Daniel-Wayne Barber/Part 4
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2006|
|Whose side are we on? Have we made up our minds? Many of us come to church on Sunday, we sing, we pray, and we pray, and then Monday through Saturday we live as if we don’t even know the living God that’s to be in control of our life. And I want you to see in the book of Daniel, friend, that kind of lifestyle will get you nowhere.|
Will You Please Make Up Your Mind – Part 1 (Daniel 1:1-5)
Turn to the book of Daniel. Daniel 1:1. I want to bring you up to verse 1 this morning and get started in chapter 1. We won’t go too far, probably about verse 5 or 6. I want to preach this morning on “Will you please make up your mind.” Look down in verse 8 and I’ll give you a little clue. It says, “But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself….” You know, you’ve heard about my mugwump, the little black bird that I have. A mugwump is a bird that sits on a fence with his mug on one side and his wump on the other and he never can decide which side he wants to be on.
A man gave me a good example of that this morning. A friend of his was fishing one day he was using a great big old spark plug for weights. And he would sit on one side of the river and on the other side was lady who was fishing. And this fellow on the other side of the river would take his rod, with that great big heavy weight on it, and throw it all the way across the river and fish on her side. And she just kept getting irritated and more irritated and finally she yelled across the river, “Sir, will you make up your mind which side of the river you want to be on! If you’re going to fish over here, come on over here, but don’t sit over there and throw in front of me.”
It’s kind of like that in the Christian walk. Whose side are we on? Have we made up our minds? Many of us come to church on Sunday, we sing, we pray, and we pray, and then Monday through Saturday we live as if we don’t even know the living God that’s to be in control of our life. And I want you to see in the book of Daniel, friend, that kind of lifestyle will get you nowhere. But we’re going to find four young men, Daniel and his three friends, that make up their minds they’re going to honor God and not defile themselves.
Well, this will be part one of a series we’ll do in chapter 1. Now, let me bring you up to verse 1 of Daniel 1. Look what it says, “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.” And we told you that was 605 BC. It’s funny the comments I got from last Sunday’s message. Some came to me and said, “I love this history stuff. Stay in there. Man, it’s exciting.” Some of you came to me and said, “That’s the boringest stuff I’ve ever heard in my life. Will you hurry up and get into the text?” So those of you who don’t like the history, take a nap. I’ll wake you up in just a second. For those of you who do, we’re going to go back and I’m going to bring you right up to Daniel 1. Now get a pencil and a piece of paper. This is going to be important down the road. Alright, first of all, write down this date: 931 BC. Now, remember, when you say BC you count backwards, because you’re before that dividing point where you start counting forward. In 931 BC something happened, and you need to know about it. That’s when the kingdom split. That’s when Israel split under the reign of Solomon. Ten tribes went to the north; two tribes went to the south—Israel to the north, Judah to the south. Now we talked about that last Sunday. Right after that, in 930 BC, there was a prophecy made, and I love this, because it just shows you how God honors what He says. In 930 BC there was a prophecy made that didn’t take place for over 300 years, and I want you to see that.
Look at 1 Kings 12. If we don’t do anything else in the study of Daniel, we may learn the books of the Old Testament. First Kings 12:25. Jeroboam is the king of Israel; Rehoboam is the king in Judah, the southern tribe. Now there’s a little bit of a dilemma here and the Scripture will bring it out. I want you to see the pagan idolatry that got into Israel’s life. As a matter of fact, the ten northern tribes do not have any record of any godly king whatsoever. Every one of them did evil in the sight of the Lord. This is Jeroboam, verse 25, “Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and lived there. And he went out from there and built Penuel. And Jeroboam said in his heart, ‘Now the kingdom will return to the house of David. If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will return to their lord, even to Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.’”
Now he had a little bit of a dilemma. Where are the people going to worship? Where are they going to make their sacrifices? If they go back to Jerusalem, where the temple is, they’re going to leave me and their allegiance will go to Rehoboam. They’ll walk away from me. Verse 28: “So the king consulted, and made two golden calves.” Can you believe this guy? “And he said to them, ‘It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods [your gods, plural], O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt.’” It shows you how wicked this king was. “And he set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan. And he made houses on high places, and made priests from among all the people who were not of the sons of Levi.” And, of course, the sons of Levi were to be the priests. “And Jeroboam instituted a feast in the eighth month on the fifteenth day of the month, like the feast which is in Judah, and he went up to the altar; thus he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves which he had made. And he stationed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.”
This is gross idolatry, folks! And it’s terrible what he was doing in the sight of God. Verse 33: “Then he went up to the altar which he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised in his own heart; and he instituted a feast for the sons of Israel, and went up to the altar to burn incense.” Now watch what takes place. “Now behold, there came a man of God from Judah to Bethel by the word of the Lord, while Jeroboam was standing by the altar to burn incense. And he cried against the altar by the word of the Lord, and said, ‘O altar, altar, thus says the Lord, Behold a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and human bones shall be burned on you.’ Then he gave a sign that same day, saying, ‘This is the sign which the Lord has spoken, Behold, the altar shall be split apart and the ashes which are on it shall be poured out.’ Now it came about when the king heard the saying of the man of God, which he cried against the altar in Bethel, that Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, ‘Seize him.’ But his hand which he stretched out against him dried up, so that he could not draw it back to himself. The altar also was split apart and the ashes were poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the Lord. And the king answered and said to the man of God, ‘Please entreat the Lord your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me.’ So the man of God entreated the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored to him, and it became as it was before.”
Now you say, “What’s that got to do with anything?” Well, just hang on. It has a whole lot to do with it. What was the man’s name that was going to come one day and tear those altars down and render them as dust? His name was going to be Josiah. God sent his prophet to tell Jeroboam what was going to take place. Well, what happened? Nothing! Silence! Over 200 years go by. I’m sure the skeptics loved to sit back in their seat and laugh. “Did you hear what the prophet said? Why, God’s not going to do anything!” And people would die out, generations turned over. Well, 930 BC was when that prophecy was given.
Now go on down your time line and put this date down: 722 BC. Now, I gave it to you last week; I’m giving it to you again today. That’s when Israel finally fell into the hands of Assyria, as prophesied, as we looked at last week, by many Old Testament prophets. They’re taken into captivity; they no longer exist. Now, Judah, the southern two tribes, is still hanging in there. They’re still existing. Now, write down another date: 640 BC. Something happened that was prophesied way back in 930 BC. Look in 2 Kings 22. I’m telling you, I get so excited about this stuff. It just amazes me! I know this prophecy is right, and I know it’s real. But it’s just wonderful to see it fulfilled in Scripture. Friend, listen: God is in control whether you like it or not. Our God is on the throne, brother, and He’s pulling the strings. He knows exactly what’s happening around us.
In 2 Kings 22, and look who it is who is coming on the throne. What’s his name? Josiah. Well, I’ll be! You mean that’s the same guy? That’s the same guy! Two hundred years before it was prophesied he was going to do something. He hasn’t done it yet, but he comes on the throne in 640 BC. Josiah was eight years old when he became king. Now I know a lot of eight-year-olds who think they’re king, but this is the only one who actually was king! “Josiah became king when he was eight years old and he reigned 31 years in Jerusalem and his mother’s name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. And he did right in the sight of the Lord and walked in all the way of his father David, nor did he turn aside to the right or to the left.” And so we see a godly king coming on the throne of Judah.
Now, something happened 18 years after he’s on the throne. See, you’ve got to learn this folks, or you’re going to mess up in Daniel. Sometimes between verses there can be 18 or 20 years, sometimes between chapters there can be 40-50 years or so take place. If you don’t see that, you’re going to really mess up as to how all this is taking place in history.
Alright, 2 Kings 22:3: “Now it came about in the eighteenth year.” Now anybody, I know math is a tough subject for most of us, but if you take 18 and subtract it from 640, what do you come up with? 622: isn’t that good? Boy, we’re historians and didn’t even know it. Write down 622 BC. That’s when this takes place in verse 3. “King Josiah sent Shaphan, the son of Azaliah the son of Meshullam the scribe, to the house of the Lord saying,” and he gives a message to them and he’s going to take care of some things. But I’m not going to get into all that context. Look at verse 8: “Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe.” Now they found something on this mission the king had sent them on. They discovered something. He said, “I have found the book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” And without belaboring the point and reading all of the Scriptures that are there, let me just simply say revival broke out in the house of Judah. Man, they had found the Law and they repented and they had a godly king that would honor God in whatever that he did. He didn’t lean to the left; he didn’t lean to the right.
Now you say, “What’s that got to do with Daniel?” It has a whole lot to do, friend. This is in 622 BC. Daniel is born in 620 BC. He’s born at a time of great revival in the land. He’s not born under an evil king now; he’s born under Josiah at a time when the Law has been discovered. And so when we get to Daniel, we see him as a teenage boy having been under this godly time in the nation of Judah. Well, we see that Josiah does something that was promised in verse 15 of 2 Kings 23. Remember the prophecy that we read a few moments ago about an unnamed prophet that went to Jeroboam and said, “It’s going to take place, mark it down.”
We read in 2 Kings 23:15: “Furthermore, the altar that was at Bethel and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, had made [emember Jeroboam?], even that altar and the high place he broke down. Then he demolished its stones, ground them to dust, and burned the Asherah,” which was a goddess of that day. And so he did exactly what was prophesied; he went to Bethel and he tore down that altar. This is the godly reign of Josiah, a time they found the Law and revival has broken out in the country.
Well, 2 Chronicles helps us now. Go to 2 Chronicles 35 and I’m going to bring you right up to Daniel 1:1. Josiah does a dumb thing. Not a simple thing, just a dumb thing. You ever done a dumb thing? Sometimes the consequences of doing dumb things are pretty severe, and he died as a result of it. And we’re going to see this in 2 Chronicles 35:20: “After all this, when Josiah had set the temple in order, Neco king of Egypt came up to make war at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah went out to engage him.” Now he wasn’t out there to war against the people of Judah. Josiah had nothing to do with it. These were natural enemies of his and he wanted that city on the Euphrates River and so he had made battle with those people in that area. That had nothing to do with Josiah. But since Josiah was in the region he felt like he needed to defend Carchemish. He needed to go and help these people. Verse 21, “But Neco sent messengers to him, saying, ‘What have we to do with each other, O King of Judah? I am not coming against you today [you’re not my problem!], but against the house with which I am at war, and God has ordered me to hurry. Stop for your own sake from interfering with God who is with me, that He may not destroy you.’”
Now did you notice the terminology in that verse? “God that is with me;” “God has ordered me.” This is something that you’re going to have to get hold of in Old Testament language. I love it! Because He used the pagan king, called the servants of God. Why? Because God is the author of history and will use anybody at any time He chooses to use them. But brother, that doesn’t mean He’s befriended them, because they’re still pagan. Don’t confuse the two. He knows good and well that he’s under orders to go to Carchemish. And he tells Josiah, “Listen, God’s telling me you back away. Don’t you bother me! I’m not out here to bother you!”
But Josiah just a dummy, doesn’t listen. Verse 22, “However, Josiah would not turn away from him, but disguised himself in order to make war with him; nor did he listen to the words of Neco from the mouth of God, but came to make war on the plain of Megiddo.” And friend, you can’t disobey and get away with it. “And the archers shot King Josiah, and the king said to his servants, ‘Take me away, for I am badly wounded.’” Next few verses talks about them lamenting over Josiah, and finally Josiah dies.
Now look in chapter 36:1 and we see the succession, what happened after he died. “Then the people of the land took Joahaz the son of Josiah, and made him king in place of his father in Jerusalem. Joahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem.” And evidently the king of Neco liked him and took him back to Egypt it says later on, but it says in verse 3: “Then the king of Egypt deposed him at Jerusalem, and imposed on the land a fine of one hundred talents of silver and one talent of gold.”
Now look at verse 4. His brother now, “And the king of Egypt made Eliakim his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem.” Now you say, “You’ve lost me! Man, what are you doing all this for? It has nothing to do with Daniel!” Oh yes, it does. Look at the next phrase: “And changed his name to [what?] Jehoiakim.” In other words, Josiah’s son, Joahaz, three months, and then his brother Eliakim, his other son, and his name was changed to Jehoiakim.
Now what’s that got to do with the price of eggs in China? Alright, go back to Daniel 1:1. Maybe now we can get into the flow of things. Now the rest of you that don’t like history, wake up! Wake up! Now we’ll get to your part of it. Verse 1: “In the third year of the reign of [who?] Jehoiakim.” Who’s that? I just told you who it was; if you’d been paying attention you would have caught it. He was the other son of Josiah who was the godly king over Judah. “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.” This is 605 BC and now we’re in Daniel 1:1.
It says in verse 1, “in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim.” Now, if you’ll study the prophet Jeremiah, he says it’s the fourth year. “There’s a contradiction in Scripture! I knew it! You can’t trust that book!” That’s the way the liberal theologians always do. They see an apparent contradiction and they want to build a case on it. Let me explain this to you. Jeremiah was using one system of calendar dating and Daniel was using another. Ha, ha! There were two. You see, a king could be on the throne for even over a year sometimes and it still not be the official first year of his reign. Daniel referred to the official third year of his reign. Jeremiah looked at the chronological period of time and put the four years in. So probably he was one the throne for a period of time before he was actually made the official king over Babylon. There are no contradictions in Scripture friends. It just takes a little bit of understanding how they do things back in those days.
So, in the third year, official year, of the reign of Jehoiakim Nebuchadnezzar comes down and seizes the city. Now, this is the first of three sieges. If you don’t understand that, some of Daniel will just be perplexing to you. The first siege they take out Daniel and all the young men, and we’ll look at that this morning as part of our message. The second siege, which comes years later, they take out Ezekiel and the ten thousand. The third siege, which comes even later than that, they destroy the city and take everybody out of it. So this is just the first siege of Jerusalem, so remember that.
Okay, verse 2: “And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the vessels of the house of God; and he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and he brought the vessels into the treasury of his god.” Little “g”. It’s interesting, because this doesn’t mean a whole lot to us now in the text of Daniel, but will mean great things to you in chapter 5. They took the gold and silver vessels right out of the temple that were used and set apart for worshipping God, and they took them over into Babylon and put them into pagan temples of their “gods”, little “g”. Now you say, “What does that mean?” Well, it means a whole lot. Do you think God is going to let them get away with that? You think the Lord is going to do that? Listen, even though He’s using pagan kings, friend, again, He’s not befriended them! They’re going to pay, buddy, for their dishonoring Him. He’s just using them right now to accomplish His purposes with His people.
Well, Shinar, by the way in verse 2, is another name for Babylon, so again the thought is there. He takes these vessels over and puts them into pagan idolatress temples. Verse 3: “Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some of the royal family and of the nobles.” Now you remember, one of the ways, when they would conquer an area, that they would really conquer it, would be to take all the qualified youth out of it, leave the rest of the people, bring in foreign nations and let them co-inhabit with the people, and what happened was they would lose their identity as a race. And this is what constantly was done. Assyria did it, and not Babylon is about to do the same thing. So he’s going to choose certain youths to be taken out. Now the plot begins to thicken. Ah, now we begin to see why Daniel is over in Babylon. Look at verse 4, “youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding, and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king’s court;” Now you had to meet three qualifications to go.
I was thinking about in my teenage years. Daniel, at this time, would have been about 15 years old—can I say that a little more loudly for our young people? —15 years old when Daniel and his friends were taken out. Now, they had to meet certain qualifications. I would have never met them. First of all was a physical test. They had to pass a physical test. They could absolutely have no physical defects. That meant physical defects where it says “no defects.” They had to be good, healthy specimens of young people, and were good-looking. Sharp, sharp young people. Can you imagine America being taken over by another country, say Russia, and they came in to every city of every state and they picked out the young people that were sharp, healthy, good-looking rascals.
Alright, secondly, they had a mental test that they had to pass. They had to be mentally fit. It says, “Showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom,” (I’d have flunked that one, too) “endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge.” They had to be not only good-looking and healthy, but they had to be sharp mentally; those that could pick up real quickly and could do things. And then thirdly, they had to pass a social test; they had to be socially fit, in a sense. It says, “And who had ability for serving in the king’s court.” Now what does that mean? Well, it refers here, the basic understanding that I can get out of the wording here, is that it refers to the fact that they had social traits, personality traits, that would lend themselves to serving in that kind of service. They didn’t just pick anybody indiscriminately. They went by and they very carefully chose the ones who were physically fit, who were mentally fit, and who were socially fit to be part of the king’s personal service.
And they took them out of the land. The best idea I can get from the text is this choice was made over in Jerusalem, before they went to Babylon, and they took them all over, a select group of young people of the house of Judah, into Babylon, to be a part of the king’s service. Now this is where the plot really begins to thicken, because these are godly young people, or supposed to be, and they’re being taken into a pagan land. Now somewhere there’s going to have to be a rub, isn’t that correct? Somewhere there’s going to have to be something that they’re going to be told to do that God tells them to do something else. And we begin to see that in verse 4. It goes on to say “he ordered him to teach them the literature and the language of the Chaldeans.” So far, no problem. And, as a matter of fact, verse 5 says for three years they were to be educated. They were to be put in school over in Babylon, learn all the customs learn the language, and then they’ll be ready to be put in the service.
Look at verse 5: “And the king appointed for them a daily ration from the king’s choice food and from the wine which he drank.” Now at first glance, what’s wrong with that? What it means is that actually the food that he ate from, and the wine that he drank from, he was going to give to these youths. I can hear my son and some of his friends right now. “Man, this is great! I mean, T-bone steak every night. We can have anything we want. They’ve taken us into captivity. Captivity’s not so bad! You get fed well. And he’s given us the best food in the whole area. What’s wrong with that?”
It’s the first test, folks, of their real godliness in their life. Do you know why? Number 1, that food and that drink violated the Levitical dietary law that’s been given to all of the house of Israel. They would have violated God’s command on what they could or could not eat just by eating and drinking what that king drank. But even more important than that, the food had been sacrificed to idols and that food then was brought to the king, and as the king would consume the food he was, by consuming it, recognizing the false gods of that day, and in doing so would somehow superstitiously gain favor with those false gods. For those young people to have bowed down to that king when he made a decree that they should eat of that food, and to dishonor God, would have defiled their whole life. So what did they do? What is their choice? Now think about it with me. Just stay with me.
Think what they had going through their minds. Now, we know teenagers. I was one once, were you? As a matter of fact, my mind stopped normally functioning at 19, so I’m still somewhere in that age! You know how a teenager thinks. I know how young people think. “Hey, man! Mom and Daddy can’t see me, they didn’t take the parents!” Boy, you talking about a bunch of young people had it made! They left their parents back at home and they took them over there. “Mom and Daddy don’t know anything about it. As a matter of fact, I realize God is telling me to do this, but hey, I’m away at college. I’m going to school for three years. I’m in a pagan land. They want me to do what they want me to do, and Mom and Daddy can’t say a word about it. I think I’ll just play the game. I think I’ll dishonor God during my school time, but when I go back home I’ll sit with the youth group, I’ll sing in the choir, I’ll even go on the youth camps in the summer. Nobody will know the difference!”
You see, you’ve got to think about what they’re facing here, folks. As a matter of fact, if you know anything about Nebuchadnezzar, and if you know anything about the Babylonian Empire, you know how ruthless this man could be. You’re going to find that out over there when he takes Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, simply by refusing to bow down to a false god, and throws them into a blazing, fiery furnace. Just zip them out boy, just that fast. A pagan, mean, ruthless king. And here’s these young people thinking, “Man, am I going to honor God, or am I going to do what he tells me to do?” Now, be real careful for those of you who say you can break the law at any cost, always to honor God. Be real careful. The decree was they had to eat that food. No negotiation and no choice whatsoever. Everyone was told in captivity to eat of that food and drink of that drink. And that’s going to play a real role in your understanding this as we go on. What are they going to do? What are they going to do?
Well, it’s interesting that there are only four, out of all that were taken out, were mentioned in Scripture as having not defiled themselves and honored God. Look in verse 8 again and you’ll begin to realize what’s being said. “But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself.” You know, so many times, and by the idea of this thing it wasn’t that he made up his mind when he got over there. He had already made up his mind that he would not defile the Lord. And, young people, you need to make up your mind now!
You’re in the security of your family right now. You’re in the security and protection of your mother and your father, and everything is laid at your feet. Clothes are bought, food is bought, everything is yours, but one day you’re going to leave that home and you’re going to go into a pagan land and you’re going to be there where people are going to place the same decision before you. Make up your mind now that you will not defile yourself by dishonoring God and doing what this world tells you to do. Make it up now! Man, my prayer is that in this church we could have some Daniels raised up. Not wishy-washy wimpy kids that come to church on Sunday and then play a stupid game during the week. Daniels who will stand and be counted for what God says to do.
And notice I’m saying this to young people, but adults, you need to be listening to what I’m saying, too. What about your job, sir? If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there even be enough evidence to convict you as guilty? Do your people around you know that, buddy, you will not compromise. It doesn’t matter if your boss tells you to go out and drink with a client so that you can get his business; you’re not going to do it. And you’re going to make some hard decisions that you will not defile yourself so that you can honor God in everything that you do. Even at the risk of losing your job, even at the risk of losing even more than that in your life. That’s a Daniel, and these are 15-year-old kids who had made up their minds not to play the game like other kids. But they’re going to make up their minds to be a Daniel, to be a Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. To be the people that God wanted them to be.
Well, they made up their mind, and they’re not going to do what the king has to say. Well, what happened? I’ll tell you next week. Just to whet your appetite. Oh, folks, it is so beautiful how God works in your life. And I want you to understand something as you study ahead of me this week. Please write it down somewhere. Listen to this: notice the godly character which was theirs when they told the king they couldn’t do what he told them to do. We’re seeing a lot of people today saying that you can do this and you can do that, but buddy, some of the harshest, rudest, meanest, cruelest things that I’ve ever received in the mail or ever talked with anybody about have come from people who claim to be Christians, who say that they’re standing for God, and who say they have a right to do it. You don’t get that in the book of Daniel. You do not get that at all.
These guys had such a character about them; they weren’t rebels looking for a cause. They were truly godly young men who made up their minds they would not defile themselves when a pagan king when told to do so. I want to tell you something that made a difference when they made their appeal to the ones who were in authority. Because it wasn’t just their appeal that struck those authorities, it was the lifestyle, the behavior, and the character of those young men that changed the hearts of those who were in authority.
Well, young people, I get mean sometimes, but I’m really not. I’m on your team. I just want you to know that it doesn’t pay to dishonor God, for popularity or anything else. Sometimes I get up here and holler and rant and scream and pound the pulpit. My heart to you is I’m trying to encourage you. Because, young people, there was a time in my life that I played a game and I paid a price and my fear for you is that you’ll go through the same thing. I realize we all have to make our own mistakes and learn from our mistakes. Don’t ever think I’m getting on you when I holler like that. I’m just so convicted in my soul I get a little louder when I get to those points.
My fear is you won’t understand that it only pays when you serve God, regardless of what it costs you at school or with your friends, or anybody else. And I say that out of my heart of love because I’ve got my two sitting right out there, and so it’s kind of delicate territory when we get in that area. But I love you! Make up your minds. Make up your minds. Are you going to defile yourself by honoring man? Or are you going to honor God and dishonor what man says? You know, Scripture says if you start pleasing man you stop pleasing God. At that point, you have stopped pleasing God. You know, income tax time is coming up. I wonder if our country would be in the debt that it is in if we had Christians that would be honest on their income tax? “Go back to the history, Wayne. That was better. Give me a date, I can write that down!”
Well, seriously, if we had all had to make that decision years ago, our country would be in a whole lot better shape. You’re going to see in the book of Daniel, the problem is not with the pagans, folks. It’s with the believer who won’t make up their mind to get on the right side of the fence. That’s the problem. So quit throwing stones at the government and everybody else and look at yourself in the mirror and see if you’re the person that’s defiled yourself and not stood up for what God wants in your life. Let’s pray.
Father, we just thank You so much for men like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. We thank You, Father, that they made a stand, that they chose not to defile themselves, but they chose to honor You. And oh, Father, You know the frustration in my heart of all the dumb things that I’ve done in my life. Thank You, Lord for Your grace and Your mercy, and certainly, Lord, You’ve brought me through those days. But oh, Father, how my heart beats for these young people.
Lord, in this evil, evil, pagan world that we live in today, with everything in every corner to pull them this way and to pull them that way, I pray, Father, especially these young boys, 15, 16, 17 years old, will make up their minds that they will not dishonor You. They’ll not defile themselves, that they’re going to honor You and stand when the time comes to stand. Father, I pray for them in classrooms where they hear people dishonor the Word of God, when they hear people, Father, put down the things that You have done. I pray for them, Father, that You’ll give them a boldness like never before, to keep that stand firm and solid.
I pray for them, Father, when they’re with their friends and, Lord, all of us deal with the choices that we have to make every day. God, I pray that they’ll be leaders, not followers. And I thank You Father, for their friends, and I thank You Lord, that through that friendship they can build such a unity, that boy could reach so many young people. God, I pray that You’ll break the heart of our young people that they can realize the lost kids that are around them every day and are going to absolutely bust hell right open if they die today. Father, I just pray that You’ll give them that godly compassion in their hearts for those kids.
And I pray, Father, for the adults that are listening to the sound of my voice. All of us, Lord, I pray that we won’t pass it off to the young people, but Father, we’ll make our stand, that we will not defile You or ourselves, but, Father, we’ll honor You and we’ll obey You regardless of what it costs. Lord, we see in the history of kings that have gone against You, how they had to pay. Father, we realize that disobedience automatically brings judgment, but Father, I pray that we’ll learn that obedience, in obedience we find the joy we’ve been looking for. For in pleasing You, Father, that’s what really makes us be what You want us to be. We love You and we praise You.