Sermons

Summary: Our God is big enough to grant even the most difficult request.

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All scripture is from the New Living Translation.

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Last Sunday morning we all awoke to the good news that the nine Pennsylvania coal miners who had been trapped 250 feet underground had all been rescued. All were safe and sound.

There had been moments, though, when it appeared that things were not going to turn out so well.

The first drill-bit brought in to dig a rescue tunnel broke half-way down, which meant that they had to choose a new spot and start the rescue all over again.

Well, as it turns out, if that original hole had been dug it’s likely that the change in pressure would have caused the mine to be flooded and the miners to drown.

Obviously, this was not known until after the fact.

That these men had survived this type of cave-in was an incredible long shot.

One of the reader boards in the town of Somerset read “WE HAVE OUR MIRACLE”

You see, while the rescuers were busy doing their thing – the local pastors had opened up the Fire Hall for the families of the victims – where they all prayed and kept vigil.

While everyone in town knows that it took incredible skill and perseverance to carry-out a rescue like that – they also know that there were too many coincidences – the right rescue equipment being available, the experienced rescuers, the strategy of pumping in air as they drilled which had never before been successfully used in the US, the fortuitous broken bit...

All of it was too much to simply label as skill or even luck.

Tonight everyone is all gathering in a local Lutheran church for a special community service of praise and thanksgiving. I wonder if they’ll read Daniel’s psalm of thanksgiving.

It would certainly be appropriate"

“Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he alone has all wisdom and power. He determines the course of world events; he removes kings and sets others on the throne.

"He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars."

Or perhaps we could say – wisdom and skill to the rescuers!!!

Verse 22, "He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness..."

Those miners were in that deep dark hole hidden for four days.

"...though he himself is surrounded by light.

"I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors, for you have given me wisdom and strength. You have told me what we asked of you and revealed to us what the king demanded.”

Now, obviously, Daniel’s situation was completely different. But the point is the same: OUR GOD IS BIG ENOUGH TO GRANT EVEN THE MOST DIFFICULT REQUEST. This is the key point this morning.

Last week we talked about the fact that Daniel was among the 6th century B.C. captives taken from Judah into exile in Babylonia.

He and three of his buddies, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had been chosen by King Nebuchadnezzar for the executive leadership training program.

If they did well in the regiment they would become advisors to the king.

So the king set them up with a complete training program that included an incredibly rich and wonderful diet.

However, the diet didn’t set too well with the four Hebrew captives. And they talked the attendant into letting them eat vegetables and drink water instead.

And miraculously, they ended up stronger and smarter than everyone on the king’s diet. The point being that it’s not really the king who is putting these guys into influential positions (after all they had only been eating carrots and broccoli) but that it is God himself that is paving their way.

However, all of this success creates problems by the time we get to chapter 2. You see, God’s blessing had gotten Daniel and friends into an elite core of advisors to the king.

And one night the king had a terrible terrible dream. He called together the special advisors – who were really astrologers and soothsayers – and demanded that they tell him what the dream meant. Except, being a cantankerous coot, he demanded that they not only tell him what the dream meant, but what was in the dream, too!

And if they didn’t comply he would have the whole lot of them executed. So much for job security!

Verse 10 sums up the predicament: "The astrologers replied to the king, ’There isn’t a man alive who can tell Your Majesty his dream! And no king, however great and powerful, has ever asked such a thing of any magician, enchanter, or astrologer! This is an impossible thing the king requires. No one except the gods can tell you your dream, and they do not live among people.’"

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