Thesis: There are some things worth dying for.
2. Describe historical situation--Babylonian captivity.
I. READING THE STORY. < Pausing to comment ... >
A. AFTER VERSE 5:
1. "Neither corrupt nor negligent"--Careful scrutiny of most people's work habits reveals either something unethical or unproductive. Not so with Daniel!
2. God's people are going to be scrutinized! We can either bemoan that fact, or accept it as an opportunity.
B. AFTER VERSE 7: All agreed? One didn't--Daniel! They lied!
C. AFTER VERSE 9: Law of Medes & Persians, unlike the way our gov't does business, could not be altered once it was put into writing.
D. AFTER VERSE 10:
2. "Just as he had done before!"
E. AFTER VERSE 14: Wonder what "every effort" looked like? (notes, messengers, visit; "It's only for 30 days Daniel! Surely your God wouldn't mind? It's not really that big a deal!")
F. AFTER VERSE 18: Quite a sacrifice for a king (presumably the royal harem had the night off too!)
G. AFTER VERSE 24:
1. Wives & children--according to Persian custom.
2. Lions were really hungry! (That's how we know that the reason they didn't eat Daniel wasn't because they had had a good dinner of Tender Vittles just before Daniel was thrown in!)
H. AFTER VERSE 27: Before we get too excited and get ready to make a trip to the baptistery, Darius wasn't commanding exclusive worship of Yahweh. You could keep all your other gods.
II. TWO IMPORTANT LESSONS.
A. Loyalty to God is more important than life itself.
a. Restricted diet (chapter 1).
b. Fiery furnace (chapter 3).
c. Daniel in the lion's den (chapter 6).
2. What would you be willing to die for?
a. Illust. What if our gov't decreed that you could only attend church one time a week? Once a month? Not at all? What if they said you couldn't pray? Couldn't take the Lord's Supper except once a year? What if they said you had to accept a practicing homosexual as your minister or one of your elders? What if they said you could do everything the way you've been doing, but simply had to take a pinch of incense, throw it on a fire in front of a picture of some Supreme Ruler and say, "Supreme Ruler is God." Would you die for your faith?
b. We don't want to get the impression that God always saves people from death--might get that idea from these stories!
1) Sometimes God saves from death, sometimes through death, but he always delivers!
B. This story teaches us the right way to make enemies.
1. Not for: Bad temper, sticking it in other people's business when it doesn't belong, being too stubborn to apologize.
2. But for: Staying drug-free among users, not partaking in a liquid lunch with co-workers, being honest, refusing to hear bad jokes.
3. Batsell Barrett Baxter: "If we are known by the enemies we make, some of us should be flattered."
4. Do you have enemies? Are you flattered?