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Book Review

Charles Gardner reviews 'Great God of Heaven: Daniel Made Simple' by Sam Gordon (2020)
If you want to know what's happening in today's world, who is in control and who has the answers when the going gets tough, you could make a good start by reading the book of Daniel.

Perfectly trustworthy
Though written some 2,500 years ago, it includes prophecies about the rise and fall of empires in the 400 so-called 'silent' years before the coming of Christ that were fulfilled with pinpoint accuracy in every detail. So when it also outlines events that will occur in the days immediately preceding Christ's return, we know it is perfectly trustworthy.

And in Sam Gordon's new commentary, 'Great God of Heaven — Daniel Made Simple', we have a reliable, relevant and greatly experienced guide to help us navigate our way through the prophet's perspective on life over the past two-and-a-half millennia.

Fluid and colourful
This is a hugely inspiring, challenging and informative treatise on a book known to many for the den of lions and fiery furnace of Daniel's three friends. But there is so much more to it. We do not just learn about a God who can tame wild animals or cool blazing ovens, but of a God who is also in ultimate and absolute control of this world.

Littered with intriguing anecdotes and the liberal use of modern idioms and metaphors, Sam's book brings the message right up to date — complete with Covid references(!) — while also quoting fellow theologians to back up his case, and presented in a wonderfully fluid and colourful way — even theatrical at times.

This is certainly no dull theological tome; it is highly readable and I commend it to all who seek to better understand the complex and troubling days we are now witnessing; as well as how ancient history has informed so much of what is taking place.

Lifting to another plane
I don't know if Daniel can really be made that simple, but Sam's straightforward, no-nonsense literary style leaves you in no doubt about what he is saying. His winsome prose is so refreshing, wise and easily digestible, providing a wholesome meal without making you feel bloated and in desperate need of a lie-down.

On the contrary, it lifts you into another realm, encouraging you to believe that you too can dare to be a Daniel, living in total trust of the Lord while carrying out great exploits in his name.

Call to put our trust in God
For Sam, this was clearly his lockdown project. As it happens, my wife and I had also decided to study Daniel while stuck at home together. It was a revelation indeed to rediscover God's amazing panoramic vista of the ages as we waited on him behind closed doors last spring and summer. Certainly nothing like as scary as being locked in with lions!

Sam helpfully relates the text to living life today, being church and watching for signs that Jesus' coming is close, while taking every opportunity for sharing the gospel. It is a resounding call to put our absolute trust in God's word while pursuing an uncompromising faith and prayer life, as Daniel did while living in exile in a pagan land, refusing to bow the knee to foreign gods or emperors, even on pain of death.

This book is a perfect recipe for stirring up our faith in a God who hears our every prayer and who is in ultimate control of our destiny.

'Great God of Heaven' (278 pp) is published by Christian Year Publications, and is available from Ritchie Christian Media for £8.99 + p&p

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