A Politician Who Walked with God
So many of God’s servants served in political capacities. Joseph served under Pharaoh in Egypt. Moses was a grandson of Pharaoh. Isaiah seems to have known the royal family. Esther was a queen.
Daniel, too, served in a political capacity. He was taken from his homeland at an early age. Because of Daniel’s wisdom, Nebuchadnezzar appointed him to his court. Daniel advanced greatly in the Babylonian kingdom. As he advanced, he taught us the following lessons:
We Need Self-Control
Daniel practiced self-control (Dan 1:4-10). King Nebuchadnezzar gave Daniel and his companions part of his delicacies (v. 5). Daniel purposed not to eat of those delicacies (v. 8). Daniel and his companions received permission from the steward not to defile themselves (v. 14).
Daniel refused to eat just whatever was before him. The food set before Daniel had probably connected with some way with idol worship. Even though in a precarious situation, Daniel refused just to give in to appetites; he practiced self-control.
We, too, need self-control. Part of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control (Gal. 5:23). When Paul was before Felix, he reasoned about self-control (Acts 24:25). We are to add self-control to our lives (2 Pet. 1:6).
God Blesses His Servants
God blessed Daniel.
God blessed Daniel when Daniel refused to eat the king’s delicacies.
At the end of ten days, Daniel and his companions appeared better than those who had eaten the king’s food (Dan. 1:15). God gave these youths “knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom” (Dan. 1:17). Nebuchadnezzar found these youths to be superior to all others (Dan. 1:18-21).
God also blessed Daniel when he was cast into the lions’ den.
God shut the mouths of the lions (Dan. 6:22). Daniel prospered under the reign of Darius (Dan. 6:28).
Because Daniel was willing to obey God, God blessed him.
God will bless us if we obey him. The servant whom the master finds working will receive a reward (Lk. 12:43-44). Those who do the law will be justified (Rom. 2:13). Those who keep God’s word will be blessed (Rev. 22:7).
God will bless you if you obey. Are you being blessed? Are you obeying God?
God Deserves Honor
Daniel honored God (Dan. 2:27-30). Nebuchadnezzar had a dream which greatly troubled him (Dan. 2:1). He called all the “wise men” to give him the dream’s interpretation (Dan. 2:2). When the “wise men” could not do so, Nebuchadnezzar gave the decree that all wise men should be killed (Dan. 2:12-13). Daniel asked the king for time to interpret the dream (Dan. 2:16). Daniel went before the king to give the dream’s interpretation. Daniel said the wise men could not interpret the dream (Dan. 2:27). Daniel said that there was a God who could interpret the dream (Dan. 2:28). Daniel said that he was given the interpretation not because of his own wisdom, but so that the king wouldn’t kill all the wise men and so that the king would understand the dream (Dan. 2:30). Daniel did not praise himself; he gave God the glory.
We, too, need to give honor to God. Our lights are to shine before others in order that God might be glorified (Mt. 5:16). God gives the increase (1 Cor. 3:6). People aren’t converted due to our wisdom, our speaking ability, etc. People are converted because of God’s word and work.
God Must Be Worshiped
Daniel obeyed God in spite of the consequences. A decree had been signed that anyone who prayed to anyone other than Darius for thirty days would be cast into a den of lions (Dan. 6:7). Daniel still went, as was his custom, and prayed to God (Dan. 6:10-11). Although Daniel was cast into the lions’ den, he still worshipped God. Daniel was willing to risk his life to worship God.
We, too, must worship God. The psalmist prayed that he would dwell in God’s house all his life (Ps. 27:4). The prophetess Anna fasted and prayed night and day (Lk. 2:36-37). We must not neglect worship (Heb. 10:25).
Regardless of anything else, we must worship God. We must worship even if we don’t have the time. We must worship even if we don’t like the sermon topic. We must worship even if it makes our friends and family angry.
God must be worshipped.
Confession Needs to be Made
Judah went into captivity because of her sins. Isaiah said the nation had become like Sodom and Gomorrah (Is. 1:10). Jeremiah spoke of the idolatry in Judah (Jer. 2:4-8).
Daniel now desires to make confession for such sin (Dan. 9:4-19). The people had sinned by turning aside from God’s commands (Dan. 9:5). The people had not listened to the prophets who spoke in God’s name (Dan. 9:6). Forgiveness and mercy belong to God (Dan. 9:9). Unlike the way many picture God, he is loving and forgiving. Daniel had confidence when he prayed that God would hear and forgive.
We, too, need to confess our sins to God. Those who were baptized by John in the Jordan were baptized “confessing their sins” (Mk. 1:5). If we confess our sins and prayer for one another, we will be healed (Js. 5:16). God will forgive our sins if we confess them (1 Jn. 1:9). Are you confessing your sins? Do you need to confess sin this very night?
This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Owingsville church of Christ in Owingsville, Kentucky.