What do we do with the Old Testament? How do we read words written in a world so different from ours, stories so ruthless and so filled with grace?
In Fire by Night, pastor Melissa Florer-Bixler invites readers to marvel at the Old Testament. Page after page, in stories and poems and prophecies, the Hebrew Scripture introduces us to a God who is unwieldy and uncontrollable, common and extraordinary, and who brings both life and death. Using stories from Scripture and from her ministry, Florer-Bixler braids together the text with the sometimes ordinary, sometimes radical grace of God. The same passages that confuse and horrify and baffle us can, if we are paying attention, lure us closer toward God. This God has traveled with people through cloud and fire, by day and by night, since the beginning of time.
The Old Testament is a perplexing book of profound grace, hope, and beauty. It’s a book of fire. To read the Old Testament is to draw close to God’s love, which continues to burn away our expectations and set us ablaze. This God has traveled with people through pillars of cloud and fire, by day and by night, since the days of the exodus.
“[A] fantastic debut. . . . [This] impressive exploration of Old Testament themes will be a blessing for Christians seeking intellectually grounded spiritual guidance.”Publishers Weekly starred review
“<i>Fire by Night</i> encapsulates Melissa Florer-Bixler’s delight of Scripture, ancient literature, and God. By interweaving assiduous exegesis and personal storytelling, Florer-Bixler invites the reader into relationship with the text, with the voices and experiences of scholars and neighbors, with herself, and most importantly, with God. I found myself challenged as a theologian, inspired as a pastor, and in tears as a person of faith trying to make sense of it all. What makes <i>Fire by Night</i> such an important book is that it speaks to today’s issues without being prescriptive, but by beckoning each of us to take the risk of simply being God’s beloved.”Theresa S. Thames, associate dean of religious life and the chapel, Princeton University
“Read this book for revelations of God, visions of God refracted through people and stories from the Old Testament and Melissa Florer-Bixler’s life. These pages are full of grace and wonder—images of God’s love for us and the world.”Isaac S. Villegas, pastor of Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship
“Too often, I have read the Old Testament through furrowed brow; those ancient stories and the God they depict feel impossibly remote. But Melissa Florer-Bixler’s quietly powerful book erased that distance, and I am now reading Scripture with a reawakened sense of gratitude and awe. <i>Fire By Night</i> is a book of wonders.”Christie Purifoy, author of Roots and Sky
“This is the work of a Holy Ghost preacher, words burning on the page.”Timothy B. Tyson, author of Blood Done Sign My Name
“A beautifully written, kind invitation to see the God of the Old Testament through both modern and past stories of oppressed peoples who know God as Deliverer. This book is a true gem.”Kaitlin Curtice, Potawatomi author and speaker
“Melissa Florer-Bixler is courageous enough to engage the strange world of the Old Testament with patience and to wrestle with it to come out with a blessing for today.”Luke Powery, dean of Duke University Chapel, from foreword
“With thorough analysis, testimony, and revelation, Fire by Night delivers a powerful approach to Scripture.”Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros, Tejana poet, writer, and speaker
“Melissa Florer-Bixler is a trustworthy guide through the Hebrew Scriptures. . . . This was a meaningful book for me, and I invite you to read it with care!”Drew G. I. Hart, author of Trouble I’ve Seen
“A bold exploration of Scripture by a persistent and learned reader. . . . Full of deep pastoral wisdom and exegetical insight.”Ellen F. Davis, professor of Bible and practical theology at Duke Divinity School
MaryAnn McKibben Dana, Englewood Review of Books
"Florer-Bixler, a Mennonite pastor in North Carolina, weaves contemporary stories with the narratives of scripture, and while the prose is seamless and elegant, the God we meet is anything but simple and sweet."