“On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. 2 They set out from Rephidim and came into the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness. There Israel encamped before the mountain, 3 while Moses went up to God. The Lord called to him out of the mountain, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is Mine; 6 and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel’” (Ex. 19:1-6).
What did the Hebrews do at the foot of Mount Sinai for over a year? – Connilynn Cossette
In all of my Sunday school lessons and Bible studies, I have always pictured the wandering Israelites as a group of complainers – all following after the one true God but stumbling often (as we Christians do) and losing sight of Who was leading them. I have lumped them all together as one big, obnoxious mob!
That is until I met Shira, a Hebrew woman living at the foot of Mount Sinai and created by the rich imagination of author Connilynn Cossette.
Shadow of the Storm is the second book in Cossette’s Out from Egypt series, which brings to life the people who actually lived through the greatest exodus in all of history. For the first time, I was confronted with the fact that Moses wasn’t just leading Hebrews but also was leading Egyptians who were swept up with the mob. Either they had married a Hebrew or had decided that the Israelite’s God was worth following.
What an amazing realization to see that even in the Old Testament, God was saving people that were not a part of his “Chosen People”! He gave outsiders, or gerim, the chance to lay their sins at the foot of the mountain. But guess what? Some of the Hebrew people were just as prejudiced as people can be today! Can you imagine what a burden that must have been for Moses?
Cossette first introduced Shira as a secondary character in her first book, Counted with the Stars, as a slave girl who worked alongside Kiya and led her to Jehovah. (I have not had the privilege of reading this book yet, but it is definitely on my must-read list!)
Shira is a devout Hebrew woman, who lost her father in Egypt and lives with her mother, sisters, and brother in the Hebrew camp. She has resigned herself to living her life all alone after being brutally attacked and made barren by a cruel Egyptian man before the Exodus. She is determined to find a way to love weaving – just as her mother has always done and her mother before her.
I envisioned a very boring life for Shira – sitting around weaving in the desert, eating the same manna over and over again every single day, and wondering if this life was any better than the life in Egypt. Can you imagine it?
Connilynn could! In her book, Connilynn paints such a clear picture of what is described in scripture that it is clear that she has done extensive research.
Shadow of the Storm begins with one of the most deplorable acts performed by the Israelites – the creation of a golden calf to worship as Moses is on top of the mountain standing in the very presence of God! Because of their disobedience, Moses commands the Levites to kill everyone who participated in the worship of this false idol. That part of the story has just always seemed a part of the harsh Old Testament law. But imagine living through that! There were many widows and orphans created on that night!
Connilynn brings to life the horror, panic, anger, and overwhelming loss of that night. But amidst the chaos, there are still women in labor and in desperate need of midwives. When Shira sees the need, she finds herself volunteering her services – despite her mother’s disapproval.
Shira feels a yearning to be a midwife, but how can she be if she herself has never experienced giving birth?
Dvorah is a gerim living among the Hebrews. She worships the goddesses of her ancestors and has no plans to give herself over to the one true God – especially after her husband is killed by the Levites, leaving her to raise her son by herself. Forced to live with her lecherous brother-in-law and his wives, Dvorah begins to offer her services as a midwife as well in order to keep her brother-in-law from abusing her and her son or, worse, throwing them out to survive on their own.
There couldn’t be two more unlikely women pushed together to prove their worth as midwives.
In the middle of all of this, Shira meets a friend of her brother’s, Ayal, whom she begins to dream of marrying – until she is called to deliver his wife’s baby. When complications arise, Dvorah makes Shira feel as though the woman has died because of her inexperience. Fearful of losing anyone else, Shira returns to a life of weaving, despite being pulled back to Ayal’s tent every day to care for the new baby and his two boys.
Now Shira is face-t0-face with a man she can never marry but longs to call “husband.” At the same time, Dvorah sees an opportunity to escape her current living conditions and sets her sights on Ayal as well.
Will Shira ever find love and be able to heal from the wounds of her past? Will Dvorah find the peace that she has always longed for?
Is the God of the Old Testament as compassionate and true as the God of the New Testament?
I have to tell you that this book was such an excellent read for me! I have heard these truths of Hebrew history ever since I was a child, but I have never seen the people who lived these moments. Because of this book, I am able to picture the real people found in Exodus, Deutoronomy, and Numbers – people who are just like we are – stubborn, forgetful, deceitful, prideful, prejudiced, and just overall sinful!
What an amazing God we serve – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! The God Who doesn’t abandon us in the desert but shows His greatness in our every day life!
Thank you so much to Connilynn Cossette, Amy Green, and Bethany House Publishers for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of the book launch team for this book! You have been wonderful to work with and to get to know better!
I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book for yourself and do your own in-depth study of the Israelites in the wilderness. You may be surprised to find that we aren’t so different from them and need a Savior just as much as they did!