Summary: A look at the life of Daniel; his principles.
Series: When Cultures Collide
Topic: Developing Pressure Cooked Principles
(How to have a tenacity of faith that will stand the pressures of life)
June 30, 2002
Introduction: ill-A few years ago psychologist Ruth W. Berenda and her associates carried out an interesting experiment with teenagers designed to show how a person handled group pressure. The plan was simple. They brought groups of ten adolescents into a room for a test. Subsequently, each group of ten was instructed to raise their hands when the teacher pointed to the longest line on three separate charts. What one person in the group did not know was that nine of the others in the room had been instructed ahead of time to vote for the second-longest line. Regardless of the instructions they heard, once they were all together in the group, the nine were not to vote for the longest line, but rather vote for the next to the longest line. The experiment began with nine teen-agers voting for the wrong line. The stooge would typically glance around, frown in confusion, and slip his hand up with the group. The instructions were repeated and the next card was raised. Time after time, the self-conscious stooge would sit there saying a short line is longer than a long line, simply because he lacked the courage to challenge the group. This remarkable conformity occurred in about 75% of the cases, and was true of small children and high-school students as well. Berenda concluded that, "Some people had rather be president than right," which is certainly an accurate assessment.
[C. Swindoll, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, p. 225.]
[recent news program of the same scenario, 2 out of 3 failed, as time went on even the one who kept giving the right/honest answer began to speak with less and less confidence and certainty.]
Pressures abound to fit in. Few can stand apart and be different. This morning we look at the lives of three men and the challenge they faced as they sought to stand up for what was right, even though it nearly cost them their lives.
King has dream. Dream of large statue. Daniel relates that the king is the head-a head of gold representing the best and grandest. As the kingdoms/ statue progressed they became stronger; 1st bronze, then iron. But, at the same time they also became weaker through instability. The last had the strength of iron, but the cohesion of iron/clay mixed. "United we stand, divided we fall". Such kingdoms quickly collapse. In spite of this there was yet another kingdom-one which God would establish-a kingdom that would crush all others, and upon which no other kingdom would prevail.
Jesus said, "upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18, KJV)
But dreams like this can be disturbing to a king who is accustomed to being in control. So, the king, knowing that his kingdom will come to an end attempts to control the situation. And in a moment of irony creates this statue 90’ high and 9’ wide as a means by which to control the decay of the kingdom and solidify all in the kingdom under homage to this idol, the king, and the king’s gods.
King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its breadth six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent to assemble the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, were assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And the herald proclaimed aloud, "You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace." Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Daniel 3:1-7, RSV
[background -conflict between Jewish law and this decree. Their identity to YHWH meant the most to them]
1. Our Greatest Trials Are Those Closest To The Heart