Summary: In every life, there are pivotal moments when destiny is defined for that person. The decisions made at those crucial times usually set the course for the rest of our lives. Message explores this dynamic in Daniel's life and makes application for today.
Daniel 2:1-19, 47-49
In every life, there are pivotal moments when destiny is defined for that person. The decisions made at those crucial times usually set the course for the rest of our lives. I was watching a documentary a few days ago about the life of Martin Luther. In his early 20’s he was studying to be an attorney. He had developed some close friendships at the university. Unexpectedly the plague hit that area and three of those close friends died. I’m sure that heightened Luther’s awareness of his own mortality, to lose those people who had become so close to him. Shortly after that he took a trip from the university back to his hometown to visit his family. He was alone on horseback when caught in a fierce thunderstorm. It was a life-threatening situation. In that crisis, Luther made a commitment to God that he would forsake his worldly ambitions and become a monk. He came back and joined an extremely strict Augustine monastery. Luther had come to a pivotal moment in life. There alone in that thunderstorm he made a major life decision that took him on a new direction.i
Elisha was the son of a wealthy farmer. We know that because he was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen. One day the famous prophet Elijah came to his farm and threw his mantle on Elisha, which was a call to follow him as an apprentice prophet. At that moment, Elisha could have said, “No, I’ve got it pretty good here. Thanks for the offer; but I need to stay and keep this farm going.” Had he made that decision, at that pivotal moment, we probably would not know his name today. In a brief moment of time and space, a decision was made that turned the course of Elisha’s life.ii
Each of the disciples had similar experiences. One rich young ruler could have become a close disciple, but at the crucial moment decided to enjoy his wealth instead.iii
But this morning, I’m really not talking about any of those people. I’m talking about you and the major decision points in your life. I’m particularly talking about those decision points that will be coming your way in the days ahead. Some of those moments come and go rather quickly. And we usually cannot reconstruct them after the fact. We either went one way or the other. God is always redemptive. So regardless of where we are in life and regardless of past decisions we have made, we can still walk with Him and move forward in a positive way. But my focus this morning is on those opportunities that pop up in our lives and must be seized at the moment of opportunity.
Peter and his brother, Andrew, were busy fishing on the Sea of Galilee when Jesus walked up to them and said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”iv Did they have the option of saying to Jesus, “We really would like to get with you, in a couple of years we should be able to wrap this up. How can we get in touch with you then?” Then the offer would have expired. Jesus was offering three years of training that would set the course of their lives. The time table was already set. They accepted the offer on God’s terms or they turned it down. Some things with God are not negotiable. Of course, we know that the next verse says they “immediately” left their nets and followed him. And you know the rest of the story; a pivotal point in those men’s lives.
I wonder what crucial decisions are being set before us by God as we speak. I wonder what I may step into tomorrow or the next day. I wonder why God is having me preach this message!
Is there a decision you’re about to make that will make a lot of difference in the course of your life?
In our text today, Daniel found himself
I. Placed in a Crisis that was pivotal for his life.
Follow with me as we read Daniel 2:1-13 (Read).v
Some of us are at a disadvantage as we read this because we know the rest of the story. We know everything turns out fine. It’s kind of like watching a suspense movie that you’ve seen before. With the uncertainty of the outcome removed, some of the drama is not felt. But imagine that situation. King Nebuchadnezzar is not only demanding the impossible; but he is threatening severe punishment if they don’t accomplish the impossible. This looks like a no win situation. If you don’t come through, “I’m going to cut you to pieces.” Sounds to me like a good time to leave town. Everybody is in a panic.