Sermon Audio & Review
Dr. Gerald Priest
- Category: Morning Worship Series
- November 13, 2016
God Honors Those Who Stand for Him.
In Daniel 6:26-27, the pagan king Darius gave praise to the Lord of Israel because of the testimony of Daniel. Daniel's life demonstrates the fact that God will honor those who stand for Him in the most trying times. Even as a teenager, Daniel demonstrated godly courage, loyalty, humility, and integrity. He lived up to his name, meaning "God is my judge," and gained the trust and affection of his superiors.
Honoring Divine Law
Daniel chose to honor God's law when the nation of Israel was in a predicament (Daniel 1:1-2). God had allowed Babylon to lay siege to Jerusalem in 606 BC. The nation had incurred God's punishment because of their idolatry, failure to listen to the prophets, and disobedience to God's law. They went into captivity because they had broken His covenant.
Though Daniel was not part of the cause, he was taken to Babylon. This change in circumstances did not change his faith except to strengthen it. Daniel was put into a program devised by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar to brainwash the brightest Israelite youths and remove their national identity (Daniel 1:3-7). He changed their Israelite names that honored Yahweh to pagan names. But he could not change their character.
Daniel and three young men from Judah had a problem with the diet offered to them by the king's plan. The text isn't clear on the specific issue; the food and drink did probably not meet requirements of Moses' law and may have been offered to idols as well. These young men resolved to abstain from the king's food (Daniel 1:8-13). Daniel recognized the awkward situation in which their overseer could be put by an exception to the policy, so he offered a creative alternative.
Daniel practiced the presence of God even in troublesome times and had wisdom in the midst of confusion, conflict, and temptation. He purposed to honor righteousness and was honored for it. Daniel's multifaceted reward in verses 14-21 included favor and promotions. In the scope of Daniel's life, he also enjoyed longevity, the ability to discern, and visions and dreams.
Devotion to Prayer
Daniel's righteous character and dependence on God were reflected in his prayer life. Prayer was the occasion for God to work a great deliverance (Daniel 6) and deliver a tremendous prophecy (Daniel 9). An uncompromising pattern of prayer distinguishes the godly life. A consistent prayer life is important but can be costly.
Under Darius, Daniel was promoted to be one of three government managers. His fellow officials became jealous. Because they could not criticize his character, they attacked his belief system (Daniel 6:1-9). There is no prescription recorded of when and where the nation of Israel should pray, but Daniel had established a pattern of righteousness that he would not break because of a sinister law. He knew that one compromise leads to another, and that accommodation would soon mean cooperation with wickedness. He continued praying, and God honored his obedience (Daniel 6:10-28).
A blameless testimony is priceless. Daniel was trusted for his character, and no one but he could take away his integrity. We must maintain a sweet spirit, but we cannot compromise righteousness under pressure.
In chapter 9, Daniel was praying and reading the prophecies of Jeremiah. When he realized the Babylonian captivity would soon end, he responded to God in prayer (Daniel 9:1-19). He identified himself with the people of Israel and confessed their sin. He fasted as an acceptable aid to focus on prayer. His prayer reflects trust in the God who is both righteous and merciful.
Intercessory prayer recognizes our sin and God's sovereignty. God answers prayer in the way He chooses, but often does so through the regular, persistent, and passionate entreaties of believers such as Daniel. The Lord responded to Daniel by calling him "highly esteemed" (Daniel 9:23). Those whom God has redeemed are precious to Him. He enables them to live for His honor and glory.
Because of Daniel's faithfulness to the Lord, he became a recipient of God's revelation, a major participant in human government, and an intercessor on behalf of God's people. He pursued a pattern of righteousness which God graciously honored.
- A change in circumstances should not change our faith except to strengthen it. Resolve to do the right thing no matter the circumstances. Keep a sweet spirit while refusing to compromise, and you will maintain a blameless testimony.
- An uncompromising pattern of prayer distinguishes the godly life. Are you establishing a consistent prayer life?
- Those who dishonor God by refusing and rejecting Him, He will also dishonor. Those who honor God, He will honor with blessings that are both eternal and wonderful. Which are you doing?
Tools for Further Study
Cross References to Explore
- 2 Chronicles 36:14-21, 2 Kings 21:10-15, Zechariah 1:1-6 – Israel was sent into captivity because of their sin.
- Romans 8:28-29 – We can serve God and keep our testimony even in the worst of circumstances.
- Deuteronomy 31:6 – Practicing the presence of God means being aware that He is always with you.
- 1 Kings 8:14-61, Psalm 55:16-17 – Precedents for praying three times a day.