STANDING FIRM IN THE STORM

Sermon: PastorBryon {July 22, 2018}

 


Introduction:

To End All Wars is the true story of a group of Allied prisoners in a Japanese labor camp during World War II. In one scene the prisoners discuss what they will do when the war is over. One soldier will get married, another plans to be a teacher. But when they ask the Colonel what he will do, he simply says, “Start preparing for the next war.”

As Christians we are always fighting the battle against sin in our lives, there is always a new storm on the horizon. When one storm ends another comes along to take its place. Storms take the form of health storms, relationship storms, and financial storms.

Sometimes these storms seem to beat us down so bad we feel like we can’t take anymore. Mother Teresa said, I knew God would not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that he didn’t trust me so much.

God’s people, regardless of their circumstances, have always been called to be holy. What we do in times of troubles always depends on whether we see the difficulties over God or God over our difficulties.

No matter the storm or the circumstances God’s call is for us to be holy, trust in Him and stand firm.

God expected the people of Israel to be His set-apart nation (Jer. 29:5-14). Their disobedience brought about a terrible storm but God still had an expectation for them to be holy.

Daniel and his companions are great reminders of how we can remain holy, even in times of storms, distress, pain, and suffering. Let’s see how we can learn from their example as we examine Daniel 1:1-17.

Daniel 1: 1-17

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of [a]the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god.

Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and [b]literature of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king. Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and [c]goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs. 10 And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.”

11 So Daniel said to [d]the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.” 14 So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days.

15 And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies. 16 Thus [e]the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.

17 As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

Daniel – Background 
  1. This is an account of the Jews 70 years of captivity to Babylon
  2. Written by Daniel, as firsthand accounts
  3. Daniel was a 6th century prophet
  4. King Nebuchadnezzar invades Judah 3 times beginning in 605 BC
  5. Daniel and his friends were four of the nobles who were taken into captivity during the first invasion.
Daniel – Lives out his faith in captivity

When we think of Daniel we most often think of him as one of the hero’s of our faith. The stories of this man give the image of a wise man who understood God to be the source of his strength and the only path for which to take. He is a man totally committee to God and lives it out in his life as such.

What’s interesting is when we think of Daniel we usually consider him to be a mature, older man. However, when we are introduced to Daniel in the first chapter we are witnessing the account of a 15 year old boy. Much like David and Joseph, at a very young age he was wise and had a solid understanding of who God was and who he was to God. Remember young David who faced the giant philistine and seemed to find it insulting that this army would even think of coming up against them considering who their God was. These young men had such unwavering faith that put even the religious leaders of their day to shame.

4 things we can learn from Daniel

  1. God will often allow us to experience our own natural consequences to help us grow closer to Him. (v.2)

 (And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand…)

 Proverbs 3:11-13 “My child, do not reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t get angry when he corrects you. The Lord corrects those he loves, just as parents correct the child they delight in. Happy is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gets understanding.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

  1. Do what you know is right and pleasing to God no matter what the circumstance (v.8)

( 8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.) 

 “The presence of a storm doesn’t indicate the absence of God.” T.D Jakes

2 Corinthians 5:7 – For we walk by faith, not by sight.

  1. Seek the good of those around you (v. 9)

(9 Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs.)

  1. God rewards obedience (V. 17)

(17 As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.)

 Hebrews 10:35-36 “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

Conclusion

 It’s evident by God’s work in Daniels life that the teachings of Jesus aren’t anything new but a restoration of what was always intended. This chapter provides a great example of Jesus’ teaching of an abundant life. Daniel chose to have faith in God, to trust in Him and to honor Him in his life and God blessed Daniel in abundance. Even in exile, even in slavery, even in the midst of the storm God was true to His word.

Luke 11:28 “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

~Amen

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