The Derision of Heaven by Michael Whitworth
Unaccustomed to Michael Whitworth’s writing, I was glad to receive this book for review in the mail on the Book of Daniel. The Book, Derision of Heaven, is a guide to the book of Daniel as Michael looks at the hostile world that Daniel is up against in Babylon and the world we live in also. With a combination of scholarly acumen and theological wisdom, Michael steadily brings us through the situation that Daniel faced and the situation we face today. With an eye towards God’s sovereign work over all nations, the obedience that he calls believers to, and the way believers are to live in ungodly cultural circumstances, The Derision of Heaven makes for an excellent read.
One of the significant aspects of the book was the way Michael opened up key points in Daniel’s life that helped us frame the entire message of the book. In the first chapter Michael writes, “The word “resolved” (Hebrew sim) in 1:8 is among the most important in the entire book. It marks Daniel as a man of great integrity and conviction, one absolutely committed to doing God’s will and bringing God glory” (32). Daniel paid careful attention to serving God in his heart and in his actions regardless of what those people around him were asking him to do. The importance of Daniel’s resolve was in part due to his resolve “to buck the trends of so many generations before him” (33) and follow after God and his Law. Israel prior to Daniel looked more like the nations that squashed them than a holy people devoted to a jealous God.
Not a point easily seen, Michael’s careful use of good scholarly material on Daniel is to be commended. In Daniel 7, he references the four different empires alluded to in ch. 7-12 as having various interpretations, whether they be from conservative or liberal scholars (134). He goes on to make the telling comment that, “..obtaining a scholarly consensus on most anything in Dan 7-12 is as likely as getting a bus full of adolescents to agree on where to eat lunch on a long road trip” (134). Yet, he takes the position that the fourth empire in Daniel is Rome. Michael is careful to outline the various views of the kingdoms and still cogently argue for his position.
Overall, this book was a blessing in disguise. I was not expecting to find such God-glorifying writing that used such great background research. You will certainly find much to learn from and grow from in this book.
Thanks to Book Crash and Start2Finish Books for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.