Summary: Daniel believed God was in control of life and circumstances and this caused him to live his live out of his convictions.
• Daniel is a guy who believed God was in control of life and circumstances.
• This caused him to live out of his convictions.
• Unusual for today because we have been taught to go with the flow with what is happening.
• To be “progressive,” but many of us don’t stop to question what we are giving ourselves to.
• Daniel was a guy who did. This was unique and definitely set him apart.
• It is difficult to live in an ever-changing culture that confronts you daily and to love well.
• Jesus always loved well. He lived in truth and grace. This is a tough balancing act.
• That is exactly what Jesus did in John 8 with the lady caught in adultery. He balanced the truth with grace.
• Some of us feel trapped today between what we hear in church and what we see online and in the world. We want to live for God, but we find it so tough to navigate daily living.
• What do you do when you hold to your core beliefs and people tell you that you are unloving?
• When culture moves we are pushed to extremes and culture has never in the history of mankind moved more than in the last 20-30 years.
• Daniel lived in that world as well.
• Some background…
• Daniel lived in a huge city, surrounded by a lot of multicultural influences. He had to make choices how he would live every day.
• He was in one of the most corrupt societies the world has known, Babylon. Babylon is actually used in the book of Revelation to represent all that is wrong with the world and worldly choices.
• But like Joseph, Daniel didn’t just survive, he thrived!
• Like us! He faced pressures to compromise everywhere, from the workplace to his friends.
• He was far from home and had just three friends.
• He was a captive in Babylon, a political prisoner.
• Israel had a succession of kings who were wicked and God told them he was going to allow Israel to be conquered because of their hard hearts.
• So Nebuchadnezzar, the king of a huge empire, the Babylonian empire came and conquered them and carried off many of their people to serve as slaves. This was typical of the time. Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were all carried off to Babylon.
• They were most likely teenagers 14-16 years old. By the end of the book of Daniel, Daniel is 82-83 years old.
• They were sent to school to reorient their thinking, to enslave them.
• In order to serve in the palace they had to have certain qualities: young men, handsome, bright and teachable.
Likely they were all related to royalty in Israel.
• Like Joseph, Daniel rose to the top under tough circumstances. His life was as bleak as it gets, no recourse and no hope, but with God there is always hope.
• He learned how to influence his culture with humility and confidence. He was respectful and unmovable at the same time.
• He wasn’t self-righteous or judgmental, but he was resolute. He knew being right and being righteous were not the same.
• But the book of Daniel is as much about God and His greatness as it is about Daniel and his faithfulness.
• The first half of the book is the story of Daniel, the second half is about dreams and prophecy he experiences.
• There are pictures of Jesus throughout the book.
• He served there 70 years under four leaders.
• Daniel struck a balance, not being a doormat or being self-righteous. He influenced not out of being right, but by being gracious and generous.
• We are going to be in Daniel chapter 1 today.
I. COURAGE AND CONVICTIONS
• Daniel’s acts of courage changed Israel’s destiny.
• Individual acts of courage have changed the world throughout history.
• A single expression of courage is often the tipping point of history.
• Sometimes the person has no idea what they are doing.
• 1955 Rosa Parks said no to moving to the back of the bus and changed the United States and racism.
List of some of those biblical characters:
Abraham leaving Ur
Moses facing Pharaoh
Joshua crossing the Jordon
Joseph forgiving his brothers
David and Goliath
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace
Daniel and the lion’s den
• The problem is the issue is so big and dramatic.
• Things in my life are not so big at the moment.
• None of us are kings or prophets.
• After 40 years of ministry I know this, there will be moments that are tipping points of destiny.