6-Week Series: Against All Odds

Sermons

Summary: Daniel, a normal believer, was transformed into a person of such insight and faith, that he was promoted to serve 5 kings from three different conquering nations. What steps did he take that caused such a transformation?

THE DEVELOPMENT OF A MAN/WOMAN OF GOD

Dan. 1:3-17

INTRODUCTION

A. HUMOR: FREE HAIRCUTS

1. One day a Barber cut a minister’s hair. When the minister reached for his wallet, the barber said, “No Reverend, it’s on me.” Next morning, as if by magic, there were 10 silver coins on his doorstep.

2. The next day the Barber cut a Bishop’s hair. When the Bishop reached for his wallet, the barber said, “No Reverend, it’s on me.” The next morning, as if by magic, there were 10 gold coins on doorstep.

3. The next day the Barber cut a Rabbi’s hair. When the Rabbi reached for his billfold, the barber said, “No Reverend, it’s on me.” The next morning, as if by magic, there were 10 more Rabbis on his doorstep [Obtained from a Jewish Website]

B. TEXT

3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz…to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. 5They were to be trained for three years. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. 8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way….10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.” 11 Daniel then said…“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.

C. THESIS

1. We’re going to look this morning at how Daniel, who was just a normal believer, became transformed into a person of such insight and faith, that he was promoted to serve 5 kings from three different conquering nations.

2. We’re going to look at the pressure to compromise, the decision to obey God, and the results of his dedication.

3. The title of this message is “The Development of a Man/ Woman of God.”

I. THE WORLD’S PRESSURE TO CONFORM

A. WAYS THEY TRIED TO BRAINWASH THEM

1. SEPARATED THEM FROM THEIR FAMILIES, isolated.

2. CHANGED THEIR NAMES, to make them forget their heritage and God.

a. Daniel = “God is my Judge;”

Belteshazzar = “Bel protect his life.” (Bel-Marduk)

b. Hananiah = “The Lord shows Grace;”

Shadrach = “Command of Aku” (Sumerian Moon-god)

c. Mishael = “Who is what God is?”

Meshach = “Who is what Aku is?”

d. Azariah = “The Lord Helps;”

Abednego = “Servant of Nebo (Nabu).”

3. They IMMERSED THEM IN THE WAYS & LEARNING OF BABYLON. They sent them to school where, not the Bible was taught, but Astrology, enchantment, and worldly philosophies were daily force-fed them.

4. It’s the SAME AGENDA TODAY – worldly philosophies are taught to our kids – evolution, Gay is ok/alternate lifestyles, sex outside marriage is normal, situation ethics. But there’s hope: Daniel and his friends overcame all the world’s efforts to indoctrinate them. This is hope for our kids and grandchildren.

5. POWER OF PEER PRESSURE: everyone else was conforming

a. A group of psychologists showed the dramatic power of peer pressure. They put 10 teenagers in a room which had lines of 3 different lengths on the walls.

b. The group was asked to raise their hands when the teacher pointed to the longest line, which was very obvious.

c. Nine of the teens had been secretly told to raise their hands when the second longest line was pointed at.

d. In 75% of the different trials, the lone teens let peer pressure over-ride their own judgment and went along with the group. [McHenry, In Other Words, #616.]

B. WE’RE NOT TO CONFORM TO THE WORLD

1. Rom. 12:2 NIV says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

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