Summary: In spite of what seems to be insurmountable problems, we find strength by clinging to God.
Dealing With Disappointment
(First in the series Dare to be a Daniel)
He lived a life of dashed hopes and shattered dreams. His mother died when just a boy. He had to work in the fields to help his family. He only attended school sporadically, but read every book he could get his hands on. His business ventures and political career failed, and he became a surveyor to get out of debt. He married and had four children, but only one grew to adulthood. He regularly dealt with depression but never stopped working toward his goals. Yet we know him as one of the greatest men America ever produced: Abraham Lincoln.
She was an energetic young woman whose life was forever changed by an accident. Because her spinal cord was severed, she first struggled to survive. Forced to live her life as a quadriplegic, she nearly lost the will to live. Slowly, achieved the impossible. She painted by holding a brush with her teeth. She produced record albums of joyful music. She married, & is now known as an encourager to countless thousands of people. Her name? Joni Eareckson Tada.
Life for many is filled with experiences of disappointment, disillusionment, and despair. As a result, relationships, families, and careers are often scarred. When we encounter Daniel, we find a man facing unthinkable adversity.
Proposition: In spite of continual hardship, Daniel overcame tragedy and achieved success.
1. His nation collapsed (2 Chronicles 36)
How do you suppose Israel felt when Jehoiakim surrendered to Babylon’s first onslaught & became a servant to Nebuchadnezzar?
Relief that destruction was averted or shame at the country’s loss of sovereignty?
After 3 uneasy years, the end came swiftly. Jehoiakim tried to throw off Babylon’s power, and Nebuchadnezzar’s retaliation was swift.
Jerusalem was conquered.
We know little about Daniel’s family. He was of royal blood.
We know he was well schooled, or else he would not have been signaled out.
He was probably aware of the prophesies of Israel’s fall
2. He was uprooted (Daniel 1:1-7)
Isaiah predicted, “Some of your [Hezekiah’s] descendants…will be carried away (2 Kings 20:18).
Not only were holy items from the temple removed, the best of the young men of royal blood were taken as well.
They became civil servants in a pagan government.
Customs were different; language was different; worship was idolatrous.
Unanswered questions would have swirled through his head.
Did his family survive the sacking of Jerusalem?
How would he deal with being a prisoner of war?
Daniel knew His God to be always faithful, even in the midst of tragedy.
Daniel had three friends who would stand with him for what was right.
Daniel had his heritage. Joseph, Moses, & David all endured through their own tragedies.
3. He was a survivor (Daniel 1:21)
Daniel faced a choice.
Entering the service of the king of Babylon was not a matter of choice.
How he performed that service was.
He could have allowed bitterness to sour his relationship with God.