing. She offered her servant, Hagar, to Abraham so that he could have a son through her. Sarah’s plan worked. Hagar had a son, Ishmael. God eventually fulfilled His promise, and Sarah gave birth to Isaac. Even though Sarah eventually got what she wanted, it didn’t ease her feelings of resentment towards Hagar and Ishmael. she sent them away, but God had a promise for Ishmael: “As for Ishmael, …behold I will bless him, and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation” (Genesis 17.20) and also “He will be a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone’s hand will be against him; And he will live to the east of all his brothers” (Genesis 16.12).
So Isaac will be the father of a great nation, but so will Ishmael. Many people know that the Jews are descendants of Abraham and Isaac. But what about Ishmael? What about his descendants? They eventually came to reside on the Arabian peninsula. The first century historian Josephus was the first to call them “Arabs.” Sound familiar? One particular descendant of Ishmael is especially well-known. His name was Muhammad, and he was the founder of Islam.
I was very excited about this book, but I was also a little nervous at first. I was very interested in the subject, but I was afraid the book would be really deep and complicated, making it difficult to read and understand. It wasn’t like that at all. It was incredibly easy to understand. A lot of the book was going over the story of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I have always heard those stories, but it was good to hear them in light of the situation in the Middle East. It gave me a fresh perspective on all of it.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed the book. It was incredibly interesting to me, especially in light of all of the recent events with 9/11 and the war in Iraq. There was one belief that the author had about Christ coming back to reign on Earth in Jerusalem that I did not agree with. Luckily it was only mentioned briefly a couple of times. I would definitely recommend the book. =)
isclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”