Seven Things I Learned from the Book of Daniel

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Contributed by Toby Ward, Elder Overseer of Service at Image Church

Recently, I had the good fortune to preach the Word at Image Church for three consecutive weeks, and it was a blast. I am so humbled and honored that God would use someone like me to bring His Word to His people. I am constantly amazed what God can do when we are willing to be used by Him. When we have faith in Him and obedience to His Word and direction, supernatural things happen. That’s what God does!!  The supernatural. The miraculous. The things that cause non-believers to stand up and take notice of a Sovereign loving God.

There are many great examples of this in Scripture, and a good one is the life of Daniel. God led me to preach through Daniel 1-6, and there were 7 resounding themes that kept jumping out at me. Here are the 7  things I learned from the life of Daniel that impacted me greatly:

1 – God is Sovereign over all NATIONS and INDIVIDUALS

  • Whether it was King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 1-4), King Belshazzar (Daniel 5), or King Darius (Daniel 6), God’s control was evident over them at all times.
  • God ALLOWED Israel to fall to the Babylonians (Daniel 1:2), and later to the Medes/Persians (Daniel 5:31) to accomplish His purpose for His chosen people.
  • God is still in control today. Even though as Christians we may not always agree with our Government, KNOW that God is sovereign and places in command the person He wants for His purposes.

2 – God will be with us through the trial’s of life

  • God promises us multiple times in Scripture that He will walk with us through the trials of life. Never did He say that He will prevent the trial, but He does promise to be there with us.  Keep in mind that we worship a Man who died in His early 30’s, and gave His life in one of the most horrific ways of all times.
  • Daniel experienced God’s protection when he first came to captivity, and not eating the Kings food. (Daniel 1)  He again experienced God’s protections by interpreting King Neb’s dream (Daniel 2), and in the Lions Den. (Daniel 6)
  • Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego also experienced this when Jesus Himself showed up in the Ore smelter. (Daniel 3:25)
  • As Christians, we RUN from the trials when we ought to embrace them.
  • If God has promised to show up when we are tested, then why would we want to miss His presence?!?!?!
  • In Acts 5:41m the early Apostles REJOICED at being counted worthy to suffer in the name of Jesus – right AFTER they had just suffered a medieval times beating!!!
  • Are you willing to suffer in the name of Jesus much less rejoice in it?

3 – Pride blinds you from God

  • King Neb, Belshazzar, and especially Darius were all blinded by their own ambition and pride that they could not see the miraculous work of God all around them…especially Darius.
  • Darius took a liking to Daniel, but fell to flattery (Daniel 6:6) and pride by allowing the “worship me only” decree to go out.
  • Belshazzar was partying while his enemy was at the gate and allowed Babylon to be taken captive by another country. (Daniel 5)
  • King Neb was probably the dumbest of them all, because he ignored the veggies (Daniel 1), Daniels interpretations (Daniel 1&4), and the deliverance from the ore smelter (Daniel 3).
  • Pride and especially ENTITLEMENT in our life will keep us from seeing Jesus. We are ENTITLED to nothing!!!!! It is only by God’s grace that we are His children, so who are we to EVER have ANY pride or ENTITLEMENT towards Him?!

4 – Living in a secular culture is God’s will for our lives

  • God soverignly placed His entire nation of chosen people into captivity under the reign of pagan worshippers (Daniel 1:2).
  • He then used 4 men (Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) as agents of change in this pagan land.
  • These 4 men allowed themselves to be educated in the pagan ways, AND allowed their names to be changed to that of pagan gods. This did not define them. They took stands ONLY when it was going to go against God (Daniel 1).
  • They EMBRACED their culture rather than RUNNING from it, and God showed up multiple times astonishing the pagans.
  • As Christians, God has soverignly placed us in the time and age that we live, and He desires for us to RUN HEAD ON INTO  ITS CULTURE!!
  • Jesus Himself was called a drunkard (He was not, by the way) because He associated with drunkards. He came to heal the sick. (Luke 5:32 & Luke 7:34) 
  • How are we ever going to heal the sick if we are constantly running from them?
  • Get out of your bubble, and crash head on with the culture all around you. That’s EXACTLY what Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did!!

5  – Love your enemies

  • This is pretty much self-explanatory.
  • Daniel served multiple kings for 70+ years of captivity, and he did it faithfully, and loyally.
  • He even showed concern for King Neb (Daniel 1&4) most likely because he was praying for his repentance to God.
  • I can’t imagine a worse life than being captive under a religion you KNOW despises God.  Daniel never complained. 
  •  He showed great concern and affection for whomever he served.

6 –  The closer you get to God, the closer He gets to you

  • Daniel prayed three times daily (Daniel 6) and was undoubtedly close to God.
  • God sent an angel to Daniel on two occasions – in the lion’s den (Daniel 6) and in prayer (Daniel 9).
  • In Daniel 9, Daniel is praying for his nations deliverance from captivity, and the angel Gabriel shows up.
  • He then tells Daniel “you are loved” (Daniel 9:23).
  • A consistent, humble prayer life will endear you to God.
  • God just doesn’t send angels to everyone. Daniel saw this TWICE in his lifetime!!! That’s a man who was close to God through prayer!!!

7 – Everything flows from faith in and obedience to God

  • In Gods’s covenant promise to Israel, He promised to be with them, and protect them if they did two things – have faith in me, and obey my commands.
  • They failed to do these two things, and it led to their downfall.
  • Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, however, experienced MIRACULOUS acts of God because they simply were faithful and obedient.
  • We make this Christian journey through our temporal home so hard because we are arrogant, prideful, self-sufficient creatures by nature.
  • It’s only through dependence on God, by His grace, those attributes are stripped away.
  • Faith+Dependence=Obedience.
  • Obiedience+Prayer=GODS MIRACULOUS WORK ALL AROUND US IN AND THROUGH US!!!!!!!!!!
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