The Derision of Heaven
Every day, it seems the world is becoming increasingly hostile to Christianity. Values are being abandoned, faith is being scorned, and God’s people are being violently shoved to the margins. Events are taking place I never thought I’d ever see in my lifetime, the most troubling of which being the legalization of gay marriage in many states and the disregard for religious freedom so rampant under Obamacare. I believe, very simply, that the American church is headed into an unprecedented exile. God's people are therefore posed with two questions.
- How can we be the “light of the world” in such abject darkness? How do we deal with the disturbing realization that the world is not interested in our message? Is a life of integrity really worth the pain and aggravation?
- How can God still be in control of all things? Admit it: this question has crossed your mind. There are times when we wonder if God is asleep at the wheel. Can he really be in charge of world events? Can he really be aware of the suffering around the world? Why has he not shown greater indignation over the death of 50 million aborted children? Over the violence in our communities and the faithlessness in our homes? Over the desecration of the marriage covenant? Over the fact that the Dallas Cowboys haven’t won a Super Bowl in 17 years?
OK, maybe I’m the only one indignant about that last one.
When Sara and I learned we were expecting a son, I decided to turn to the Old Testament book of Daniel for my next writing project. Yes, the book is about my son’s name-sake. But the book of Daniel also carries profound relevance for the world into which my son was born last Wednesday. In Daniel, we are inspired by the resolve of four Hebrew young men to honor their Lord, as well as their determination to worship him alone no matter the cost. Whether it be the fearlessness of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the Fiery Furnace, or the piety of Daniel praying to God though he knew it to be an illegal act, these stories matter in our world.
But I also found the strange visions of Daniel 7-12 very intriguing. Yes, I think they’re weird, and I say that as one who has held a life-long reverence for Scripture being the very breath of God. But I also discovered those visions to contain a lot of comfort for the persecuted people of God. We might not be able to decipher every symbol, but the overwhelming lesson of each vision is that God is large and in charge, that nothing happens on the world-stage (or in our personal lives, for that matter) that he does not know about. The Ancient of Days uses every event to further his purposes in the world and move it one step closer to the glorious end of all things.
I chose for this guide to Daniel the title “The Derision of Heaven,” a phrase lifted from Psalm 2:2-4.
“The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed … He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.”
Whether it be elected officials who only rule a set number of years, or dictators and despots who reign indefinitely with absolute and tyrannical authority, Scripture is clear that God establishes boundaries for every ruler and mocks their presumption and hubris. He weighs each in the balance and finds them lacking if they do not acknowledge him as Sovereign Lord. Political leaders come and go. Empires come and go. Yet the Kingdom of God stands forever.
This is the message of the Book of Daniel.
I ask for your support of this project in three ways (do the first, and pick from the final two).
- Pray for the success of this project—both its creation and its success. Pray that people are brought to deeper faith in and reliance on God by studying the Book of Daniel.
- Pre-Order the book. If at any time you change your mind, I'll gladly refund your money.
- Support the project on Kickstarter.com. Kickstarter is a new way to crowd-fund creative projects, including art, music, and books. Since their launch in 2009, more than 3.8 million people have pledged over $568 million, funding more than 39,000 creative projects. Our minimum goal of $500 has been met, but we still need about $900 to give this book maximum exposure. Only a few days left to get in on the excitement! We have some cool rewards for those who pledge:
- $8 - free eBook
- $15 - free autographed book
- $20 - autographed book AND eBook
- $50 - all this, plus chance to preview the book in advance of everyone else
- $100 - 3 autographed books, eBook, and your name featured in the Acknowledgments!
I anticipate the book releasing in Late Summer 2013. When you read the book, I hope you will be awe-struck by the sovereign rule of God, emboldened by how he mocks rebellious powers, and encouraged to serve the Ancient of Days and his kingdom that will never pass away.
Father, to you belongs all the glory. You hold the world in your hands and mock those who stand in rebellion against you. I do not know what the future holds for the American church. But Father, you know. I thus pray you will inspire your people towards a fearless faith and a fierce resolve. May we walk before you with integrity all the days of our lives. May our lives be a testimony of truth and love to the world. And when our lives on earth have ended, may you bring us into your eternal presence. May you cause us to inherit your Forever Kingdom, one that will never pass away. In the name of He who holds dominion over all things forever and ever… Amen.
[button link="http://michaelwhitworth.com/start2finishblog/subscribe" class="btn_green"]SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG[/button]