Who can find a faithful man?
Who can find a faithful woman? I'm praying that God will find a faithful man in me and in you. And it just takes plotting, you know, one foot in front of the other, just being faithful, getting up, doing the same thing, long obedience in the same direction.
Daniel gives us a powerful picture of a life that's faithful to God. And today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip examines how we can be faithful day by day, one step at a time. But before we begin, we want to let you know about a pair of resources that help you love the time you spend in God's Word and see God's sweeping plan for humanity across the pages of scripture. Ready to upgrade your Bible study in 2023? We have a plan and a package for you. Skip Heitzig's book, The Bible from 30,000 Feet, is an ideal companion for a survey of the entire scope of scripture.
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That's connectwithskip.com slash offer. Okay, let's get started. We're in Daniel 6 as Skip begins today's teaching.
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 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 go, right. 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. 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 love 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. It's not that this guy just got a promotion, because we all got a promotion, but he might get a promotion above our promotion. A little historical note, it is not uncommon when one nation takes over another nation in antiquity to use the existing talent of that nation, i.e.
the infrastructure of government and government officials for the purpose of taxation to keep the peace, especially if they could swear an allegiance to the new king. So he felt pretty safe in doing that. But because Daniel has always occupied a place of position, probably a lot of these other guys are seeing this as their opportunity to jockey for position, especially now that Daniel is going to be promoted, perhaps, over them. That is just pure envy, pure jealousy. Anytime you occupy a position of authority or a position of power or you're in a prominent position, you will be eyed by the envious and exposed to criticism. That just comes with the territory. No matter what field it's in, they'll look at you and they'll envy you and they'll criticize you.
They tried to do that with Daniel. To flip the coin and look at the Christian ethic, it says in Romans 12 that you are to rejoice with those who rejoice and you are to weep with those that weep. How many of you think it's harder to rejoice with people that rejoice than to weep when they weep? I do. I'll give you an example. Somebody hurting around you. Oh man, that's the first thing you'll do.
You'll get around them. I'm so sorry. Oh, how can I help? Oh, I love you. I hurt when you hurt.
I hurt when you hurt. But when somebody else gets a promotion where you work, your brother or sister, how does that feel? And you didn't get one.
It's hard to rejoice with those that rejoice. Hey, brother, they just gave me $100,000 a year raise. Wow, isn't that great? Aren't you happy for me? No.
Are you kidding? Or if you were to come next Sunday and have a case to a brand new car and say, somebody in the church gave me a brand new car. And the people around you that you know who've been praying for a car for a long time, how excited are they going to be for your rejoicing?
Well, maybe you'll have a few go, that's really good for you. Lord, where's mine? But Lord, it's good. It's good.
It's all good. Daniel was promoted. They were promoted. Now, Daniel, the king was just about to put him over the rest. And they thought, oh, this has got to stop. And with an envious eye, they looked toward him, put him under scrutiny.
But here's what you should notice. Even under scrutiny, Daniel is blameless. He's above reproach. There are no skeletons in his closet. Verse four in the Jerusalem translation says, but they could find nothing to discredit him and no case of negligence. He was so punctilious that they could find not a single instance of maladministration or neglect.
Did you get that? Here's a powerful political figure. And there's no corruption.
As they do an investigation on his past, they can find nothing on him. He's squeaky clean. It was Lord Acton who said, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Here's Daniel. He almost has absolute power. He's almost always had absolute power. There's no corruption. Kent Hughes wrote a little article about corruption among the members of the 100th United States Congress. Relax, that's not the Congress that's in power now, but a previous Congress. And he noted that 29 were arrested for spousal abuse, seven convicted of fraud, 19 arrested for writing bad checks, 117 of them bankrupted, two or more businesses, 14 were arrested on drug charges, eight were arrested on shoplifting charges, 21 with lawsuits against them, 84 were charged with driving while intoxicated.
Your tax dollars will work. Here's Daniel, in Babylon, now under the Medo-Persian domain. Daniel, who has been a very controversial figure and in the midst of all of the controversy that has followed him, he's clean. Chapter one, there was controversy because Daniel said, I'm not going to eat that stuff. I'm not going to define myself with your diet. I'm not going to eat that stuff.
I'm not going to define myself with your diet. I'm Jewish. I keep kosher. That was controversial. But the Lord blessed him because of that.
He was clean anyway. In chapter two, controversy followed Daniel. As Daniel announced to Nebuchadnezzar, your kingdom is coming down and another kingdom is coming after you.
Nebuchadnezzar didn't want to hear that. In chapter four, controversy followed Daniel. When Daniel said, King, you're very, very prideful, and God's going to humble you. Controversy followed him into chapter five when Daniel was the party pooper who walked in the midst of the drunken feast and said, King, you're going to be dead within hours.
And this kingdom tonight is coming down. But in all of the controversy, he distinguished himself above the rest, a cut above, faithful. Faithful. I've always admired Dr. Billy Graham, and most Americans have as well. In fact, though he has been a controversial figure from the days with the Nixon administration and several different things over time, and he has been under the eye of scrutiny by the media, yet since 1955, George Gallup has had a list called the 10 most admired men in America. Billy Graham has been on that list, you know how many times?
Fifty-six times, says Gallup, more than any other human being. He's never been number one, but he's always been in the top 10 because even under scrutiny, there's a faithful man. And Daniel, faithful, consistently, professionally, under scrutiny. And finally, let's look at this, he was faithful spiritually, verse 10.
I love this. Now, when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he said, uh-oh. No, it says he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day and prayed and gave thanks before God, as was his custom since early days. And then the men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. Then they went before the king and spoke concerning the king's decree.
Have you not signed a decree that every man who petitions any god within 30 days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, the thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which does not alter. So they answered and said before the king, that Daniel. Can't you just hear the tone in that, that Daniel? Reminds me of what my mom used to tell my dad when she didn't like my behavior, that son of yours, that Daniel, who's one of the captives from Judah, does not show due regard for you, O king, or for the decree that you have signed, but he makes his petition three times a day. And the king, when he heard these words, was greatly displeased with himself. And he set his heart on Daniel to deliver him, and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then these men approached the king and said to the king, no, O king, that it is the law of the Medes and the Persians, that no decree or statute which the king establishes may be changed. So it's written into law, you cannot pray. Does Daniel stop praying? Are you kidding?
He goes home, opens the windows, facing west toward Jerusalem, because that is his hope and anticipation that one day they're going to return after the captivity, gets down on his knees, and that day he prays three times. You go, man, this guy, he's like ostentatious. That's so like in your face.
No, it's not. It's called being faithful. Did you notice what it says in verse 10? As was his custom since the early days. Daniel is just doing what Daniel has always done.
This isn't like new. Three times a day, Daniel did it in the past. Three times a day, Daniel's doing it now. You say, well, weren't there other options for Daniel? Couldn't he have said, okay, I'll lay low for 30 days.
One month can't hurt. Because if I lay low for 30 days, the law is over, I can go back to my praying, go back to my religious stuff. Or couldn't he have said, I'll pray, but I'll do it in private. After all, religion is a private thing.
Doesn't do that. His custom was to open the windows unashamedly. We get ashamed to pray in a restaurant before a meal. Daniel opens the windows to his house, signifying his hope in the Lord in Jerusalem, being restored. Three times a day, he gets down on his knees and he prays.
Here's why. If Daniel would have done all this in private, instead of what he had always done, that would discredit his testimony. His enemies, these jealous men, would have thought, aha, these jealous men would have thought, aha, it worked. It worked. We got them to stop.
But Daniel believed something. It's better to die for a conviction than to live with a compromise. I'm not going to stop, even if you kill me. I got to tell you, I read through this section and every time I do, I stop and I get filled with conviction about this verse.
Because I think of all the lame excuses I've had, we've had for not being consistent and faithful in our prayer life. I need my sleep, my beauty sleep. I exercise at that time.
A show's on television. I'm just so busy with work. But then, I think of those faithful people in our own church. They don't make a big splash.
Most of you don't even know who they are. But there's the group that meets on Sundays to gather together to pray for the church, the leadership, and all of us as we gather every week. There's the couple that faithfully comes to the prayer room every week and prays through all the prayer requests.
We send them by email or written out in the agape boxes. There's the faithful woman who stands in front of the map and lays her hand on all the different parts of the world and for 45 minutes prays for all the missionaries, as was his custom since the early days. Who can find a faithful man? Who can find a faithful woman? I'm praying that God will find a faithful man in me and in you. And it just takes plotting, you know, one foot in front of the other, just being faithful, getting up, doing the same thing, long obedience in the same direction. Let me tell you a story as I close.
True story. George Bolt is his name, was his name. B-O-L-D-T, Bolt. George Bolt managed a small little hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Not much, but he was a good manager. One evening, a couple came through the lobby, asked for a room. George Bolt said, rooms are filled, no vacancy.
There's not a room here. They were about to leave. George also knew there were no rooms in the city of Philadelphia. Travel was up.
Visitors were thick. There wasn't a single vacancy. George knew if they left his hotel, they wouldn't find a room. So George said, listen, take my room. I'll sleep out on the couch. Just take my room. They said, oh, we can't take your room.
He said, no, I insist. If you don't take my room, you won't find a room. So they took his room, spent the night, got up the next day. We're checking out of the hotel, out of his room. And the elderly gentleman said to George Bolt, you know, you are a good manager.
You ought to manage the biggest, finest hotel in the world. And I'm going to build it for you one day. George said, OK, yeah, right. Cool. Thanks. See you.
God bless you guys. A few years later, George received a letter in the mail from an elderly gentleman in New York. It was that man. He reminded him of the story and asked George to come to New York and visit him for a few days. Inside the envelope was also a ticket so he could get there. George gets to New York, is taken to a corner, downtown Manhattan, downtown New York City, and looks up at this big, beautiful hotel. And the elderly gentleman said, I'd like you to manage this hotel.
The elderly gentleman's name? William Waldorf Astor, one of the wealthiest men in America. He dispelled the Waldorf Astoria, one of the finest hotels ever. You see, that elderly gentleman knew that if George could be faithful in managing a little hotel in Philadelphia and be that caring for his patrons, that he'd do a great job with the Waldorf Astoria. He was given the job. He was the manager of the Waldorf Astoria.
Sound familiar? If you're faithful in the little things, you'll be ruler over 10 cities. How are you managing your life? Because how you're managing your life now will largely determine the position and rewards that you get when you're in glory in heaven. Saved by grace, purely by grace, but rewarded according to faithfulness. Be a faithful worker. Be a faithful husband. Be a faithful man. Be a husband. Be a faithful wife. Be a faithful friend.
Work hard, excellent spirit. Only God can work that in. But I figure the more we follow the faithful God, some of it ought to rub off.
That's Skip Heitzig's message from his series, I Dare You. Now, here's Skip to share how you can help keep this broadcast going strong, connecting you and 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. Tune in tomorrow as Skip encourages you with four things to expect when you remain steadfast. Now, if you are a steadfast believer, you can count on four things that we see in the rest of this chapter. Before we get into those four things, can I just say that life is not fair? That bothers some of us. It bothers some people. Life isn't fair. Now, God will eventually bring fairness and equity, not immediately, but eventually. Connect with Skip Hyten is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
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