Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Call to be Faithful to God

I would like to examine a well known bible character named Daniel to learn some great lessons from his life. My subject is, “The Usual, The Unusual”. According to Webster’s Dictionary the word ‘usual’ means ‘common, ordinary, commonplace’. As we consider the life of Daniel, I wish to identify six things about him that are usual, they are common, ordinary, commonplace. They could be said about the overwhelming majority of people anywhere anytime.

First, Daniel believed in God. It is USUAL (common, ordinary) to believe in God. There are 22 different primary religions worldwide. The overwhelming majority of people across the world believe in God. According to a recent research study 33% (2.1 billion people) of the world population profess allegiance to Christianity, 21% (1.5 billion people) profess allegiance to the Muslim faith. The next largest sector (16%) profess to be ‘nonreligious’. This group of people includes atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, etc. They answer ‘none’ when ask what their religious preference is. But of this group, half are theistic. Half of THIS GROUP believe in a supreme God. That means 92% of the world population professes to believe there is a divine God. It is USUAL to believe in God.

Second, Daniel sought blessings from God. It is USUAL (common, ordinary) to seek blessings from God. How do I know that? According to Daniel 6:10, Daniel had his “windows open in his chamber towards Jerusalem…and prayed, giving thanks before his God…” Why did he have his window open towards Jerusalem? Lets go back to 2 Chronicles 6. Solomon had finished building the temple of God in Jerusalem. It represented the house of God amongst the people of God. 2 Chronicles was a record of the dedication of the temple. On that occasion we find these words, (verse 12) “he stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel”, (verse 14) “and said, O Lord God of Isreal, there is no god like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth”, (verse 19) “Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, O Lord God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee: (verse 20) that thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, to hearken unto the prayer which thy servant PRAYETH TOWARD THIS PLACE”. Daniel’s window was open towards Jerusalem, because as a Babylonian captive, he was PRAYING TOWARDS JERUSALEM. That is USUAL. Lots of people seek the blessings of their God.

Third, Daniel regularly prayed to God. It is USUAL (common, ordinary) to regularly pray to God and make your needs known unto Him. Daniel 6:10 says, “he kneeled upon his knees THREE TIMES A DAY”. We all need to START our day, CONTINUE our day, and END our day, talking to God, letting Him know what we are challenged with, what we are tempted with, what we are frustrated with. We need to let Him know how much we love Him, how much we need Him! Multitudes do. That is usual.

Fourth, Daniel had enemies who wished to crush him. It is USUAL (common, ordinary) to have enemies who wish to crush you. Daniel 6:4 says, “the presidents and the princes SOUGHT TO FIND OCCASION AGAINST DANIEL…”. I’m sure you wouldn’t have to think long if I asked you the question, “who do you know of in your life that would take pleasure in seeing you experience hardship or setback?”. We all have enemies. We all have people who would like to see us experience setbacks, and would help it along (and perhaps have) if they knew how.

Fifth, Christianity has enemies. It is USUAL (common, ordinary) for Christianity to have enemies. God has always had people who sought to overthrow Him and His statutes. In 1962 The US Supreme Court decided it would no longer be allowable to lead students to pray in school. Yeah, that has worked out really great for the rest of us! Today, the ACLU and many liberals are systematically looking for ways to remove Christianity from the fiber of our society. As foolish as that sounds, that is common, ordinary. It happens often as we all well know.

Sixth, it is USUAL (common, ordinary) for people to preserve their lives when threatened by danger. A couple of weeks ago I was jogging down Old Jennings Road. I ran across what I thought was a snake and impulsively jumped away from it. Upon closer inspection I learned it was a bungy cord that only looked like a snake. But the point is, it is common and ordinary for all of us to instinctively shy away from what we consider to be threats to our wellbeing.

Now, I would like to share the definition of UNUSUAL. According to Webster, unusual means ‘not common, nor ordinary, exceptional, rare’. In the story of Daniel recorded in the sixth chapter of Daniel what happened next was UNUSUAL. Daniels’ enemies convinced the King of Babylon to pass a law that made it unlawful to petition any God or man except the King for thirty days. It made it life-threatening to openly pray to any God. Since it is USUAL to engage self-preservation when your life is threatened, you would think the usual thing to do would be to continue to believe in God privately, to worship God privately, to pray to God privately. Perhaps multitudes of Jews living in Bablyon did just that. But Daniel did something very UNUSUAL. Daniel 6:10 (NLT) says, “But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.” Daniel did what he knew would place his life in jeopardy of harm because he knew the penalty was to be thrown in the lions den.

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