Daniel-Wayne Barber/Part 14
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2006|
|You know, Daniel only spent one night with the lions and the rest of his time with pagan kings and pagan rulers. I bet if he was here now he would say it was safer with the lions. But, you know, Daniel had what it took: he promised in his heart and determined in his heart that he would not disobey the Lord.|
How to Live with Pagans and Maintain Your Witness (Daniel 6:1-28)
Turn with me if you will tonight to Daniel 6. I want us to look at how to live with pagans and still maintain your witness. I almost want to jump over to Daniel 7, this being Easter Sunday, and all the prophecies that we’re going to begin to unravel in that great chapter. As a matter of fact, chapter 7 all the way through the end of Daniel has to do with the prophetic revelation of what is going to happen in the latter days. Be reading that this next week and get excited about it. But we don’t want to overlook what takes place in the sixth chapter of Daniel. Daniel 6: How to live among pagans and still maintain your witness.
You know, it’s interesting to me as I studied chapter 6 that Daniel only spent one night with the lions and the rest of his time with pagan kings and pagan rulers. I bet if he was here now he would say it was safer with the lions. But, you know, Daniel had what it took: he had a determined mindset, he had a determined love for the Lord and he promised in his heart and determined in his heart that he would not disobey Him.
Look back in chapter 1. Let’s remember what he determined in his heart. Daniel 1:8, “But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself” before his God. He would honor God, he would not defile himself. Now he was 15 years old when he made this determination in his heart. But in chapter 6 we find that he’s up in his eighties and guess what? Nothing has changed. As a matter of fact, he still has that same determination in his heart. As an older man now, he’s not wavered to the left; he’s not wavered to the right; he’s stayed right in the middle of the line there in his determination to honor God. He’s finishing the way he started.
You know, we’ve learned just from the life of Paul as we’ve studied through 2 Timothy about a life without regrets. And Paul was the same way; he finished like he started. God is much more concerned with how we finish than how we start. Can I say that again? God is much more concerned with how we finish than how we start. Saddest thing in the world is for somebody to tell you, “You know, it used to be that I loved God. It used to be that I walked with God. It used to be that I had a burden for lost souls. It used to be that I had a real hunger for His Word.” That’s the saddest testimony that a Christian could ever utter.
But you see, God’s concern is how you are finishing. Is it as strong now or stronger than it was when you started? That’s exactly what we see in the life of Daniel. Daniel’s commitment had weathered many kings and we’ve already studied them in the first five chapters. Now it’s about to take on another kingdom, the kingdom of the Medo-Persians as we saw ending or coming in the last part of Daniel 5.
Well, look in 6:1-2. We begin to get the setting. Darius the Mede that 5:31 tells us about, who had now received the kingdom. Remember Darius was the Mede, Cyrus the Persian. They ruled side by side. Cyrus was the one who sent all the Jews back to their homeland. Remember that? It was part of the prophecy of Jeremiah. Well, in verse 1, “It seemed good to Darius to appoint 120 satraps over the kingdom, that they should be in charge of the whole kingdom, and over them three commissioners (of whom Daniel was one), that these satraps might be accountable to them, and that the king might not suffer loss.”
Evidently what Darius is doing is organizing this new territory that he’s just taken over. He has 120 governors and he has these three commissioners that are over all of that new territory, and it shouldn’t be surprising to us that Daniel is one of those three. Now, in this pagan setting, Daniel being in a high office of government, let’s just see the qualities in his life that enable him to be among the pagans and at the same time maintain his witness.
Daniel had integrity
First of all, he had integrity. I want you to see this: he had integrity. He had such integrity that a pagan government could trust him in a position of great responsibility. Now that’s quite a compliment to a believer: he had such integrity that a pagan government could trust him in a position of great responsibility. Verse 3: “Then this Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps because he possessed an extraordinary spirit, and the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom.”
He had such integrity that the Bible says he was distinguishing himself over his peers. The word “distinguishing” is a participle in the present tense, and it means that he’s consistently doing that. He was constantly outdoing his peers. He had such character; he had such integrity. God had His hand all over Daniel. Now don’t ever forget that! Don’t start patting Daniel on the back. Remember, Daniel had honored God and now God was honoring him. And in everything he endeavored to do, God gave him that integrity, and through that integrity he absolutely overshadowed all of his peers.
It goes on to say “because he possessed an extraordinary spirit.” The word “extraordinary” means above and beyond. Man, there was just something about Daniel that absolutely put all of his peers to shame. Above and beyond. And the word “spirit” there had to do with the way in which he went about what he did. In other words, the work that he did, the labor that he did, how God just gave him what he needed for any task that came up.
You go back to chapter 5:11, he uses that word and it has to do with his abilities as he has approached several things: “There is a man in your kingdom in whom is a spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of your father, illumination, insight,” look at all these things God gave him, “and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him. And King Nebuchadnezzar, your father, your father the king, appointed him chief of the magicians, conjurers, Chaldeans, and diviners.” And then in verse 12, “This was because an extraordinary spirit, knowledge and insight, interpretation of dreams, explanation of enigmas, and solving of difficult problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Let Daniel now be summoned.” And in verse 14, “Now I have heard about you,” Belshazzar said to him, “I’ve heard about you that a spirit of the gods is in you, and that illumination, insight, and extraordinary wisdom have been found in you.”
Daniel was just filled with the abilities that God was giving to him. And in that he had an extraordinary spirit. Darius was so impressed with him that 6:3 says in the last part, “the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom.” Now what a witness that is to be among pagans: for them to know that you honor a God different from the one they honor and yet at the same time to have such integrity, to have such character that they would literally trust you with the highest position of responsibility.
I wonder how many of us here tonight work in situations where a lot of pagan people are around you? By pagan I mean non-believers: they do not honor the Lord Jesus Christ. And I wonder how they see your life? What is your witness like? You know, it’s one thing to tell people about Jesus; it’s one thing to make a stand and verbalize what you think about Jesus. It’s another thing to be so affected by God Himself that you have such character and integrity that even when the people around you don’t agree with you, they respect you to the point they would trust you with any office of responsibility. I would suggest to you that as you go to work tomorrow you remember that. And do the people around you feel like you’re always trying to get something out of them because you deserve it, you’re a Christian? Look out! The kind of integrity that Daniel had was such that a pagan government would put him in a position of high responsibility.
Daniel had character
Well, secondly, not only did he have integrity, secondly, he had character: he had a tremendous character. He had such character that even those who were looking to find fault in him could not find it. Boy, what a compliment! He had such character, the obvious thing when the king put him into a high position, it affected jealousy of the people around him. And immediately they’re going to try and find fault in him and because his character is impeccable, they couldn’t find one single thing to hold up against him. He lived a blameless life in front of them.
Not only integrity with an extraordinary spirit, but he had character. There was absolutely no flaw anywhere that they could find in his behavior. The king had placed him in that high position and now they’re going to be gunning for old Daniel. Let’s look at the scripture there in verse 4, “Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs.” Now they’re trying to find fault, they’re trying to find something. Surely he’s a politician: while he’s smiling at the babies he’s taking away their suckers. Surely he’s a politician; surely there is something wrong in this man’s methods. Surely there’s something in his life that they could find fault with and then they could report him to the king. Perhaps since he’s in his eighties he was inattentive to his duties. Perhaps maybe there was an abuse of power since he had such a high, powerful position. Maybe he had made an attempt to somehow profit monetarily by all that he was doing in the kingdom. Surely there was something wrong.
But look what the Word says, “but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him.” Boy that’s an incredible verse, isn’t it? Trying to find fault with him, they couldn’t find any! The guy absolutely had the kind of character that was impeccable. He had the integrity to where they would trust him in a high level of responsibility; he had the character that when those around him became jealous of his high position they tried to find fault with him and they couldn’t find it.
I think one of the saddest things that’s going on in our country today is the testimony that Christians are giving to a lost world. Everywhere! Everywhere! Even churches. I understand the other day that 34% of pastors in all different denominations nationwide, per year are voting out their pastors and people on their staff. Cruelness and meanness like you’ve never seen before. What kind of testimony is that to a lost world? We find people in jobs, people that are supposed to be Christians cheating on their income taxes, all kinds of things going on. What kind of testimony is that to a pagan world?
Daniel had faithfulness
He had integrity; they’d trust him with the highest position in the land. He had character; they tried to find fault with him but they couldn’t find it. Well, the third thing he had was not only integrity and character, but the third thing was he had faithfulness. He had faithfulness that was so consistent that they could totally predict his behavior. I love this about old Daniel: he’s up in his eighties and since he was 15 until the time he was 80 he hadn’t changed a bit. He had a certain discipline about his life that was such a consistency that they could predict almost his every move. They could almost set their watch by what he did.
Well, notice in verse 5, “Then these men said, ‘We shall not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him with regard to the law of his God.’” Isn’t that amazing? His consistency was going to play right into the hands of the people who were trying to set him up: what a compliment. He was so consistently faithful to God that the people could use that against him. If they ever find anything against us folks, let it be in our consistently of devotion to a Holy God. That’s what he had in his life.
They knew something about him: they knew he prayed in the morning, he prayed at noon, and he prayed at night. They also knew that he prayed in a window as it faced toward Jerusalem. Every day it was the same thing, and from what I get from the text, it must have been over and over and over and over, a consistent pattern in his life. So finally they used that to set him up to somehow get him out of the way. Verse 6, “Then these commissioners and satraps came by agreement to the king and spoke to him as follows: ‘King Darius, live forever! All the commissioners of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the high officials and the governors have consulted together,’” now notice that they said “all.” They lied to start off with because Daniel wasn’t in on that, “that the king should establish a statute and enforce an injunction that anyone who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, shall be cast into the lions’ den. Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document so that it may not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.’” And in verse 9, “Therefore King Darius signed the document, that is, the injunction.”
Now he’s in trouble! They said for 30 days no man could bow down to any god accept bow down before the king, and you know, you know, that Daniel’s not going to change. You’ve already seen the consistency in his life. Now what’s he going to do? Well, he’s up in his eighties by now, he’s not going to change one single thing. Look at verse 10, I love it! “Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.”
Now let me be sure that we wipe out a suspension that some people might have. Some people might have “they told him not to do this and what he’s doing is being arrogant, he’s being defiant to the whole government system. He’s opening up his windows and he’s praying in the window so that everybody can see him when he prays.” Now, before you make that suspicion about Daniel, let’s remember his integrity and let’s remember his character. Maybe so, back when he was 15 years old, you might could have pegged him with that. Maybe as a young lad he would be arrogant enough to defy everybody by opening up his windows and praying that way towards Jerusalem. But no, let’s look a little deeper than that. You see, as a devout Hebrew man, he was simply obeying what God had already told him to do. He didn’t fling the windows open just to be doing it. He’d been doing that for a long time.
Why, first of all, did he pray morning, noon, and night? Well, look in Psalms 55:17. Let’s find out why he prayed morning, noon, and night. It’s simply the heartbeat of a devout Jew to pray that way: morning, noon, and at night. It says in verse 17, “Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, and He will hear my voice.” Not complain in the sense that we look at complain, but he would bring his request before the Lord and God will hear his voice. That was nothing different. He didn’t just decide, “Okay, they’ve made a law: I’m going to break it. I’m going to get up in my window and I’m going to pray three times a day and I don’t care what they say about it. I’m going to do my thing.” No, he was just a devout person seeking God and that was his everyday habit. It was as consistent as setting your watch. And just because the king said not to do it, he knew that in his heart he must do what a devout Hebrew would have done.
Well, let’s go a second step: why would he open the window? Why didn’t he get off in secret? Why didn’t he get down? Doesn’t God hear in secret? Why did he have to be in the window facing Jerusalem where everybody could see him? Go to 1 Kings 8. And let me tell you what’s happening here. They’re dedicating the temple and verse 10 kind of gives us a clue, but I want to jump way over to verse 35 from there. Verse 10, “And it came about when the priests came from the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord.” In other words, God had moved in. God had accepted what they had built and this was a marvelous day as Solomon was dedicating that temple. But look over in verse 35. It says, “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain, because they have sinned against Thee, and they pray toward this place [as Solomon cries out to God] and confess Thy name and turn from their sin when Thou dost afflict them, then hear Thou in heaven,” and what does it say? When they pray, how? When they pray “toward this place.”
It was part of what Solomon prayed to God that the people of Israel, whenever they had sinned and it wouldn’t rain, that when they prayed they would turn their face toward the place where God dwelled, and that was in the holy place of the temple. That wasn’t any big deal: they prayed that way. Look in verse 38, “whatever prayer or supplication that is made by any man or by all Thy people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart, and spreading his hands toward this house.” Look over in verses 44-49, “When Thy people go out to battle against their enemy, by whatever way Thou shalt send them, and they pray to the Lord toward the city which Thou hast chosen and the house which I have built for Thy name, then hear in heaven,” notice that toward the city, toward the house, “then hear in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause. When they sin against Thee (for there is no man who does not sin) and Thou art angry with them and doest deliver them to an enemy, so that they take them away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near, if they take thought in the land where they have been taken captive, and repent and make supplication to Thee in the land of those who have taken them captive, saying, ‘We have sinned and have committed iniquity, we have acted wickedly,’ if they return to Thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who have taken them captive,” now watch, “and pray to Thee toward their land which Thou hast given to their fathers, the city which Thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for Thy name, then hear their prayer and their supplication in heaven Thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause.”
What I want you to see is that he’s not arrogant, simply defying what the king had said. This had been the practice of his life for all these years, from the time when he was 15 and now up into his eighties. He’s not going to change a thing. He sought the Lord at night, he sought the Lord in the morning, and he sought the Lord at noon. And he did it the way Solomon told them to do it: he did it with his face toward Jerusalem, and he would always get in that window, not to be seen of men, but so that he could pray toward where the presence of God was, there in the holy place of the temple.
Matter of fact, Jonah 2:4. Here’s old Jonah in the fish. He wouldn’t get right in the storm, but now he’s going to get right in the fish. And he has a little prayer meeting there in the fish and notice what he does in verse 4. He said, “So I said, ‘I have been expelled from Thy sight. Nevertheless I will look again toward Thy holy temple.’” Well, you say, “Did he do it?” I don’t know; I’ve never been in the belly of a whale. I don’t know which way he turned. At least he knew in his heart that he was praying toward the holy place that God had given them.
You know, Daniel was an old man, and let me make sure that we understand this. This is a point in his life he’s got nothing to lose. He’s not worried about pride. He’s not a rebel looking for a cause. He’s not on a soapbox. He’s just simply going right on doing what he’s always been doing. And those men who trapped him with this knew exactly what he would do. He wasn’t going to waver to the left or to the right.
In all of this, however, Darius had great respect for Daniel. Now, they may not agree with us, folks, and they may turn against us at times, but they’ll have great respect for us when there’s consistency in our lives. Look at verse 16. After Darius has to go put him in the lions’ den, “Then the king gave orders, and Daniel was brought in and cast into the lions’ den. The king spoke and said to Daniel, ‘Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you.’” Well bless his heart; he knew exactly what would happen to Daniel. Why? Man, he’d watched this guy. This guy was consistent, he was constant, he had integrity and extraordinary spirit, he knew that God was all over him, and Darius, a pagan king said, “Don’t worry, Daniel, your God, everything I’ve seen about Him, He will deliver you.” Incredible! That’s the kind of life he lived in a pagan world folks. That’s the kind of quality about him.
Verse 18 says, “Then the king went off to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no entertainment was brought before him; and his sleep fled from him.” Boy, he’s so torn up about Daniel; he just sure hoped that God would come through. And in verse 20 it says, “And when he had come near the den to Daniel, he cried out with a troubled voice. The king spoke and said to Daniel, ‘Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God [now notice the next phrase] whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?’” All I want you to see is that incredible character that he had.
He had such a consistent faithfulness to God that even his enemies could predict that and use that to set him up. But in spite of all of that God still used that to give a witness to Darius. Darius respected, Darius honored, what was in Daniel’s life.
Well, he had integrity, so much so that they could trust him with a high office of responsibility, even though they may not agree with him, and his God was not their God, they had to say he had such integrity. Secondly, he had character: the kind of character that even when his enemies tried to find fault with him he was found blameless. They absolutely could find nothing. Thirdly, he had faithfulness: faithfulness to the point that he was so consistent you could set your watch by it, and that had already struck the heart of Darius.
Daniel had such devotion that he feared God more than the lions
Well, finally, it’s a long portion of Scripture, it’s the final thing: he had such a devotion to God that he feared God more than he feared the lions. I want to show you something. He feared God more than he feared the lions. Look at verse 11: “Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God.” He hadn’t changed a thing. “Then they approached and spoke before the king about the king’s injunction, “Did you not sign an injunction that any man who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, is to be cast into the lions’ den?” The king answered and said, “The statement is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.” Then they answered and spoke before the king,” and this is when the king really wished he hadn’t done it, “‘Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the injunction which you signed, but keeps making his petition three times a day.’ Then, as soon as the king heard this statement, he was deeply distressed,” not like Nebuchadnezzar who was angry, “he was deeply distressed and set his mind on delivering Daniel.”
That’s incredible! The king had made the decree and now the king’s wanting to get Daniel off the hook; “and even until sunset he kept exerting himself to rescue him.” I guess he was trying to revoke that law somehow, that Daniel wouldn’t have to be put into the lions’ den. “Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, ‘Recognize, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or statute which the king establishes may be changed.’” Boy, doesn’t that make you mad? They just had to come back to remind the king, “King, you can’t get this guy off the hook. You made a rule and a law that cannot be revoked.”
Verse 16, “Then the king gave orders,” and of course we read that verse and he tells Daniel, “Your God will deliver you.” Verse 17, “And a stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing might be changed in regard to Daniel. Then the king went off to his palace and spent the night fasting,” he didn’t get any sleep whatsoever, “and no entertainment was brought before him; and his sleep fled from him.”
Then verse 19, “Then the king arose with the dawn, at the break of day, and went in haste to the lions’ den.” Boy, he couldn’t wait to find out. Now what’s happened? All night long has gone by. “And when he had come near the den to Daniel, he cried out,” and then verse 21, “Then Daniel spoke to the king,” I imagine that just thrilled his heart. “O, king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me,” now watch this, “inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime.”
The thing that was so strong on Daniel’s heart was that he was found innocent before his God. If he was innocent before his God, there would be no crime that he would be guilty of toward his fellow man. And to me that was the thing that really caused Daniel’s deliverance there in the lions’ den. The fact that he sought before God, “God, is there anything in my heart that somehow that I have sinned against You or my brother?” And God found him innocent. Because he was found innocent, and innocent towards his brother, he was delivered from the lions.
You know, I wonder how many of us fear God more than we fear what people say to us and think about us. You know, I’ve had this on my mind all day, and you know me, I’m going to go on and say it and then pay for it later. I’ve had it on my mind all day. You know, this is Easter Sunday. I don’t know if you’ve been out to the mall during these days, I haven’t. But I understand from others that have been that it’s quite a madhouse at the mall. Everybody trying to find something that can outdo somebody else on Easter Sunday. “I’ve got to find this kind of clothes, got to have this kind of shirt, got to wear these kinds of pants, got to have this kind of dress,” whatever. And isn’t it interesting most of us fear more what man thinks about us than we fear about what God thinks about us? As a matter of fact it dictates the way we dress, it dictates the way we live, and it dictates the way we talk: everything! We want man to be in favor of us.
Friend, I want to tell you something: when you start getting afraid of God, in the right sense, the respectfulness of God, that becomes a paramount issue in your life. It’s no longer that you’re afraid of men nor are you afraid of lions. You just want to make sure that you are found innocent before God, who is ultimately in control of whatever you’re doing.
I remember when I was going through high school—and I know the young people struggle with this—I used to cry because we didn’t have very much, and I used to cry because I didn’t have the right kind of clothes to wear. And there were many, many days when I didn’t go to school because I didn’t want to look stupid to all the other kids that were around. Isn’t it amazing! If I could have just understood the heart of Daniel back in those days. Oh, if I could go back and live my high school years over again, knowing what Daniel knew at his age and understanding what he thought, just simply worried about one thing: “God, am I being found innocent before You? I don’t care what man thinks. God, I care what You think.”
Well, it was the obedience of Daniel that freed him from the lions. It will always be the protective thing. Obedience was his protection. Trusting God was his protection. The fact that he was found innocent before God became a protective measure in his life. Verse 22 says, “‘My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime.’ Then the king was very pleased and gave orders for Daniel to be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him,” and look at the last phrase, “because he had trusted in his God.” There was not one mark on him. God shut the mouths of the lions because he was more concerned with what God thought than what man thought, or the lions. God protected him and He shut their mouths.
Well, verse 24 shows you what happened to those guys who were trying to set him up. And this has been a comforting thing to me as a pastor. I’m glad since I’ve been here that hasn’t gone on. But I tell you, I’ve been in some churches folks, where some people would dig a pit for you in a hurry. They’d set you up to look at you just to get rid of you. “Oh no, Brother Wayne, people don’t act that way anymore.” I wish I could call a person you know very well by name who was just fired out of his church and if I told you who it was tonight it would just send a chill up through your back. He’d be the last person you ever thought that would ever happen to. And he was the last person that ever thought it would happen to him: maliciously kicked out of his church.
I want to show you something here. It’s a verse that protects us all. Verse 24, “The king then gave orders, and they brought those men who had maliciously accused Daniel, and they cast them, their children, and their wives into the lions’ den; and they had not reached the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.” I was in Philippians one time and it said don’t be afraid of your adversaries. It said when you’re that way it’s a sign of destruction to them but of salvation toward you. I’ve never seen it to fail, folks, you ever devise a plan against anybody, doesn’t matter who they are, if it’s a believer, and you’re going to be eaten by the lions that you’re going to put around them. You can write that down. It’ll put you in the same pit. Listen, God is in control of His people. And the fact that He honored Daniel is because Daniel had honored Him.
Daniel just wanted to make sure that he had that innocent walk before His God, and as a result of that, God protected him. That’s always been a comforting thing. I think the first thing that ought to happen in any of our lives when adversity strikes us is this: first thing we ought to ask ourselves is, “God, is there any sin in my life that I’m causing this thing to come upon me?” And once you’ve dealt with that and God shows you that your heart is cleansed, friend, from that point on stand up, praise Him, because He is in control and whatever He’s going to do, He’s going to do nothing more than to bring a witness through you to the people that are around you.
First thing that ought to happen every time: God, is there any sin in my life that’s causing anything to go on around me? And when God covers us and clears us, then just leave it alone. God will take care of the rest. Look at verses 25-28: “Then Darius the king wrote to all the peoples, nations, and men of every language who were living in all the land: ‘May your peace abound! I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel;’” Another king! Boy, I’m telling you! “‘For He is the living God and enduring forever, and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed, and His dominion will be for ever. He delivers and rescues and performs signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, who has also delivered Daniel from the power of this lions.’ So this Daniel enjoyed success in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”
What are the four things that he had? How do you live among pagans and maintain your witness? With integrity, with character, with faithfulness, and with devotion. And when these characteristics are found in us, don’t worry about the lions, folks. Don’t look at the lions, look at the Lord, and as long as He’s pleased with your life and there’s not sin there causing that affliction around you, there’s rest. He’s up to something: He’s going to change the heart of some pagan that’s around you. You watch. And as God delivers you it becomes the basis of a witness to others.
Well, you say, “Brother Wayne, you’re running through these chapters faster than you’ve ever done before.” I know, because I can’t wait to get to chapter 7. I just can’t wait! I’m glad we got Daniel out of the lions’ den. You just want until next week. I want you to start reading it now. Read it over and over and over again. When you get confused, go on and admit you’re confused. And remember what we told you when we started studying Daniel: you’re not going to figure this stuff out. God the Holy Spirit is going to have to start doing some revealing at some point in time in our hearts. Don’t read into it what it doesn’t say! Don’t jump ahead of it! Just read chapter 7, folks.
We’re going to see something else come up in chapter 7 that we haven’t seen yet. In chapter 2 we got the panorama of the statue and the kingdom and how they were going to be crushed by the stone coming out of the mountain not made with hands. But you’re going to see something else come up in chapter 7: a little horn that’s going to grow up and get bigger than ten other horns. That becomes very significant in latter day prophecy. Who is that little horn?
Well, have fun with chapter 7 this week! And when you come next Sunday I promise you I’ll even confuse you greater! This is going to be fun as we begin to look and see how it’s all beginning to piece together. Well, as you go out amongst the pagans this week—that’s a terrible thing to say! Let me ask you a question just to see if I’m off track. How many of you work with at least three people that you know or suspect do not even know the Lord Jesus or go to school with during the week? Okay! While you’re among the pagans, that’s what I said, while you’re among the pagans remember your witness, keep your integrity, keep your devotion, your character. And you watch: when they try to hang you because they don’t like you because of what you believe, don’t worry about it! God’s in control. The lions they put on you are going to eat them. Just keep on trusting God.
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