I’m thrilled to share this guest post by Rose McCauley, a talented novelist who’s really family here at Five Stones and a Sling! Rose has been a great friend and supporter of the journey here almost since its inception. In this post, Rose highlights some fascinating insights from a book she read recently, which has inspired her to plan a trip to Israel. Thank you, Rose!
Greetings from the Bluegrass region of Kentucky! I’m excited to be a featured guest on Linda’s blog, where I often learn something I hadn’t heard before. As a former educator, I always told my students we need to keep learning all our lives, and Linda’s site is one that helps me do that!
I recently read a book that also inspired my husband and myself to plan a trip to Israel next year, so I want to share a few things with you from The Rock, The Road, and the Rabbi by Kathie Lee Gifford (with Rabbi Jason Sobel). The subtitle is “My Journey into the Heart of Scriptural Faith and the Land Where It All Began.” I found this book full of fresh insights as Kathie brings us along on her tour, following the paths Jesus walked while on this earth.
In the Introduction we meet Rabbi Jason Sobel and tour guide Ray Vander Laan. I felt like I already knew Ray Vander Laan since we went through the video series “That the World May Know” that he produced over twenty years ago when they were on VHS! An excellent series that is now available on DVD. Kathie’s introduction to Ray was the tour she and her husband Frank took with him in April, 2012.
Kathie met Rabbi Jason Sobel at a restaurant in December 2016 after several friends told her his depth of teaching on the Jewish people and their land was extraordinary. After reading this book, I agree. By teaching us about the stories and locations in Israel from her own perspective as well as these two men’s, Kathie gives us a more complete picture than just one point of view. Here are a few examples.
When the tour group arrived in Nazareth, Ray Vander Laan asked them what Jesus and Joseph did for a living before his ministry began. They all replied, “A carpenter.” Ray shocked them by saying, “Jesus wasn’t (just) a carpenter…the Greek word tekton…means builder…Jesus was a stone mason.” That reminded Kathie of many scriptures where Jesus spoke of stones and building. Rabbi Jason also added in this chapter that tekton can mean architect which fits with Jesus being the Architect of all creation. As it says in John. 1:3: “Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.”
I love to hear or read in the news about modern-day discoveries in Israel that verify the Scriptures, don’t you? Like the Dead Sea Scrolls that were hidden in caves for centuries. Another place to which the group traveled was Capernaum, where experts have debated if there really was a synagogue as described in Matthew 4:23. While there, Ray Vander Laan told them of several synagogues recently unearthed in that region.
One of my favorite chapters was about Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity. Rabbi Jason added to our understanding of Jesus’ birth by teaching that the shepherds who guarded their sheep by night around Bethlehem were probably Levitical shepherds charged with guarding the flocks used for the sacrifices in the temple in Jerusalem, and also for Passover. Jesus Himself would be the “ultimate sacrificial Lamb.”
Each Christmas we read or hear how Jesus was “wrapped in swaddling clothes,” but did you know as a Jewish babe he was also scrubbed with salt or salt water? “The salt killed any bacteria on an infant’s body. But there is a lot of spiritual symbolism in this act as well.” In mid-eastern cultures salt is often used in pacts and covenants. In 2 Chronicles 13:5 it says, “Don’t you know that the LORD, the God of Israel, has given the kingship of Israel to David and his descendants forever by a covenant of salt?”
I hope you have enjoyed this sample from three of the twenty-nine wonderful chapters in this book, which I highly recommend. It’s my prayer it will whet your appetite for a trip to Israel, too!
Rabbi Jason often speaks of symbolism, a device writers use to share their thoughts whether in fiction or non-fiction. Rose enjoys employing symbolism in her novels. If you like to read fiction with a spiritual message, Rose hopes you will enjoy one or more of her books!
Praise for Rose’s novel Surrender to Peace:
“The author has written a beautiful story about two people seeking answers from God to direct their paths. Will Joy be able to forgive her former fiancé and open her heart to someone else? Can Ben convince her to stay in Puerto Rico? Their relationship begins slowly, like a delicate flower, and blossoms as they each open their heart to His guiding. They begin to spend more time together and Joy starts to feel relaxed and happy around Ben.
“The story is filled with the history of Puerto Rico and sites that take your breath away as the author uses expressive words to make the history come to life. I loved how she showed Joy praying and seeking God to heal her hurts. The book is a lovely story of taking chances and relying on faith and listening to the wisdom God speaks. I encourage readers of light romance to read this book and explore with Joy and Ben as they take you on a journey of love, forgiveness and believing in yourself.”
– Review by Deana Dick, used with permission
Reviewers have also commented that, at its deepest level, the book is a love story between the heroine, Joy Worth, and God. Joy realizes she hasn’t heard God’s Spirit speaking to her heart the whole time she was engaged to her ex-fiancé. But she does finally hear His voice singing over her with love. as in one of Rose’s favorite verses, Zeph. 3:17: “He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Rose loves to connect with readers at: