Daniel 6

Daniel 6

SERIES: Integrity is No Accident: The Book of Daniel

Character, Faith, Duty                                       

Introduction:  It is my privilege to teach today on one of the best-known and best-loved stories in the Bible.  It is also a dilemma.  How does one handle an old story in a new way so that it remains fresh and, more importantly, so that we all profit from the powerful spiritual lessons it contains?  I have decided to focus on three things that stand out throughout the life of Daniel, but particularly here in chapter 6:  he was exceptional in character, in faith, and in allegiance to duty.  

However, the danger in highlighting the exceptional is that ordinary people like you and me tend to put exceptional people in an other-worldly category.  We admire them but view them as untouchable.  They are beyond us.  They really do not serve as effective role models because they are so “saintly.”

This, friends, is a tendency we must fight.  Daniel was ordinary in God’s reckoning.  The reason he comes across as exceptional to us is that his culture—both pagan and religious—was so exceptionally ungodly.  A light never seems so bright as when it shines in total darkness.  My point is this: there is nothing about Daniel’s character or faith or allegiance to duty that is not possible for each of us, nor is there anything about his character or faith or allegiance to duty that God does not expect of us. 

Let’s read Daniel 6.  We’ll not be going back through all the details of the story, so listen carefully as God speaks to us.  

It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”

So these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said: “May King Darius live forever! The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” So King Darius put the decree in writing.

10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. 11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. 12 So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human being except to you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into the lions’ den?”

The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”

13 Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” 14 When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him.

15 Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.”

16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”

17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.

19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”

21 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”

23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

24 At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

25 Then King Darius wrote to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth:

“May you prosper greatly!

26 “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.

“For he is the living God
    and he endures forever;
his kingdom will not be destroyed,
    his dominion will never end.
27 He rescues and he saves;
    he performs signs and wonders
    in the heavens and on the earth.
He has rescued Daniel
    from the power of the lions.”

28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Daniel is in his mid-to-late 80’s, which is a message in itself to senior citizens that there is no retirement age from God’s service.  He has now lived in Babylon for nearly 70 years and has served five Babylonian kings:  Nebuchadnezzar, Evil-Merodach, Neriglissar, Labashi-Marduk, Nabonidus, plus Belshazzar, co-regent to Nabonidus, whose demise Daniel proclaimed when he interpreted the handwriting on the wall.  That very night the Medo-Persian army of Cyrus conquered Babylon and the meteoric empire that Nebuchadnezzar had established just 70 years earlier came crashing to an ignominious end.  Cyrus, however, had other worlds to conquer, so for several years he entrusted Babylon into the hands of one of his generals, who apparently took the title of Darius the Mede.  

By the way, if you have studied the book of Ezra, you know that Cyrus was a very enlightened leader who allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem in his first year–probably within a few months before the episode of Daniel and the lions’ den.  The edict signed by Cyrus is most remarkable for the privileges it extended to the Jews, suggesting the possible influence of Daniel.  Our chapter may explain why Daniel didn’t himself take the opportunity to return–God had given him another task to complete, in Babylon.  

It didn’t take Darius long to learn about Daniel.  After all, he was viewed by some as responsible for Babylon’s fall since he announced the message of doom, and that caused the new regime to consider him an ally. When Darius reorganized the empire, Darius brought Daniel out of retirement and included him as one of three vice-presidents.  Kind of a Bob Gates story.  

The first point I would like to make is that …  

Daniel’s exceptional qualities should characterize all believers.   

We read that Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators of the kingdom that the king planned to elevate him to the position of prime minister.  This, in turn, stirred up intense jealousy among the other bureaucrats.  One of the bitter accompaniments of greatness is that it is dogged, hounded and followed by envy, and the more successful a man is, the more he is despised by small minds.  

In addition, Daniel was different—he was neither a Mede nor a Persian, but a Jew.  Antisemitism is not new; it has been with us since the Jewish race was founded, largely explained by the fact that the Jewish people were God’s chosen people, and therefore others have hated them.  Daniel was also old.  This may be a case of age discrimination by young bucks who wanted to make significant changes and feared Daniel would be a stick in the mud.  

Daniel’s enemies searched for grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to find any.  These politicians tried to bribe his secretaries, went through his mail, tapped his phone, examined his expense accounts with a fine-tooth comb, searched every document he had ever written, but all to no avail.  

Seriously, how many of us could bear that kind of scrutiny?  How often some carefully concealed skeleton emerges at the least opportune time to take down an otherwise qualified person.  How is that Daniel survives?  Because he exercised integrity.

Integrity at his work.  They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.  I was talking to a missionary who spent several decades in Venezuela as a missionary with the Free Church.  We talked about the collapse of the Venezuelan economy.  I asked why this happened, for 20 years ago Venezuela was almost a model democracy in Latin America.  He did not blame Chavez.  

The answer, he said, is simple–it’s corruption.  Government officials, bankers, businessmen, merchants–virtually everyone is corrupt.  You can’t get a driver’s license without paying a bribe; you can’t get a telephone without paying a bribe; you can’t get a loan from a bank without paying a bribe.  And the more often people have to pay bribes the more often they expect to receive bribes.  They rationalize that their very survival demands it.  Eventually and inevitably such a system collapses of its own weight.  And that is what happened.  Of course, the fact that a socialist dictator was waiting in the wings to take advantage didn’t help.

We are more sophisticated here in our country.  Bribes are against the law.  But what’s the real difference when salesmen give gifts to purchasing agents, when politicians accept huge amounts of money from unions or businesses for their re-election campaigns, when bosses replace competent employees with their cronies, when officials buy the silence of their accusers. 

A TV newsmagazine told the story of some government employees padding their expense accounts with tax money to the tune of $130 a day for meals, and they justified it because that’s the way the system works and everybody’s doing it.  The really tragic thing about it, friends, is that most people probably would do it if they were in the same boat and knew they could get away with it.  

And the even greater tragedy is that many professing Christians are doing it—maybe not $100 a day, but what’s the moral difference between stealing $100 or stealing $10.  Believe me, Daniel’s enemies would have burned him if they could have found even a $10 discrepancy, but they couldn’t.  He had integrity at his work.

Dr. Chappell of Covenant Seminary writes,

“In every sphere of our culture—business, government, sports, education, religion—there is an integrity crisis.  Long-accepted ethical codes of conduct have given way to the short-term pragmatics of ambition, profit, and pleasure.  There have always been individuals willing to sell out their country, company, and/or responsibilities for personal gain, but the current pervasiveness of this attitude is what’s amazing.” [i]

Not only did Daniel exhibit integrity at his work; he demonstrated …

Purity in his personal life.  A man cannot be trustworthy and faithful in his public life (in the long term, at least) if that is not who he is in his private life.  People who cut ethical corners at home, in their personal finances, and in their relationships eventually cut the same corners in their careers.  Back in the first chapter we saw that Daniel “purposed not to defile himself.”  Now nearly 70 years later we find that he is still living with the same resolve in his personal life, and that is impacting his public life.  He is the quintessential “in the culture but not of the culture” person.  

But I see a third exceptional character quality in Daniel.  In verse 5 it says that Daniel’s enemies bemoaned the fact that “we will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”  He was characterized by …

Consistency in his walk with God.  It’s amazing to me that the only place Daniel was vulnerable was in his commitment to God, and it was his consistency that made him vulnerable.  His enemies knew he would never compromise on the basics; therefore, if they could just devise a scheme to exploit this consistency, they had him.  That’s a tremendous tribute to this man of God.  Would that my enemies would have to attack the consistency of my walk with God in order to accuse me!  Sadly, I’m afraid I often volunteer more useful ammunition.

We have seen so far that Daniel exhibited three exceptional character qualities.  That they even wereexceptional is sad and is a reflection on the sad state of the culture in which he lived.  Unfortunately, these same character qualities are pretty exceptional today as well.  They shouldn’t be.  Christian men and women, we should have integrity in our work, purity in our personal lives, and consistency in our walk with God.  These qualities are not just for supermen and superwomen; they are God’s will for and expectation of each of us.

Now the second thing I notice in this story is …

Daniel’s exceptional faith

This is not the first time in the book of Daniel that the prophet’s faith has emerged, but it is interesting how it emerges here.  The enemies of Daniel plot to have him thrown into a den of hungry lions.  This was not an exhibit at the local zoo, friends; it was the gas chamber of the day.  Some countries used gallows, others crucifixion, and others fiery furnaces; the Medes and Persians used a lions’ den.  Archaeologists have dug up a few of these, and I would like to read one of their accounts.  

“The dens consist of a large square cavern under the earth, having a partition-wall in the middle of it, which is furnished with a door, which the keeper can open and close from above.  By throwing in the food they can entice the lions from one chamber into the other, and then, having shut the door, they enter the vacant space for the purpose of cleaning it.  The cavern has an opening above, its mouth being surrounded by a wall of a yard and a half high, over which one can look down into the den.” [ii]  

Condemned people were fed to the lions in one of two ways.  Sometimes they were ushered into the empty chamber through a side door.  Once that door was secured the executioner would raise the gate between the chambers, allowing the lions to help themselves.  At other times the victims were just tossed into the den through the opening in the top.  The former was considered more humane, although the difference in lifespan was relatively insignificant.  The lions, of course, were kept lean and mean.  

I share this to help us understand that this was a fearsome form of punishment that would make the strongest of men shudder with fear.  Furthermore, Daniel knew that a decree of the Medes and Persians, such as the king made out of sheer vanity, could not be changed.  This doesn’t mean that nolaw of the Medes and Persians could be changed, but rather that laws of a certain kind could not be changed.  The situation was not entirely different from the belief in papal infallibility.  Infallibility doesn’t mean the Pope can never be wrong; it’s only when he speaks ex cathedra, i.e., with divine authority, that infallibility is claimed.  Such instances are really quite rare. 

Well, the Persian kings occasionally issued decrees that were sort of ex cathedra. To change it would be to admit that the king’s divine authority was in question, so it was considered immutable.  Daniel knew that if he violated this decree, he would be sentenced to die a most excruciating death.  There was no point in hiring a lawyer.  There was no value in staging a protest.  The die was cast and there was nothing he could do about it … except what Daniel always did.

He prayed to God.  Verse 10 reads, “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem.  Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”  He didn’t go home and cry.  He didn’t complain, “why me, God, when I’ve been so faithful?”  He didn’t change his spiritual habits, postponing the prayer times for 30 days.  He just prayed—as always—regularly and openly.  

What is remarkable in Daniel’s behavior is not so much that the crisis drove him to his knees, but rather that it didn’t break his regular routine of prayer.  He didn’t hide himself away in an inner room to pray, in the hopes of remaining undiscovered.  When prayer becomes fashionable, praying in secret may be a good thing, but when prayer is forbidden, to pray in private may become an act of cowardice.  

But I imagine his prayers were a bit different that day than in previous days.  I’m sure he poured out his heart to God and shared his deepest fears and anxieties.  I suppose he may have prayed for deliverance.  I am relatively sure he prayed that God would help him face death with courage.  But he prayed.  

He thanked God.  In fact, he began by giving thanks.  How can you be thankful when you’re about to become Cat Chow for some very big cats?  Friends, there is always something to be thankful for.  Perhaps he thanked God that he was in his 80’s and not in his 20’s.  Perhaps he thanked God, that being a eunuch, he didn’t have a wife and six kids to leave widowed and orphaned.  I’m pretty sure he thanked God he didn’t have to face the lions alone.  One of the most common things believers say to me at times of bereavement or great trial is, “I don’t know how anyone could face this without the Lord.”  Daniel didn’t have to. 

In view of what followed, it must have appeared to Daniel at first that his prayer had not been answered.  Why didn’t God close the eyes of his enemies rather than wait to close the mouths of the lions?  Probably because His purpose was not to save Daniel from trials but to save Daniel through trials.  The Lord sometimes takes us into the eye of the storm to show that He is the storm’s master and that He can make our fragile vessel float safely through to the other side.  

He trusted in God.  If I may skip to the end of the story for a moment, I find in verse 23 that “when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.”  In 1 Peter, a New Testament epistle that majors on suffering, we read that “it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.”  It is commendable because that is what Jesus did and we should follow in His steps.  Though Jesus was absolutely sinless (which none of us can claim), it says that “when they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats.  Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges fairly.”  That’s the key—knowing whom to trust when you’re treated unfairly.  

There are choices, you know—you can trust in lawyers; you can trust in revenge; you can trust in bitterness and resentment; you can trust in yourself and your ability to overcome; or you can trust in God.  Daniel trusted in God; in fact, Daniel enjoyed a better night’s rest than did the king.  

He testified of God.  The story contrasts with sharp irony the experience of Daniel and Darius during the night.  Darius spends a harried and sleepless night despite his usual comforts of food and entertainment; Daniel, though enjoying nothing except the presence of God, sleeps as calmly as if he was home in his own bed.  We can almost imagine the prophet leaning back on a warm, furry lion. Friends, true peace depends not on the possessions we accumulate but from the presence and favor of God in our lives.

When the king hurried to the den at first light of dawn and called out with more wish than faith, Daniel tells the king (verse 21), “My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions.  They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight.  Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O King.”  Daniel is not averse to declaring his innocence of the charges against him, but of prior importance to him is his innocence before God.  And even before asserting that, he gives God full credit for his survival.  

Now let me ask you, “Is there anything about Daniel’s faith that is available only to super-saints, if indeed there be any?”  Is it just a small group of the spiritually elite who are able to pray to God, thank God, trust in God, and testify of God?  Of course, not.  Such faith should characterize all believers.  Was Daniel a miracle-worker?  No, he just had faith in the One who is the true miracle worker. Now the third and final aspect of Daniel’s life on which I wish to focus this morning is his

Daniel’s exceptional allegiance to duty

I’m talking obedience here—routine faithfulness to God-given responsibility.  It’s not a popular concept today.  We’re often more interested in what works than in what is right; in what feels good than in what is right; in what meets our needs than in what is right.  But God calls us to duty.  

Duty in the face of discouragement.  Why should Daniel be discouraged?  Well, try this on for starters.  He has been an exile from his homeland for 70 years.  He has lived a godly life through two empires and seven kings, yet what does he have to show for it?  One king, Nebuchadnezzar, was (perhaps) converted shortly before his death, but the nation itself remained pagan to its core.  Even among his own people—the Jewish exiles—there was little evidence of spiritual revival.  They were content with the comforts of Babylon, and few even expressed an interest in returning to Jerusalem.  As far as Daniel knew, his life had been spent in fruitlessness and his impact on history was nil.  There was plenty of reason to be discouraged, yet he was faithful to duty anyway.

Duty in the face of trial.  Then he faced an incredible trial, but this too failed to deter him from his duty.  He knew the meaning of the verse, “We ought to obey God rather than man.”  He would not compromise his allegiance to God even to save his own neck.

Now before I move on to application, I want us to see a fascinating parallel between Daniel and the Lord Jesus.  

Jesus was falsely accused by his enemies.

Jesus was brought before a ruler who sought unsuccessfully to deliver Him 

from His fate.  

Jesus was condemned to die.

Jesus’ body was placed into a sealed pit so that his situation could not be 

changed by human intervention.  

In contrast, however, 

Jesus did not merely suffer the threat of death but death itself.

There was no angel to comfort Him with the presence of God in His pit.

He was left in the blackness utterly alone and abandoned by God.

His body was left entombed for three days before the angel finally came to 

roll away the stone. 

When He came out, He didn’t come alone but as the head of a mighty 

company from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. 

We need to realize that our salvation rests not on our ability to “Dare to be a Daniel,” but solely on Christ’s perfect obedience in our place.          

And Daniel demonstrated … 

Duty in the face of temptation.  As powerful as Daniel was, I am sure he could have fled the country to avoid execution.  His enemies would probably have helped him—all they wanted is to be rid of him.  But though undoubtedly tempted to choose the easy way out, he stayed because of duty.  What would the other exiles think if their leader were to run and hide?  Duty first.

Now I would like to take the remainder of our time this morning to address four areas where I believe God would call all of us to re-examine our allegiance to duty, based upon our faith in Him.  

1.  There is a crisis today in integrity.  We have already addressed this in respect to our culture and our society, but I am more concerned about its inroads into the Christian community.  I know pastors who get sermons off the internet and then preach them as originals.  It’s easy today; unfortunately, it’s also easy to get caught.  The pastor of a sister church here in Wichita was fired for plagiarism, bringing great harm to that congregation as well as to his own reputation.  

I have been deeply saddened to observe a complete lack of integrity on the part of some Christian businessmen to the point that vendors have told me, “I will sell to him only on a COD basis, because otherwise I would probably never see my money.”  Cheating on college campuses has become an epidemic.  There was a TV news magazine article recently about guys who make $70,000 a year writing term papers and dissertations for graduate students.  The quicker they are needed the higher the price, like any other commodity on the market.

These things ought not so to be!  But they will not change unless we make a firm and thorough commitment to righteousness, honesty, and godliness in all our dealing with one another.  We need to say, “I will do what is right even if it hurts, even if I lose my job, even if I am misunderstood and misjudged.”  

2.  There is a crisis in marriage.   I’m not going to talk about marriage in society at large—we all know there’s a crisis there.  I’m going to talk about the crisis in marriage in the evangelical church. The divorce rate among us is currently nearly the same as the divorce rate in the culture as a whole.  This is astounding!  It’s almost unbelievable.  God says, “I hate divorce,” and Christians are divorcing right and left!  

What is wrong?  One of the key factors is the absence of allegiance to duty.  Every one of us says the words, “For better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish; til death us do part.”  Are those just words?  Don’t they mean anything?   

Nearly every one of us can think up a reason to divorce at some point in our marriage.  If not divorce, then murder, which God hates, too.  But what about duty to our vows, to our spouses, to our children?  My hope and prayer is that the families of this church would take the position that divorce is not an option.  Period.  (Well, not quite “period.”  Jesus says it is an option in a very specific kind of situation—when one’s partner is guilty of unrepentant adultery.  But very few of the divorces taking place in the church today fit the criteria Jesus established).

Here are some of the common excuses I have heard as a pastor to justify divorce: (and these are all from women, by the way.  The excuses men make are so common we all know them).  

“He is not meeting my needs.”  

“I haven’t had the opportunity to develop my own potential.” 

“I haven’t had the chance to pursue my own career.”  

“I got married too young and never had the chance to really enjoy life. \”      “Kids and housework have stifled me.”

“I just don’t love him anymore.”  

Frankly, a lot of wives have legitimate complaints about the way their husbands treat them.  The Bible commands men to love our wives, but a lot of men don’t know how.  The real tragedy is that a lot of them don’t care to learn either.  They won’t seek Christian counseling until it’s too late; they won’t take time out from their busy schedules to get together with other men to share their struggles and encourage one another; they won’t take a weekend to attend a life-changing marriage conference; they won’t even read some of the great books that are available.  They have failed in their God-given duty.

But when wives abandon their marriage because their needs are not being met, that is not God’s way of dealing with the problem.  In fact, it is totally contrary to God’s way of dealing with it.  God tells Christian women that they are to learn from older women how to love their husbands and children; they are to understand that their first responsibility is to their families, not their careers; they are to pray for their husbands and if they are disobedient to God’s command to love them, win them over by pure and reverent behavior.  That is God’s way.  That is the path of duty.

I get literally sick when I hear Christian people who have sat under the ministry of God’s Word for five, ten, twenty years or more say, “I believe God wants me to be happy, and I’m never going to be happy in this marriage, so divorce is my only option.”  Or, “I know God doesn’t condone what I’m doing, but I believe He’ll forgive me.  That’s his job.”  

3.  There is a crisis in parenting.  Of course, one of the huge crises in parenting is that caused by divorce.  Over half our nation’s children no longer live with both natural parents.  But even in two-parent families there is a crisis in parenting caused by working mothers of small children.  Now we have a number of single mothers in this church, and I am in no way casting aspersions upon those mothers for working—they have no choice.  There are also some two-parent families where mothers of small children need to work in order make ends meet because of the husband’s unemployment or underemployment.  And there are some mothers of small children who work out of their homes or have part-time jobs while the children are in school.  I am not addressing any of those situations.

But clearly a large percentage of working mothers of small children are working not out of necessity but choice.  They are choosing to live in a very nice neighborhood, choosing to have a second car, choosing a lot of things that they could not have without a second income.  But in order to have those things they are exchanging time with their children, and the children suffer because of it.  

Penelope Leach was a child-rearing guru of the 90’s.  I don’t agree with everything she stands for by any means, but Leach says essentially that the feminist dream that women can have it all—a career, marriage, motherhood, and happiness—is simply not true.  There isn’t enough time in the day or strength in the body to do it all.  For most women it’s motherhood or career, not both, at least while their children are young.  I was reading recently that most teenage pregnancies do not occur in the back seats of cars anymore—they happen at home, after school, before mom gets home from work.

But men can’t be let off the hook on this matter of child-rearing.  American fathers are often pathetic in their parenting skills.  Duty calls us to be involved in our children’s lives, and not just with quality time (whatever that is) but with quantity time.

4.  There is a crisis today in sexual morality.  This is one more crisis I want to mention, but I’m out of time, so I’ll have to address it at another time.

Conclusion:  What the church needs today and needs desperately is a new army of ordinary believers—not super-saints—ordinary believers who are willing to exercise exceptional character, faith, and allegiance to duty, and like Daniel, to leave the results with God.  It won’t happen just by giving mental allegiance to what I have shared here today.  It will only happen as we make firm commitments, open commitments, as Joshua did:  “If serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve ….  But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord!”

Prayer:  Father, if a prophet like Daniel had to get down on his knees when duty called, how much more must we be willing to so humble ourselves.  We do not have what it takes within ourselves to live as we should—we need Your help.  May Your Spirit take the things I have spoken this evening that are true and plant them in our hearts.  If I have been unfair to anyone or imbalanced in my words, please eliminate those things from our minds.  May there be no false guilt produced but only the kind of guilt that leads to positive change.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DATE: August 21, 1994










[i] Citation lost.

[ii] Leon Wood, Commentary on Daniel, 161.