Summary: Here is a very famous story, but we have to get passed the "wow!" response. It is a model of how God works, and how He uses His servants to accomplish His purposes.
Passage: Daniel 6:1-28
Intro: There are not a lot of songs written about people of the Bible other than Jesus.
1. can’t think of one about Paul, or Peter, or John.
2. but I grew up singing one about Daniel. “Standing on a purpose firm, heeding God’s command. Honor them the faithful few, all hail to Daniel’s band. Dare to be a Daniel, dare to stand alone. Dare to have a purpose firm and dare to make it known.”
3. don’t hear it much anymore, a little challenging.
4. because while we honor Daniel for his consistent and courageous faith, we secretly hope we will never be in the same spot.
5. we have been watching how God uses His servants to bring the light of God to the lost.
6. and here is the last story in Daniel that details this plan.
7. brothers and sisters, we need to get past the point of just praising Daniel for it.
8. let’s take a look at this story as more than a reason to say “wow”
9. let’s look at it as a model of how God works, and how He uses His servants to accomplish His purposes.
10. and to recognize our place in the plan of God.
I. The World Loves Us and Hates Us
1. vv1-6 details an amazing situation
2. even though Daniel had been high up in the Babylonian administration, he was valued by the conquering Medes and Persians.
Il) like if Eric Holder was kept as Attorney General by the Republican who defeats President Obama.
3. but Daniel was not only kept, but plan was to promote him because of his exceptional qualities to be the Prime Minister of the empire.
4. so he became the object of envy, and perhaps fear.
5. corrupt people are afraid of the incorruptible man who may find them out and hold them accountable.
Il) corruption works best if everyone is on board. Just ask the citizens of Chicago! Whistle-blowers unwelcome!
6. further meticulous investigation into Daniel’s life (v4) caused him to be admired on one hand and hated on the other.
7. the brightness of Daniel’s life revealed the darkness of their own.
PP John 3:19
8. we should not be surprised by the world’s response to us. The light hurts!!
9. the lives of Christians serve the purpose that the law serves; to reveal the darkness of men’s hearts, and even draw out that darkness into action, so everyone can see it!
Il) John Wesley used to get nervous if he was not meeting resistance and persecution. When he got hit by a rock, he was glad.
II. Darkness is the Best Background for Light
1. if you really want to appreciate light, take it to a dark place.
2. and vv 6-15 describe this to a “T”
3. trap was set by withholding true purpose from Darius
4. gave Daniel some options that he might chose:
-pray publically but quietly but say he is praying to Darius.
-become secretive in his prayers
-just stop praying altogether!
5. all that was needed was a little compromise, didn’t even have to sin!!
6. but his response! V10 “when he heard…”
7. went home and kept doing what he always did; publically pray “toward Jerusalem” 3 times per day, “on his knees” Why??? Why endanger himself
8. motivated by purpose, and the darkness of persecution gave him the opportunity to shine brightly!
9. there is nothing in the passage that indicates that he was upset or defensive or demanded his rights.
10. it almost seems that he welcomed the opportunity to be used to shine light into the darkness.
11. if we see ourselves as the servants of God, with a light-giving purpose, then this will be our response.
12. read 1 Peter 2:20-22
PP 1 Peter 2:23
12. if we see our relationship to God is one where He gives us all kinds of good stuff without any expectation of usefulness from us, then our light will flicker and smoke when faced with darkness.
13. Daniel did not ask “why?” because he knew why. He was God’s servant, and that meant shining in the darkness
14. we understand the darkness and our purpose in relationship to it.
Il) this is the attitude that fuels our missionaries to take the gospel to dangerous and uncomfortable place.
14. light blossoms in the darkness!
15. are you in a situation of darkness, of resistance to the gospel. Why has God put you there?
III. God Uses Light for His Good Purpose
1. now Daniel’s brightness had two results, both beyond his control
2. after a sleepless and lonely night, Darius flung back the sheets and ran down to the execution spot.
3. he really cared!!! I would say they were friends.