Summary: Based on History Channel's epic mini-series, The Bible, this five-part expository sermon series highlights five key events in the story of Scripture from Abraham to Jesus, using video clips from the show.
The Bible: Daniel
Scott Bayles, pastor
Blooming Grove Christian Church: 3/17/2013
Someone once said, “To be a person is to have a story to tell.”
Storytelling is a part of life, intrinsic to most cultures. Stories help people make sense of the world—life’s experiences, dilemmas and hardships. Stories can educate, inspire and build relationships. And human beings spend more of our free time immersed in story than doing anything else. Stories about things that aren’t true and people that don’t exist, for the most part. We watch movies and television, play video games, read books, comics and cartoons. We tell each other stories around the dinner table or the campfire. Even Jesus used stories to teach and tantalize his listeners. In fact, the Bible actually says, “Jesus used stories to tell all these things to the people; he always used stories to teach them” (Matthew 13:34 NCV).
Jesus understood the power of a simple story. Stories are capable of building a bridge from one heart to another that truth can then walk across. And I don’t know about you, but the stories that touch me the deepest and affect me the most are true stories.
That’s why, all through the month of March, we are revisiting some of the most inspiring and powerful Bible stories, with the help of clips from the made-for-television miniseries called The Bible. It started airing two weeks ago on The History Channel and will continue through Easter. I hope everyone got the first couple of episodes. I’ve noticed a lot of people talking about this series. The first week, it had more viewers than The Walking Dead, which is the most popular show on television right now. This means that we have a great opportunity to engage people in spiritual conversations. We can talk with friends, neighbors and co-workers about the Bible. And I hope that you’re taking advantage of those opportunities. Let people know that the movies are good, but the book is even better!
Now, tonight, one of the stories you’ll see and the story we’ll focus on today is the story of Daniel interpreting King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. This takes place centuries after Joshua led the Israelites into the Promised Land. After generations of prosperity and success under Kings like David and Solomon, Israel has abandoned God. And so, as punishment, God allows Israel to be conquered and captured by the Kingdom of Babylon. Nearly the whole nation is taken captive and brought to Babylon as slaves.
That’s where our clip picks up:
NEXT SLIDE—CLIP WILL PLAY AUTOMATICALLY
Daniel was just one of many exiles who were forcibly taken from their homes when Jerusalem was conquered by King Nebuchadnezzar. But even though he was more than five hundred miles from home, among people who didn’t know or worship his God, Daniel’s story was just beginning. And Daniel’s story is like our own stories in several ways. First, Daniel’s story is like ours because Daniel faced a serious problem.
• SERIOUS PROBLEM
The clip we watched summarizes the story in the Bible. So let’s dig a little deeper into what really happened here. The Bible says, “During Nebuchadnezzar’s second year as king, he had dreams that bothered him and kept him awake at night. So the king called for his fortune-tellers, magicians, wizards, and wise men, because he wanted them to tell him what he had dreamed” (Daniel 2:1-2 NCV).
Nebuchadnezzar not only wanted them to tell him what the dream meant, but he wasn’t even going to tell them what the dream was! And if they couldn’t tell him what he dreamed and what it meant, he said, “I will have you torn apart, and I will turn your houses into piles of stones” (Daniel 2:5). Apparently, Daniel wasn’t actually there when the King first made this announcement. So when none of his fortune-tellers or wizards could tell him what he wanted to know he ordered that all the wise-men in the land be killed. Next thing you know, soldiers are knocking on Daniel’s door and he doesn’t even know what’s going on!
That sounds like a pretty serious problem to me.
Like Daniel, we all have problems. Most of our problems are small by comparison. You wake up in the morning and accidentally put both contacts in the same eye. You pull up to the gas station and it costs more to fill up your car than it did to buy it. Your doctor tells you that you’re allergic to chocolate. Your four-year-old tries to flush a teddy bear down the toilet. Those are small problems.
I like what Charlie Brown said to Linus one day: “I don’t like to face problem head on. No problem is so big that I can’t run away from it!”
The truth is—some problems are too big to run away from. I’m talking about serious problems. Daniel and his friends were in an impossible situation that looked as if it would cost them their lives. Some of you know what serious problems are like. You might be in an impossible situation right now. Maybe that’s even why you’re here today.