Of all of the attributes that people may possess, be it genius or competence, faithfulness always is the top of the list.
As one leader said, the greatest ability is dependability. It can be hard to find someone who is truly faithful and dependable, but it's what God calls each of us as Christians to be. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzel, Skip examines what faithfulness looks like and why it's so important. But before we begin, we want to tell you about a resource bundle that will help you love to study God's Word. So it's another new year, and you've resolved to study through the entire Bible again. Very often, somewhere around 2 Chronicles, that wonderful goal can grind to a halt.
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That's connectwithskip.com slash offer. Okay, let's turn to Daniel 6 as we join Skip for today's program. I want to talk to you today about faithfulness. Faithfulness is one of the supreme attributes, whether it's in a marriage, whether it's in business, whether it's in friendship. In Proverbs chapter 20, Solomon said, most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man? Who can find a faithful man or a faithful woman? That's typically an attribute we assign to God. We say great is thy faithfulness.
But again, the question who can find a faithful man? There was a husband who was faithful to his wife, loved his wife dearly, but his wife is a jealous woman and always eyed him suspiciously and accused him of bad behavior. He worked at an office, wore suits every day. When he would come home in the evening and if he had a blonde hair on his suit, she would accuse him of having a fling with a blonde in the office. Honey, it never happened.
It would never be true. I love you. I'm completely, totally faithful and committed to you. But she was just that jealous type. If you came home with a red hair on his coat or a brown hair or black hair, same thing, she'd accuse him. So finally he wised up and he bought a little lint brush to keep in his car. So he cleaned his suit one day, came in spotless and she examined his suit, not a hair on it.
He bent down to kiss her thinking she'd be so relieved and she pushed her hand and said, get away from me. I can't believe it. You're having a fling with a bald woman. Who can find a faithful man?
We ask that question every time a sports hero falls or a leader fails. Where is there somebody who is faithful? God found a faithful man in Moses in Numbers 12. God says he, Moses, is faithful in all my house. Nehemiah found a faithful man in a leader by the name of Hananiah in Jerusalem. He described him as a faithful man who feared God more than most, faithful.
In the New Testament, Jesus spoke about a faithful and wise servant who was able to assume control over all of his master's goods and Jesus used the parable and he said, well done, good and faithful servant. You've been faithful over these small areas. I will make you ruler over 10 cities. In Yellowstone National Park, the most famous attraction is a geyser called Old Faithful. It's not the biggest geyser in the park.
It's not the most powerful geyser, but it is the biggest tourist attraction because of its regularity, its consistency. You can count on Old Faithful to go off at the right time. Of all of the attributes that people may possess, be it genius or competence, faithfulness always is the top of the list. As one leader said, the greatest ability is dependability. Well, Daniel chapter 6, I'm tempted to go through it all because of the great story, but I'm going to divide it up into two and just look at the first few verses with you today because our focus is going to be on Daniel who was faithful. In fact, that would be a word that sums up his life. He was a faithful man and today I want to look at his life like a walled city, a city with four ancient walls, walls of faithfulness. Daniel was faithful consistently. Daniel was faithful professionally. Daniel was faithful under scrutiny. And Daniel was faithful spiritually. So that is over time he was faithful to his boss, to his country, and to his God.
And we'll read down from verse 1 to about verse 15 in total this morning and go finish the rest of it next time. But let me just tell you what's happening because you read of a new king. There has been a kingdom change.
There is new administration. Nebuchadnezzar's dynasty, even Belshazzar, is all gone. The kingdom has fallen to the Medes and the Persians. And we're introduced at the end of chapter 5 to a character named Darius the Mede. Darius the Mede. We know historically the real ruler was Cyrus the Persian king, but he used Darius, also in history known as Gobrius or Gubaru, depending on what source you read, as the viceroy and thus the de facto king of Babylon to rule this vast region. So there has been what Nebuchadnezzar thought was impossible. Babylon has fallen and a new kingdom has arisen even as Daniel predicted in chapter 2, the arms and chest of silver. The head of gold is gone and now the Medo-Persian empire is fully in control.
But our focus isn't on the Medo-Persian empire. It's not even on Darius the Mede. The real focus is on a character described in verse 4 as being faithful, and that is Daniel.
So let's look at our text and look at the first couple of verses and see how the Daniel was faithful consistently. It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps. Just such a weird word, satraps.
I'll explain what they are in just a moment. To be over the whole kingdom and over these, that is over these satraps, three governors of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give an account to them so that the king would suffer no loss. Daniel was one of three chiefs of staff, administrative governors, over 120 princes or provincial rulers, territorial rulers. That's the word satrap.
In the Aramaic satrapes, it's even worse. So these were regional rulers who all gave an account to three guys in charge, and Daniel was one of them. Here's what's interesting. Daniel in this chapter is about 85 years old. He's been in Babylon for about 70 years.
The captivity is about up. So almost 70 years Daniel has lived. Since he was a teenager, he's still in Babylon. He was the teenager in chapter 1 who purposed in his heart not to defile himself with a portion of the king's delicacies, you remember. And six kings have come, and six kings have gone, and one kingdom has left, and another kingdom has arisen, and Daniel is still there. He is not in absentia. He's 85 years old, and he's still on the job, faithful, serving the Lord in all of these kings and in two of these nations, one after the other. You see, faithfulness isn't doing the right thing once. Faithfulness is doing the right thing over and over and over and over.
And Daniel is that man. When William Carey, who became the great missionary to India, announced that he wanted to go overseas and serve the Lord on the mission field, his dad wasn't too stoked. His dad tried to dissuade him and say, you're not intellectually qualified. You don't know the Indian languages. You don't know the history. You don't know the culture.
You shouldn't go. To which William Carey responded, but I can plod. Plod. I can just put one foot in front of the other, and I can plod along. Oh, the wonderful things God has wrought through faithful men and women who just put one foot in front of the other and plod along faithfully and consistently over time.
Here's what I like. Daniel's 85, and he's not retired. I'm not saying it's bad to retire, but I just admire a guy who's 85, and in our culture, we would want to put Daniel in a retirement home. In our culture that reveres the young and doesn't pay so much attention to the aged, unfortunately, that's where all the wisdom lies, Daniel is still very, very active, very much at work in this kingdom. Did you know that Thomas Edison at 90 was still inventing things? Frank Lloyd Wright at 90 was still drawing things.
Michelangelo at 89 painted his most famous work still hanging in the Sistine Chapel called The Last Judgment on one of the great walls of that chapel. John Wesley at 88 could still preach forcefully and articulately after having traveled 250,000 miles in his lifetime by horse. After preaching 4,000 sermons and writing volume after volume after volume, 88 still going strong. This year, Billy Graham turns 95. You know what he's been doing lately? Writing another book and preparing for the biggest evangelistic outreach of his time that will come later on this year that we're going to be a part of.
95 still serving the Lord, faithful consistently, long obedience in the same direction. That's Daniel. Also, he was faithful professionally.
Look back at verse 2. Over these, 120 provincial rulers, three governors of whom Daniel was one, some translations say was number one, the first, that the satraps might give an account to them so that the king would suffer no loss. Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps because an excellent spirit was in him, and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. Now, once again, we see Daniel in a high-ranking government position.
Isn't that interesting? No matter what chapter we have been in so far, virtually every chapter, almost every chapter, Daniel is seen by his bosses as somebody a cut above the rest and gives Daniel a promotion. In chapter 1, when he was a teenager, we are told God brought Daniel into favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs. In Daniel, the second chapter, King Nebuchadnezzar promoted Daniel, gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and the chief administrator over all the wise men.
In chapter 5, Belshazzar made a proclamation that Daniel should be the third ruler of the kingdom. So it's just amazing that on a professional level, every boss that he had saw the dependability and the competence of this man and promoted him, gave him a raise at every turn. You remember in the New Testament that Jesus said, you're the light of the world, and he said, let your light so shine among men that people can see your good works and glorify your Father, which is in heaven. I think that the best place for that to happen is the workplace, simply because next to your home, that's where you spend most of your time, at work. If you live to be 70 years of age, and I hope you live longer, but if you live to be 70 years of age, you will have worked by then a total conglomerate of 20 solid years. You'll have worked 20 solid years.
You're going, no wonder I'm so tired. But the point is, that's 20 years to be on stage at a workplace where people can observe how you work, what your ethics are like, like they did here with Daniel. Daniel's on the job. Honestly, some of my best years of ministry were in the secular work environment. When I worked in radiology and had the opportunity to witness to people, share my faith with people, work around people, day in and day out, who would never come to church, who were agnostic, atheistic, or antagonistic, or all of the above, it was just very interesting and very, very fruitful.
And I remember people coming up to me, and because they knew I loved to teach the Bible, even when I worked in the secular field, I loved to teach the Bible, carry the Bible with me. Somebody would say, do you think you ever want to go into full-time ministry? Full-time ministry. I smile, and I say, I am in full-time ministry. I am full-time ministry. I am full-time serving the Lord. No matter where I'm at, no matter who happens to be writing the check, I'm serving the Lord. Now, here's Daniel on the job serving the Lord professionally, but what is he doing? Is he passing out tracts? No, he's working hard.
He's doing a good job. The king never said, Daniel, I need you for something special. Daniel never said, well, I'm witnessing to a satrap.
I'll be there in 10. Or I'm praying with this satrap or that governor. No. He was a hard worker. He distinguished himself. Notice that in verse 3. He distinguished himself above the governors and the satraps. That's an Aramaic participle.
Aramaic is the language. The participle, the wording would be, Daniel was regularly distinguishing himself. In other words, this was his work ethic. He was a hard worker.
Whatever you would give him to do, he would do well, and he would distinguish himself above by that work ethic. Back to those days in the medical field. We had a kid that was a kid.
I was a kid. He was a little younger kid in the department that I worked at. He was a guy who would go upstairs and take the gurneys and bring the patients down to us.
A young believer, great guy. I would have him go upstairs or the department would and get various patients to bring them down for radiographs or scans during the day. One of the things we noticed about this orderly is that he was disorderly. He would bring these patients in 15, 20 minutes late and the whole day would be backed up. I remember coming to him one day and saying, everybody's noticing that you're the guy that's late and you're always bringing patients in late and you're getting us behind and you're a Christian. He smiled and goes, oh, but Skip, I'm having the opportunity to witness to these patients before I bring them down and tell them about Christ and pray for them and pray for them and pray with them.
And I said, now I want you to listen very carefully. Do that on your own dime. You can do that at lunchtime.
You can do it after work when you've clocked out. Go back upstairs and do witness to them and do pray with them. But when this hospital is paying you to bring patients down, don't do that. Just bring patients down.
Listen, you want to be the best witness? Be the best worker. When you're a good worker, people go, I can rely on him. He's dependable professionally.
Why is that? Daniel was that man. He distinguished himself. Not only did he have a good work ethic, notice why in verse 3.
He distinguished himself above the governors and satraps because an excellent spirit was in him. That's what he said. That's an attitude, not an action. That's an attitude. An excellent spirit. He wasn't the kind of employee that walks around with his head down, always bummed out, always complaining.
I'm going to go talk to HR about this and that, and I'm going to cry. This Daniel had an excellent spirit. And as I read down through the text and I see him thanking God in his prayer in the worst trial of his life, thanking God, I see this excellent spirit. When is the last time you thanked your boss? Why should I thank my boss?
I'm not getting paid enough. Thank him or her that you have a job. Gratitude is the attitude that sets the altitude for your Christian life. That's an excellent spirit. Daniel had a work ethic.
Daniel had an excellent spirit no matter what job was given to him. I want you to pause for a moment and turn to the New Testament book of Ephesians chapter 6 for a moment. Just flip over to Ephesians chapter 6. It's right after Ephesians chapter 5. I say it's important because chapter 5 is speaking to husbands, wives, children, parents, and then he speaks to employees.
Only in those days, the employees were actual slaves of slave owners. And I want you to read with me what it says. Ephesians chapter 6 verse 5, keeping Daniel in mind now, bond servants, translated also slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling in sincerity of heart as to Christ.
Not with eye service, not a clock watcher, not men pleasers, not when your boss comes around the corner, but as bond servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with good will, doing service as to the Lord, not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is slave or free. It's the same message as Daniel. Work hard, have a great attitude.
Work hard, have a great attitude. Same message. Now, he's writing to slaves. You go, well, I feel like a slave. No, these actually were slaves.
They were owned. And the early church, the writings of Paul and Peter all taught the slaves who had become Christians to so exercise their slavery by being humble and hardworking and subservient to their slave owners so that they would have an opportunity to spread the gospel. If you took that attitude, that little bit of truth, that knowledge to work tomorrow morning, Monday, it would transform your entire work day. It would transform your work day. It would change a job of drudgery into a meaningful ministry.
I'm here by the will of God, and I can spread the word and the work of God. There were three men out doing a job. Same job.
They were doing exactly the same task. A man walked up to one of the three of these men and said, what are you doing? The first guy said, I'm breaking rocks. He grumbled just like that.
I'm breaking rocks. He went up to the second man and said, what are you doing? The second man said, I'm earning a living.
It's a little better. And the second man said, I'm earning a living. And the second man was a little better. He went up to the third guy and said, what are you doing? The third guy said, I'm building a cathedral. They were all doing exactly the same thing, breaking down rocks, building blocks to build a building.
One guy saw it as I'm just breaking rocks. The other guy said, I'm just earning a living. The other guy thought, I'm building a cathedral. That's the big picture.
I'm building a cathedral. That's an excellent spirit. So Daniel was faithful consistently, faithful professionally. Third, I'd like you to notice that Daniel was faithful under scrutiny. Look at verse four. So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom, but they could find no charge or fault because he was faithful.
Nor was there any error or fault found in him. Then these men said, we shall not find any charge against this, Daniel, unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God. So these governors and satraps thronged before the king and said to him, King Darius, live forever.
They loved to butter the guy up. All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators, the satraps, the counselors, the advisors have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree that whoever petitions any god or man for 30 days a month, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing so that it cannot be changed according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which does not alter. Therefore, King Darius signed the written decree. So you've got 120 provincial rulers, three administrators, and it says that the king sought, verse three, to set Daniel above all of them and put him in charge of all of the realm of Babylon.
That is what got the jealousy going. That wraps up Skip Heitzig's message from his series, I Dare You. Find the full message, as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Now, here's Skip to share how you can keep these messages coming your way to connect you and many others around the world with God's word. The book of Daniel shows us just what it means to stand for God against the pressures and demands of the world. And our goal is to come alongside friends like you to encourage you to keep following Christ, no matter what the world tells you to do.
That's why we share these faith-building messages. And today, you can take action to ensure these teachings keep reaching you and so many others worldwide. One major push this year is for Connect with Skip to grow its reach into more major U.S. cities, and you can help make that possible with your generosity.
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800-922-1888. Thank you for your generosity. Now, before we go, did you know that you can watch Skip's messages from the comfort of your home with your Roku device or Apple TV? Just search for his channel and watch thousands of powerful Bible teachings and live services. Find more information on the broadcast page at connectwithskip.com, and come back next week as Skip continues to examine what a faithful life looks like and how you can live faithfully to God no matter the cost. Connect with Skip Hyton is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-20 04:59:44 / 2023-01-20 05:09:05 / 9