Summary: Finding clear focus is the only way to avoid the pitfalls of life.
THE CRONICLES OF DANIEL #6: FINDING FOCUS
DANIEL 6: 1-16
SEPTEMBER 12, 2004 PM SERVICE
INTRODUCTION: Nothing that is valuable is achieved without effort. Fritz Kreisler, the famous violinist, testified to this point when he said, "Narrow is the road that leads to the life of a violinist. Hour after hour, day after day and week after week, for years, I lived with my violin. There were so many things that I wanted to do that I had to leave undone; there were so many places I wanted to go that I had to miss if I was to master the violin. The road that I traveled was a narrow road and the way was hard."
"When I was a boy, my father, a baker, introduced me to the wonders of song," tenor Luciano Pavarotti relates. "He urged me to work very hard to develop my voice. Arrigo Pola, a professional tenor in my hometown of Modena, Italy, took me as a pupil. I also enrolled in a teachers college. On graduating, I asked my father, ’Shall I be a teacher or a singer?’ "’Luciano,’ my father replied, ’if you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them. For life, you must choose one chair.’ "I chose one. It took seven years of study and frustration before I made my first professional appearance. It took another seven to reach the Metropolitan Opera. And now I think whether it’s laying bricks, writing a book--whatever we choose--we should give ourselves to it. Commitment, that’s the key. Choose one chair."
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Our text for tonight is about doing one thing right. Our last two texts, Daniel 4 and 5, were not so much focused on Daniel as it was the pride of the Kings. In both instances, Daniel had an opportunity to share God¡¦s truth, but it was of no avail as both Kings had to learn the hard way. For King Belshazzar, God wasn¡¦t as lenient as with Nebuchadnezzar. They both forgot the Living God. Our text for tonight speaks of a new King and a new opportunity for God to work. This time Daniel will be the one who undergoes the penalty for faithfulness to God. He will join Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in a great time of trial because others cannot tolerate his allegience to his God. Political manuvering is nothing new. It has been occurring for literally thousands of years. Whenever there is a new political power rising to the national front, the powers that be, the status quo, will oppose vehemently.
THESIS SENTENCE: Finding clear focus is the only way to avoid the pitfalls of life.
I. THE TRAP SET (VV. 1-5/ 6-9)
A. THE CRITERION GIVEN: Daniel was a man of focus (VV. 1-5)
1. Daniel was slated by King Darius himself to be set as administrator over the whole kingdom.
2. Daniel was distinguished among the administrators
3. He was known for his exceptional qualities
4. No charges could be found against Daniel
5. No corruption could be found in Him
6. He was neither corrupt nor negligent in any of his duties.
7. His only weakness was his loyalty to God!
B. THE TRAP SET (VV. 6-8)
1. 122 against 1!
2. There is strength in #¡¦s
3. The phrase ¡§as a group¡¨ is mentioned 3 times in verses 6, 11, and 15. 4. The satraps and administrators set up King Darius as God. None other can be prayed to.
C. THE KING PERSUADED (VV. 9)
1. The King is duped?
2. Did he believe himself to be god? Was he a product of his culture?
3. Did King Darius simple know the power of Religion?
ILLUSTRATION: About 8 years ago, the Daily Bread had a story of a rich industrialist who was disturbed to find a fisherman sitting lazily beside his boat. "Why aren¡¦t you out there fishing?" he asked.
"Because I¡¦ve caught enough fish for today," said the fisherman.
"Why don¡¦t you catch more fish than you need?¡¦ the rich man asked.
"What would I do with them?"
"You could earn more money," came the impatient reply, "and buy a better boat so you could go deeper and catch more fish. You could purchase nylon nets, catch even more fish, and make more money. Soon you¡¦d have a fleet of boats and be rich like me."
The fisherman asked, "Then what would I do?"
"You could sit down and enjoy life," said the industrialist.
The fisherman said, "What do you think I¡¦m doing right now?!"
The story makes a valuable point. You don¡¦t have to have a lot of money to enjoy your life! We forget that sometimes! We fall into the trap of thinking that we¡¦ve got to have more and more! We¡¦re misled into believing that life is missing something unless we have that new toy. Contributed by: Marc Axelrod