Summary: Do we serve in excellence? Or do we go through the motions in church as usual. Daniel was a man of excellence service because he served a God of Excellent deliverance.
Excellence is Next to Godliness
We have a familiar saying in the world today. “Cleanliness is next to godliness”.
I don’t like that saying. It’s not because I’m a slob. Believe me, I’m not a slob. At least, not a professional slob. Sure I’ve left my fair share of dirty laundry lying around but I’m not a slob. NO, I have a problem with that phrase because I don’t see any verse in the Bible that goes like this, “Behold what manner of Cleanliness that God has given unto us.” Or “Oh Lord, Our Lord, How clean is your heaven, in all the universe.” I just don’t see it in the Bible. I don’t see Jesus saying to Mary and Martha in Luke chapter 10, “Mary, don’t you realize that Martha is really better off in this situation. While you are wasting time at my feet, Martha is cleaning the kitchen, after all, Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” Further more, I don’t see Jesus telling the people to roll the stone away from Lazarus’ tomb and then agreeing with them about the smell coming from the tomb and then commanding them to roll it back into place. I just don’t see it. I think that if we found the person who was responsible for coming up with that phrase we would soon find out that it was a Mother of 16 boys living in the city with a huge house and too much laundry so she decided to coin the phrase in an attempt to keep her house clean because I just don’t find any correlation between the character of God, and cleanliness (in the mop and glow sense of the word, not the spiritual sense of the word)
But I do think that there is something in the Bible that we find that we just may be able to put in place of cleanliness because of how often the word is used in describing our God. And that word is found in a number of verses:
Psalm 8:1, “O lord our lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! Who has set Thy glory above the heavens.”
Psalm 148:13, “Let them praise the name of the Lord: for His name alone is excellent; His glory is above the earth and heaven.”
Psalm 36:7, “How excellent is Thy loving-kindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings.”
Psalm 150:1, “Praise Ye the Lord. Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in the firmament of His power.”
Isaiah 12:2-5, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say, “Praise the Lord, call upon His name, declare His doings among the people, make mention that His name is exalted. Sing unto the Lord; for He hath done excellent things: let this be known in all the earth.”
2 Samuel 22:31, “As for God, His way is excellent (perfect): the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in Him.”
I believe that as the people of God we need to make sure we understand that God is an excellent God. He is all-knowing, He is all powerful, He is all Mighty, but our God is an excellent God. He is Excellent.
I want to look at the life of Daniel tonight. In the 6th chapter of Daniel we have one of the great stories of the Old Testament. The story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den. The story of Daniel, who was soon to be second in charge of the greatest empire of the time, the Median empire. The problem with Daniel however, was that there were no problems with Him, unless the balances of fair and upright behavior were tipped against Him.
I love the life of Daniel, because Daniel always trusted God completely, and God always preserved His life. Daniel was an excellent man for the kingdom of God.
If we read from our text tonight, let’s read from chapter 6:1-4, this was Daniels problem. This was Daniel’s shortcoming, this was Daniel’s Accilies Heel:
“It please Darius to set over the kingdom a hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. (v.3) Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. (v.4) Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault, forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.”