• In the life of Daniel you see several things we all need to be life giving:
o Convictions that steer his journey,
o Integrity that lives out his convictions,
o Courage that causes him to pass the tests he faces,
o Prayer that is a lifeline to his Father’s heart,
o Prophecy that is born out of the Holy Spirit empowering him to serve.
• He was a captive in Babylon, a political prisoner.
• Israel had a succession of kings who were wicked and God told them He was going to allow Israel to be conquered because of their hard hearts.
• So named Nebuchadnezzar, the king of a huge empire, the Babylonian empire came and conquered them and carried off many of their people to serve as slaves. Typical of the time. Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were all carried off.
• Most likely they were teenagers about 15 years old.
• This is the 2nd message on Daniel.
• Where do you get the strength to stand up to culture and love well in our culture?
• Mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.
• Chapters 1-2 - About convictions, tests. God tests convictions.
• Chapter 3 - Friends get tested in a fiery furnace.
• Chapters 4-5 - Daniel interprets the king’s vision.
• Chapter 6 - Daniel in the lion’s den.
• Chapters 7-8-10-11-12 - All visions
• Chapter 9 - Daniel’s prayers for his people.
I. GOD ALWAYS TESTS CONVICTIONS
• Daniel and his friend’s lives were one long test. They were taken captive as teenagers and hauled off to a foreign land to be brainwashed and serve their captors. That is a test.
• Daniel and his friends are marked by convictions. Things they will not compromise.
• Chapter 1:8 - Daniel is tested and he passes.
• “Daniel was determined”
Literally “Daniel made up his heart.” We say mind because we don’t get making up your heart.
Determined is about setting convictions in your heart.
Proverbs 4:23 NKJV, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”
• It means not moving when everyone else is.
• That is Daniel.
• He is tested and tested again to get off path and expand his influence in Babylon.
II. THRIVING UNDER PRESSURE
• Chapter 2:1-13
• The king is Nebuchadnezzar. He has conquered much of the known world.
• He is powerful and absolute in his kingdom.
• The king has a vision and wants his magicians to tell the vision and then interpret the vision.
• Vs. 5 - Without knowing what the vision is!
• Vs. 6-11 - The king is absolute, he will kill them all if they don’t come through.
• Vs. 12-13 - The king decrees that they all die! That is pressure!
Daniel 2:14-15,17-18, “When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, came to kill them, Daniel handled the situation with wisdom and discretion. 15 He asked Arioch, “Why has the king issued such a harsh decree?” So Arioch told him all that had happened. 17 Then Daniel went home and told his friends…what had happened. 18 He urged them to ask the God of heaven to show them His mercy by telling them the secret, so they would not be executed along with the other wise men of Babylon.
• Vs. 14-16 – Daniel doesn’t react, or lose his mind, but he thoughtfully asks what’s happening, and why the rush?
• Crucial if we are going to impact our culture, don’t react. Hold your core issues and love well!
III. WHERE DO YOU RUN IN CRISIS?
• Vs. 17-18 - Daniel runs to God, to prayer.
• Daniel’s prayer life comes into focus.
• The Bible always emphasizes the need for an intercessor.
• Daniel went between God and people.
• God is calling you to come to terms with your prayer power potential.
• The power of my prayer has nothing to do with my emotion when I pray. II Timothy 2 tells us there is peace in the land but when we don’t chaos reigns.
• We have a far greater power than political control. When we pray, even the worst order can turn around a country.
• Daniel’s prayer changed his position. The crisis turned to a blessing! Romans 8:28
• God can do the same for you!
IV. TESTS AND WORSHIP AND CONFRONTATION
• Clearly his journey is built from the inside out.
• Alone with God, worship and prayer, yielding and obeying. This is how God builds all of us.
• This is how Daniel passes all his tests.
• Vs. 20-23 - Then he worships! So important. He enthrones God.
• For Daniel, God alone is in control, not the king, not the crisis, but God.
• We need that attitude.
• The tests include how we deal with fame, men and women, power, money.
• This one deals with fame and power, king of the land. Daniel is straight and clear with him.
• Vs. 24-28 - Then Daniel, like Joseph with Pharaoh confronts the king.
• Only because he knew where he would live and die. So he is honoring and worshipful and confrontational.
• Vs. 28-35 - Then he speaks the vision and the truth, with no compromise.
• Daniel 2:36-43, “This was the dream; now we will tell its interpretation before the king. 37You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory; 38and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold.
Medo-Persia and Greece - 39 After you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you, then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth.
Rome - 40Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces. 41In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. 42As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle. 43And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery.”
• When he is done with the dream he prophetically speaks out Jesus’ coming!
• Vs. 44-45 - In the days of Rome God will build an empire that no man will topple.
• Vs. 46-49 - God expands Daniel’s influence because Daniel passed the test!
Finally, how do you handle what God trusts you with? Do you compromise and then wonder why you don’t grow?
Faith in the fire passes the test.