It is time to change the nation…God’s way!
Daniel 1: 1-8
During the third year of King Jehoiakim’s reign in Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 The Lord gave him victory over King Jehoiakim of Judah and permitted him to take some of the sacred objects from the Temple of God. So Nebuchadnezzar took them back to the land of Babylonia and placed them in the treasure-house of his god. 3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief of staff, to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah’s royal family and other noble families, who had been brought to Babylon as captives. 4 “Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon.” 5 The king assigned them a daily ration of food and wine from his own kitchens. They were to be trained for three years, and then they would enter the royal service. 6 Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were four of the young men chosen, all from the tribe of Judah. 7 The chief of staff renamed them with these Babylonian names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.
These young men were 10 – 14 years old…taken from their parents, taken into captivity not because of their sin but the sins of generations before them…talk about unfair.
They were excellent in business, understanding of sciences, politics, they were children of the best families in Judah yet in one day they were taken from their homes, because they were to serve the king, made into eunuchs, which now would void them from entering into the temple according Deuteronomy 23 and Leviticus 21 and 22 which could make them lose hope feeling like they could never go back home
Their lives were over as far as their culture, language, freedoms, manhood, everything they took for granted up to this point was now gone…
Some of you feel that way now or will feel that way over the next few years
How will you respond is the question?
Was this God that did this to these 4 boys? Yes, we will watch and see why
How did these boys respond to all of this?
Daniel 1: 8-13
But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. 9 Now God had given the chief of staff both respect and affection for Daniel. 10 But he responded, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has ordered that you eat this food and wine. If you become pale and thin compared to the other youths your age, I am afraid the king will have me beheaded.” 11 Daniel spoke with the attendant who had been appointed by the chief of staff to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 12 “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. 13 “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” 14 The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days.
- Despite all that had happened, all the sense of being abandoned by God and all the potential hopelessness in their situation, Daniel’s heart was always for the Lord seeking to honor him
- Because of their right hearts despite their horrible circumstances and all that was done to them God gave them favor…people saw their hearts despite all they had gone through
- God honored them because they did not complain, whine, or get angry but chose instead to trust…
This is part one of what we need to do…things will probably get worse…gas prices increase, job loss, increasing anti – Christian, anti-conservative rhetoric, more hypocrisy in the news and through leaders
God had brought them into captivity because of Israel’s sin but he raised up those whose hearts were totally His to protect the nation and set it up for Israel’s return
Daniel spent his whole life in Iraq his tomb is in northern Iraq
How did these four men handle life in captivity?
The king had created a statue and had give a command that at the sound of music everyone was to bow down to this statue and if they didn’t they would die.
S,M and A did not bow they were brought before the King, the king gave them an opportunity to bow in his presence to the statue and here was their response
Daniel 3: 16-18
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
What did they get for their stanch support of God and his word? Thrown into the fire
They didn’t know what God would do but they knew they could not compromise their faith
Where is our faith today? Where do we stand in trusting God at his word? How do we live out Christ commands to love God, people and make disciples?
Our faith challenge is do we see, people, things and circumstances through Jesus eyes and even if we don’t know what the future holds will we still stand for Him for his principles and act the way we should act regardless of the consequences?
There are going to be many opportunities for us to whine, complain, become fearful but these are all things where we bow our knee to the idol but if we choose to believe God, to love him to love people regardless of the way they treat us and to make disciples we are like S, M, and A…like these guys we need to say God has the ability to deliver us from the hands of evil but even if he doesn’t we will not bow
Ladies and gentlemen…I believe if we act this way we will see America change…can you imagine if every person who was a true believer lead someone to Christ we would double our impact in this nation in one year quadruple it in two…if America begins to see the Body of Christ as truly caring, loving, standing for true Christian values…helping the broken rather than criticizing them
God wants to trust America into the hands of a people that truly represent Him…many have represented conservative values, many have represented Trump, but those things are not always representing Christ…they will know we are His disciples by our love one for another…sometimes love is hard, challenging, a kick in the butt but we must love
What happens when we stand for God, trusting him completely in a culture that doesn’t? We may get thrown in our own fire but if it is truly a God heart then we will get the results they got
Daniel 3: 26-30
Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. 27 And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.
28 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! 29 Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.”
30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the province of Babylon.
Daniel stood, not against the King but for God!
He was promoted in Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, under Darius and under Cyrus.
He knew God’s word well enough that when Cyrus entered to conquer Babylon, Josephus tells us that Daniel handed him the scroll of Isaiah and read him the prophecy from chapters 44 and 45 from 150 years earlier that talk about Cyrus
Daniel, S, M, and A were 4 men in the kingdom that lived their lives as godly men before and ungodly world.
They sought the Lord always for the answer to their problems
They were not upset or angry at God for letting them down but trusted God enough to look for the reason why they had been taken into captivity
Because of their faithfulness to God they set up the return of the Jews from exile and had mini revivals taking place throughout the land
All the God’s people were given favor by the King because of these four men and their trust in God
What is God’s call on you today? What is God’s call on you for the future of our nation?
Do you believe God has a bigger plan?
Will you love Him, love people and make disciples or will you continue to wallow?
This has been God’s plan all along …don’t allow anyone to deceive you…God is still at work!
Please allow me to remind you, this is often the way God works…think about Joseph, Job, Paul, Silas, Joshua, Caleb,
Are you someone He can trust to stay focused on His agenda, stay focused on His heartbeat?
If you are then we can change the world together…we might not be able to influence the white house, Senate or Congress but we can touch our neighbors, our community, Monesson and change their world…
God’s word is true allow me to remind you of this one last verse from Daniel 11:32b
“but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.”
Whether president Biden knew it or not I believe he was speaking prophetically with his slogan “a battle for the soul of the nation”