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Dare to Be Like Daniel

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
August 8, 2022 2:00 am

Dare to Be Like Daniel

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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August 8, 2022 2:00 am

What were the circumstances surrounding Daniel of the Old Testament- Pastor Bob La Tour highlights the principled life of this young Hebrew man.

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Amen. If you would turn in your Bibles to Daniel chapter one.

Daniel chapter one. At times when I study scripture, I like to try to envision what it would be like to be in the shoes of the character that I may be studying. And I can't imagine what it would be like to grow up in the environment that we read about in 2 Kings 21 earlier. I can't imagine what it would be like to grow up that way. I can't imagine what it would be like to be an adult man in that environment knowing that I might not live through the day.

I might die in hand-to-hand combat defending my nation. A sobering time. It's a sobering thought. And the other thing that came to my mind is this. I think in America, we are in preseason.

What do you mean by that? Well, for 46 years, when August 1st came around, my wife and I were done traveling because soccer practice would start. And August in North Carolina, as you know, is brutal. And you would take your soccer team out there and try to prepare them for the real thing, the game. When you wouldn't have pennies on, the opponent would have another colored jersey. And you would be rewarded based upon your preseason preparation. Prepare well.

You had a good opportunity and a good prospect of doing well. Prepare poorly. And the opposite would be true.

And folks, why I say that I think we're in a preseason in America. I get publications from two or three different conservative watchdog groups. And I'll mention this later in the message. But in Afghanistan today, the Taliban is going from house to house, door to door, to discover Christians.

If there is a single girl in the house, heaven help her, because she will be taken. And you can guess. Men in the house could be killed.

Anything from jail time to being killed. And Afghanistan is just one of many, many nations where Christians are being hunted, where Christians are being persecuted. I want this to be an encouragement to us tonight. You can think, well, we sang songs that had somewhat of a militant theme to them. And that's good, because we are in a battle.

We live, as I've said before, in lion country. And there are people out there that are growing more and more aggressive in opposition to what we believe. The title of the message is Dare to Be Like Daniel. But we could change the title to Care to Be Like Daniel. Because I'm convinced that it takes more than daring, it takes caring. We need to know what we believe as convictions and be willing to stand for those things.

I want to read a brief introduction and then we'll get into the meat of the message tonight. One of the primary purposes of the book of Daniel is to encourage God's people to trust in the Lord who directs history and whose will cannot be thwarted. After repeated warnings to repent, God sovereignly ordained the violent destruction of Jerusalem and Judah because of their vile wickedness and idol worship. It included the sacrifice of children and fire, as we read earlier in 2 Kings 21. God called Judah a treacherous nation that was accustomed to do evil.

Think about that. Daniel and Judah, and he calls Judah a treacherous nation accustomed to do evil. This is the environment in which Daniel grew up to be the godly teenager that we find in chapter 1.

As a very young man Daniel was among those taken by a forest to Babylon where he had to make decisions that would affect his whole life. His choices were made in the face of very real peril and persecution. And beloved we live in a time when the Judeo-Christian ethic is the target of counterfeit religions and governments worldwide. As I said earlier there are believers suffering greatly for their faith today. In that I want to say take heart as we focus upon two incidences in the life of Daniel and we can see how an exemplary faith can excel in a hostile pagan environment for God's glory. We can see how an exemplary faith can excel in a hostile pagan environment for God's glory. Incident number 1 is found in chapter 1.

What is the incident? Daniel is faced with the temptation to compromise with the heathen culture. Daniel is faced with the temptation to compromise with the heathen culture.

Does that sound familiar? I think we're tempted to do that every day of our lives. We live in a culture that is evil and growing progressively worse and we're tempted often to compromise.

The first point that I want us to consider though is this. Daniel was a man of conversion and consecration to God. Daniel was a man of conversion and consecration to God. Obviously we know that conversion precedes consecration. Spiritual conversion implies a turning from and a turning to. Turning from sin we call repentance. Turning to God is called faith. And God's grace and mercy is the cause of conversion through the gifts of faith and repentance.

We're not born as believers. Daniel's practices, his lifestyle, his prayers gave clear consistent evidence of conversion before he ever came to Babylon. Chapter 9, and we're not going to go there but I would suggest that you do it later. Chapter 9 contains a clear declaration of faith and a confession of sin.

It is a beautiful, beautiful prayer for his nation. The context of Daniel's temptation to compromise is Daniel 1, 1-4. And in this you're going to see not only did he display conversion but consecration. And what does that mean? It means to set apart, to separate, to be holy.

It's serious minded devotion to serving God. Notice verse 1, in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand with some of the articles of the house of God which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his God.

And he brought the articles into the treasure house of his God. Then the king instructed Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king's descendants and some of the nobles. Young men in whom there was no blemish but good looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king's palace and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Calvians.

I want to mention something before we get to the next point on that and that is this. Notice he had them bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king's descendants and some of the nobles. So these three Hebrew, these four Hebrew young people were an elite group. They were in an elite group. Some of the king's children and some of the nobles. And I want us to keep that in mind.

I'll point out why in a moment. What was expected of the exiles as far as God is concerned? Well, after the fall of Jerusalem and the deportation of Babylon, Jeremiah the prophet sent a letter to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.

And here's what he says, thus says the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon. Build houses and dwell in them. Plant gardens and eat their fruit.

Take wives and beget sons and daughters and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands so that they may bear sons and daughters that you may be increased there and not diminished. Now listen to this if you would. Seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive and pray to the Lord for it, for in its peace you will have peace. Let me read that last sentence again. Seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive and pray to the Lord for it, for in its peace you will have peace.

What's the point? We would do well to pray for our nation that is increasingly becoming hostile to biblical Christianity and unfortunately where many in leadership are attacking the very principles our country is founded upon. We need to be praying for America. Now Nebuchadnezzar's strategy was to assimilate Judah's young exiles into Babylonian culture. How was he going to do it? Obliterate their beliefs, their faith system, make them lose their identity as citizens of Judah and finally create dependence upon his government.

Does that sound familiar? Let me read it again. What is he going to try to do? Obliterate their beliefs. Make their beliefs seem foolish. Let them lose their identity as people of Judah. They're now Babylonians so to speak.

And then finally create dependence upon his government. The first thing we notice under this is that they were exposed to the good life of heat and environment. Look at verse 5, the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king's delicacies and of the wine which he drank and three years of training for them so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king.

What do we notice in this verse? They were given the best provisions from the king's table. Secondly, they were given the propaganda of an education from a Babylonian world view. If you were to substitute a word for Babylonian world view in our nation it would be humanism. But they were given the propaganda of an education from a Babylonian world view. And finally they were given the prospect of prominence, serving before the king. And again please remember these are teenagers.

These are teenagers. What would it be like to be served the very food the king ate? What would it be like to be given the best education that Babylon could offer?

What would it be like to be given the prospect of serving before the king? Second thing that he did was this. Their names were changed to replace any reference to Jehovah with a reference to a Babylonian god. Notice verses 6 and 7. Now from those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names. He gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar to Hananiah Shadrach, to Mishael Meshach, and to Azariah Abednego. Daniel means God is my judge. He was called Belteshazzar which means bell protect the king. Hananiah means the Lord is gracious. He was called Shadrach which means command of Aku, another Babylonian god. Mishael means who is like the Lord. He was called Meshach meaning who is what Aku is. And finally Azariah means the Lord is my helper. He was called Abednego which means servant of Neeko.

He was a god of vegetation. Now back to the issue, back to the issue of the daily provision of the king's delicacies. And again keep in mind, and I'm going to single out Daniel, he was around 15.

Now imagine this. Note that Daniel alone purposed not to eat the food offered as an alternative. Verse 8, Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with a portion of the king's delicacies nor with the wine which he drank.

Therefore he requested the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. There's two possibilities given for why Daniel's request was given not to eat the king's food, two of them. The first one, pagan food and drink was devoted to idols and to indulge would be to honor these deities. In Exodus chapter 34 verse 15 Israel was warned against eating from sacrifices offered to pagan gods. So if that was their thinking as young men they were trying to honor their scriptures. The second possibility given, Daniel and his friends avoided the luxurious diet of the king's table as a way of protecting themselves from being ensnared by the temptations of the Babylonian culture.

They used their distinctive diet as a way of continually reminding themselves in this time of testing that they were the people of God in a foreign land. Now let me say that a different way. They wouldn't have to remind themselves because they were probably among other teenagers. Let me give you an example not meant to be funny but to make it very clear. Imagine the majority eating a steak sandwich and you eating peanut butter and gel.

Do you think that you'd get a rise out of the other people? I am sure they had to have been mocked for eating. What were they eating?

Vegetables. And I'm sure they could have had the best of meat from the king's table. And again Daniel's the king. Now I emphasized and you're going to see this in a moment, Daniel in the singular. That's going to become important in a moment. We also learn from this incident that God's sovereignty is revealed sometimes in subtle ways.

What do I mean by that? Well look at verses 9-10. Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and good will of the chief of the eunuchs. And the chief of the eunuch said to Daniel, I fear my lord the king who has appointed your food and drink.

For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are of your age? Then you endanger my head before the king. It says a lot about Nebuchadnezzar and much more is said about him. He was evil. He was self-serving. It stands to reason that this pagan could care less about Daniel's God.

And this is the important thing beloved. He could care less about Daniel's God. But over time Daniel's daily life demonstrated consecration of God.

It earned the favor of the chief of the eunuchs. And again he could care less about Jehovah but there was something unique about this young man. There's something that made him stand out. He knew what he believed and that impacted this authority figure. And I give you this note, people observe how your profession of faith is confirmed by the daily practice of your faith. People observe how your profession of faith is confirmed by the daily practice of your faith. I've given this illustration before from this pulpit but it comes back to my mind. I would not have the respect of the Bible class that I teach at Alamance Christian School if I did not attempt to coach the way I teach Bible.

It is that simple. And you know you have seen people who have professed to be Christians act like absolute heathens. He's a good guy but when he steps on that sideline he morphs into something different. Well he also loses a lot of impact that he could have had. And my point being this, it's easy to profess, it's harder to perform. And it's obvious, it's obvious that Daniel's consistent testimony had an impact upon this guy. Daniel makes a submissive and wise appeal.

Now I pointed out that he was in the singular earlier. Listen to verses 11 through 12. So Daniel said to the steward from whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, please test your servants for 10 days and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance be examined before you and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king's delicacies. And as you see fit so deal with your servants. Well Daniel appealed to the steward over him to allow him and his friends to eat an alternative for 10 days to see if they were better than those who ate the king's meat. And Daniel said if we're not better off the steward could do with them as he pleased. So he's letting him off the hook.

It won't be your fault. Here's the point that I want to make. Daniel as a young man was a spark plug for his friends. Up here he makes, he purposes in his heart that he will not defile himself with the king's meat.

I can only imagine that the guys must have talked because the next time we hear him it's not in the singular, it's in the plural. As iron sharpens iron. He encouraged his friends. And we know in one of the chapters, second or third chapter Daniel, these three young men did something heroic also, the fiery furnace.

So Daniel had an impact upon his friends I believe. What happened at the end of 10 days all of his skeptics had to face the facts. Anybody that was skeptical, anybody who saw these stupid foolish captive Hebrews eating vegetables and drinking water when they could have had meat and wine they had to eat their words.

They had to face the facts. Notice verses 14 through 21. So he the steward consented with them in this matter and tested them 10 days. And at the end of 10 days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king's delicacies.

Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables. As for these four young men God gave them knowledge and skill and all literature and wisdom. And Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. Now at the end of the days, that would be three years of education, at the end of the days when the king had said that they should be brought in the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. Then the king interviewed them and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. Therefore they served before the king. And all the matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, notice this, he found them 10 times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm.

Thus Daniel continued till the first year of King Cyrus. And I've written in my notes what a comparison. What a comparison. He found them 10 times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all of his realm. Not just the other teens but all of them.

And I think obviously you put two and two together, 10 days of trial and 10 times smarter or 10 times better. That leads us to somewhat of an overview. Chapters 2-4 include events, the fiery furnace, etc.

that further highlight the truth of God's sovereignty over nations and over the lives of individuals. But we want to jump ahead to chapter 5. In chapter 5 we fast forward two decades after Nebuchadnezzar's death. Belshazzar was in charge of affairs in Babylon while his father Nebunidus was away. His extravagant and blasphemous feast reached a climax when a hand writing on the wall told of Babylon's defeat.

And beloved, none of his diviners could interpret the writing. The queen mother we're told remembered Daniel's ability to interpret dreams and that he was the head of Nebuchadnezzar's wise men 20 years earlier. Daniel was promised possessions and the position of third ruler in the kingdom. But even though Daniel said, let your gifts be for yourself, he was clothed in purple, given a gold chain and proclaimed the third ruler in the kingdom. That didn't last long.

Why? Because that very night Cyrus conquered Babylon. And we can see when we look back on this that God was faithful throughout the 70 years of Daniel's exile.

Now, we've considered, incident number one, the temptation to compromise. But I'd like us to turn to chapter 6 for incident number two and that is the test of commitment, the test of commitment. And I'll mention this, Daniel is now in his 80's. Now, I need to say this, we just talked about Cyrus conquering Babylon and we're going to start out in Daniel 6, the third word in, it pleased Darius. And the only explanation that I want to give you, there are several given, but it's thought by some that Darius used in chapter 6 verse 1 is a title, a war title some said for Cyrus mentioned in chapter 5 verse 31. But I just point that out because we end with Cyrus conquering Babylon and we start chapter 6, it pleased Darius. Let me read the first three verses and under this it's Daniel was a man of character that fostered animosity among some.

Beloved, that has always been the case. If we display character it's going to rub some people the wrong way. It's going to rub people with lack of character, out of jealousy, out of envy. Daniel was a man of character that fostered animosity among some. Verse 1 of chapter 6, it pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps to be over the whole kingdom and over these three governors of whom Daniel was one that the satraps might give 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 kingdom. What a statement. And the king gave thought to setting him over the whole kingdom, being second in command.

Now I want you to notice the trap is set. If the worldly cannot compete they will often cheat. So how are these, how are his enemies going to get to him?

If the world cannot compete they will often cheat. Notice verses 4 and 5. So the high officials 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. That sounds a bit like the accusers of Christ.

They looked to find something that they could pin on him and they ended up with a bogus accusation. And I want to ask this question of us at this time. Do you seek, do you actively seek to have that kind of excellent reputation in your workplace?

Do you seek to have that kind of reputation in your workplace? In the parent class today we've learned a lot of things from Paul David Tripp but I had mentioned to them at the end of it as we discuss something that I've tried to drill in my students forever and that is this. And I want to, before I give the illustration, keep in mind the purpose for the illustration. Character will draw attention. Character will draw attention in the positive from people who have character. Character will draw attention, negative attention from people who have no character. What's your point?

Consider the source. There are some times when you will be insulted and persecuted you need to tighten the belt one more time and keep on keeping on. When I served as state commissioner of the North Carolina Christian School Association, their athletics, there was a school that did not care for me a great deal because I had to deal with some issues. And we were going there to play them one day and what they didn't know is that their English teacher was my niece. And they were badmouthing me over my dealings with them. And she's up there just listening.

And when they were finished she said, I'm sure my Uncle Bob would love to hear this about this. But here's my point. That school, and I'll only get two out of three. The three coaches that I dealt with, one of them left that school and taught at a public school. And the only reason I'm saying this, these are people who were in Christian education for some time. But one left the school and went to a public school and another one got divorced.

Another one went to a large Catholic school in the town. And my point is this, what I learned, I need to make certain that I don't overlook wrongdoing on my part. Think through, what have you done? Have you done right? And if you're convinced and you have peace about it, tighten the belt and keep on walking. Just do the right thing. Do the right thing. Daniel did the right thing.

They found nothing in his work that was wrong. And he distinguished himself above the governors and satraps to the point that the king himself thought to put him over the kingdom. The trap is set.

If the worldly can't compete, they'll often cheat. And we read four and five. And under this, Daniel was faithful in his duties and the king knew it. Daniel was faithful in his devotion to God and his adversaries knew it. They knew it. The trap is not only set, the trap is seductive.

What do I mean by that? Well, I want you to notice how this would appeal to the pride of the king, verses six through nine. So these governors and satraps throng. I've got to stop there. That word thronged in the Hebrew means to gather tumultuous. I just picture, what did he say?

120 at one time? But just picture a mess of men thronging the king's throne. And keep that in mind as you hear what they say. It's not just walking into the presence of the king. Keep in mind that they thronged the king on his throne.

And then they ended up saying this. They thronged to gather before the king and said thus to him, King Darius, live forever. All of the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and 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 except you, O king, shall be cast in the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree, sign the writing so that it cannot change according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter. Therefore, King Darius signed the written decree. And I do believe that they appealed to Darius' pride and to the permanence of his unalterable pronouncement.

Let me stop here and insert something. They introduce us to the den of lions. And I would submit to you that people of that day were as familiar with the den of lions as people of Christ's day were familiar with crucifixion. It was horrific.

It was terrifying. Remember the last time I spoke, I talked about many were astonished at you, so marred was his visage. They were astonished. These are people that are used to seeing crucifixion and they're astonished. And I want us to keep in mind these men and the king and Daniel knew the horror of the lion's den.

I cannot imagine. And I will insert here, when Daniel went back to his apartment to pray, he wasn't skipping. He was human. I can imagine if I was in his shoes, my heart would be pounding, my mouth would be dry, my knees would be knocking.

And I would have to make the decision, do I do what I've always done or do I fold? And you're going to see what his decision was. He did what he always had done in the past and we'll see that in a moment. The third thing I want us to notice is this, Daniel was a man of conviction.

No compromise at any cost, even the cost of a horrific death. Notice verses 10 and 11. Now when Daniel knew, when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, 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 his God, as was his custom since early days. Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. Folks, he simply did what he'd done from his youth.

He prayed to God three times that day. And young people who are here tonight, it's important to set a habit, a pattern in your life of consistently praying before the Lord, to be sure he was very aware of the horrors of the lion's den. We've seen the trap is set. We've seen it's seductive because they appeal to the pride of the king.

But the third thing that we notice about this trap, it sprung. Verses 12 to 13. 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 or man 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 Persians, which does not alter. So they answered and said before the king, that Daniel, who is one of the captives from Judah, does not show due regard for you, O king, or for the decree that you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day. Notice that they had craftily set the king up. It set him up. Notice how they point to the king as the author of the decree, just reminding him you wrote it and it can't be changed. And then they demeaned Daniel. That Daniel, who is one of the captives from Judah, boys, that Daniel was nearly put second in command over you. But they're disdaining him. They're showing disrespect.

They demean him. Then we see the trap is secure. And you can almost guess why we would say that, verses 14 and 15. And the king, when he heard these words, was greatly displeased with himself and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him. And he labored to going down in the sun to deliver him. Then these men approached the king and said to the king, know, O king, that it's the law of the Medes and Persians that no decree or statute which the king establishes may be changed.

You know, I can see why he was a little bent out of shape with them later on. They're walking up and saying, let us just remind you, you know, even though you're the one that wrote this, know, O king, it's the law of the Medes and Persians that no decree or statute which the king establishes may be changed. And Darius saw through the trap.

He sought to rescue Daniel to no avail. And, folks, here's the point. Our faithfulness can impact others who may not share our faith.

It impacted the king. Our faith, our faithfulness can impact others who may not share our faith. That's important.

I really, truly believe, and I'm careful in saying this. As a matter of fact, there's a guy that attends this church that played soccer for me. He point blank said this. I say this carefully, but I do believe under the pressure of coaching on a sideline, I had as much impact as I did standing in an air conditioned classroom with an open Bible. And listen, you've got to understand what I'm saying. That means that you take the principles that you've studied and you practice them under pressure.

Anything other than that is hypocrisy. So Daniel, you believe in your God? How do you like lions?

How do you like lions? You profess, you pray, now perform. And he did. And I say that in the most favorable way. The fourth thing that we notice, Daniel was a man of consistency before any and all people.

And that's important. He was a man of consistency before any and all people. He was himself. I'm sure Pastor Carnes would say the same thing and Pastor Bartman, when you get up to speak, you have to be yourself. And if you try to be something that you're not, you've got wrong motives.

And I'm sure those men would say the same thing. We have to pray, Lord, enable me to honor you. If that means fumbling, if that means bumbling, may you increase and me decrease. It's a conscious decision that must be made. Daniel was a man of consistency wherever he was before any and all people. Notice verses 16 and 17. So the king gave the command. They brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, your God, whom you serve continually, he will deliver you. Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords.

Why? That the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed. And I would throw this out to you that we need to keep in mind that the lion's den was in the providence of God. We've heard that from this pulpit many, many times.

Job is a perfect example. God has his hedge of protection about his own people. He could have stopped that if he had wanted to, but the lion's den was in the providence of God. And I would like to throw this out to you in the form of a question. Was Daniel a biblical hero when he came out of the lion's den or when he went back to his apartment, the wind is being open and prayed?

I would say the second, because he would have been just as much an example if he had been torn limb from limb. Well, can you give us any real-life example of that? Jim Elliot and four of his friends who were martyred by the Alkandians, and through their death, their martyrdom, some of their wives were used to the Lord to lead the very people who killed their husbands to Christ. And I throw out to you, God could have changed that, but God had a purpose in it.

And that should be encouraging. We started out, God is sovereign in the affairs of nations and individuals. But as we'll see, the King's statement did not reflect faith as much as it was to encourage Daniel. He said, he will deliver you.

Well, that's an encouragement, and we're going to see why I say that, verses 18-22. Now, the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no musicians were brought before him. Also, a sleep went from him. Then the king arose very early in the morning, went and hasted the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions? Then Daniel said to the king, O king, live forever. My God sent his angel and shut the lion's mouth so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before him.

And also, O king, I have done no wrong before you. The king had no personal relationship with God, but he was impacted by what he observed in Daniel's relationship with God. Daniel publicly gave God the glory for his delivery. The last thing that we would consider briefly, Daniel was a man of commendable faith.

Daniel was a man of commendable faith. Folks, what must happen for us to have a commendable faith? What must happen for us to have a commendable faith? Well, number one, it's got to exist, obviously.

But number two, people have got to see it, commend. You can have a commendable faith, but what good is it unless it impacts other people? All we want is a commendable faith, and the fact that Jesus is the eternal Son of God who came to this earth, fulfilled the law perfectly, died a horrific substitutionary death on a Roman cross, was buried, rose after three days, ascended into heaven, intercedes before the throne of God for his own, and will return again someday. We could do that in a monastery, if you know what I'm saying. And what I am saying is this, we have to make certain we are practicing our faith for the purpose of God's glory and the eternal good of other people.

Think about that. Before our relatives, before our neighbors, we've got to make certain we are practicing our faith for the glory of God and the eternal good of other people for it to be a commendable faith. Verses 23 and 24, then the king was exceedingly glad for him, commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury, whatever, was found on him.

Why? Because he believed in his God. And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives, and the lions overpowered them. Notice this, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den. I just picture a ravenous, horrifying scene.

They broke their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den. This second incident that revealed Daniel's commitment to God ends with God being exalted. We read 25 through 28. Then King Darius wrote to all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell on all the earth, peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom, men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he's a living God and steadfast forever.

His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall endure to the end. He delivers and rescues, and he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian. To the conclusion that King Darius had about God, we would say a confident amen. And this thing that I just throw out to you, I don't know if you've noticed, but they continued to use the Hebrew names. Darius is writing this and when he goes to the lion's den, he says Daniel's name. He says Daniel's name in writing to all these nations.

It wasn't Belteshazzar that he said. He said, Daniel, for what it's worth, that intrigued me, that this heathen king who had renamed him in honor of one of his gods, gave him his Hebrew name in honor of his God. I want to ask five questions. Are you known to be a believer who was consecrated, set apart to serve in God in a hostile environment? Are you known for that? Secondly, are you known to be a person of character among those with whom you work on a daily basis?

Do they think of you as a person of character on a daily basis? Third, are you a believer who will not compromise your convictions under any circumstance? And beloved, we don't have the time tonight, but I came close to doing this, taking you to the first two chapters of Genesis. Because in the first two chapters of Genesis, you must form conviction on gender and marriage and a lot of other stuff.

First two chapters. And we're going to have to come to the point where we are either going to fudge and compromise or stand fast and say, no, I believe that God created two genders. He declares male and female. And I believe that marriage is between one man and the one woman that God would give the one man. And it's for a lifetime for the purpose of companionship and procreation. Period. I mean, that is the type of conviction we are going to have to convey.

And much more than just that in other areas as well. Fourth, are you consistent in your testimony for the Lord before any and all people? And that's a tough one. And fifth, are you a person whose commendable faith results in God being exalted and you being blessed as Daniel was? Let's close in prayer.

Father, I do pray that you would take what I've shared tonight and use it in each life as you see fit. I do believe in a sense Lord that this nation is in a preseason for some very intense time in the future. And we certainly deserve to have your condemnation. We're a nation who's allowed thousands upon thousands upon thousands of babies to be murdered in the womb. We're a nation who is allowed alternative lifestyles to be considered normal.

And the list could go on. We pray that your church, no matter what country it's in, would be salt and white. That we would take up the weapons of our warfare and that is loving you with all of our heart, soul, and might and loving our neighbor as ourself. Help us to care to be a Daniel. Help us to dare to be a Daniel. In Jesus' name, amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-14 13:11:04 / 2023-03-14 13:26:42 / 16

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