AGCC sun. a.m. 8/25/96
(See also: 6/14/87)
TEXT: Daniel 6:1-28
INTRO: Daniel's life was not
measured from crisis to crisis, it was established on daily faithfulness to God.
Too many people today like quick fix solutions to life's problems. Crowds appear
in Churches when the nation is facing a tough crisis, such happened during the
Gulf War a several years back. Attendance grows when a Church advertises a
"miracle night"...or services on things like prophecy. For some Christians you
can almost gauge accurately when they are going through a crisis because they
start attending Church faithfully, until the crisis has passed of
The truth of the matter is however, that Faith only grows as strong as our
faithfulness is during routine times in our lives.
ILLUS: Joseph Stowell some time back talked to a man who consults
with some of the largest U.S. Companies about their quality control. Because
ministry is a form of human quality control, he thought he ask this man for some
insights. The expert said this, "In quality control, we are
not concerned about the product."....Stowell was so surprised to hear this!
The expert qualified the reason for that statement however by adding, "we are
concerned about the process, if the_process is right, the product
is guaranteed!" How relevant this is to Christianity! Faith is not the
product of a moment, it is the product of a process of faithfulness in our
Faith works this way...it is not a product that we suddenly make happen as
much as it is the fruit of the process of faithfulness. Daniel's faith was
strong because his faithfulness had been strong throughout his long
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us
that Faith and faithfulness go together, they are two sides to the same
I. GODLY CHARACTER 6:1-10
A. Traits 6:1-5,10
1. A new king was ruling with a new kingdom...but an old servant was still serving in the court...a man named Daniel who may have been in his 80's or even 90's!
a. There is no retirement for being a servant in God's eyes!
b. We are never too old to be used by God!
2. The new king was looking for highly trustworthy individuals to help run the new administration.
a. political parties didn't matter...it was trustworthiness that the king was looking for.
b. He found it in a man named Daniel!
3. Daniel is said to have "exceptional qualities!" 6:3
4. There was no "coasting" for Daniel...though old, he still is responsible and willing to work, still faithful to God and country.
5. As God's servants we cannot afford to just coast through our life
without real responsibilities...the results can be tragic!
ILLUS: A newly retired couple cashed in their stocks and bonds to
purchase one of the finest motor homes on the market. This is a true
story....one of the features on this new motor home was "cruise control". As
they were traveling up the West Coast, the husband became tired and asked his
wife to drive while he went in the back to take a nap. As she was driving she
put the camper on cruise control and it worked perfectly. After an hour of
straight highway driving she got up to go to the bathroom. She thought cruise
control was the same as automatic pilot, this is what she told the Highway
Patrol after the accident! The motor home was totaled, although neither the man
nor his wife were seriously hurt. How many Christians have done this with their
faith after getting saved?
6. Daniel was about to be promoted over the entire kingdom based on a faithful record for many decades!
a. "no corruption in him" 6:4
b. "he was trustworthy" 6:4
c. "not negligent" 6:4
d. Honorable before God and before man!...serving an earthly king and a heavenly one!
7. Notice in verse 10 that Daniel's prayer life was consistent, and not just to make petitions...notice that in his prayers here he "gives thanks to God" even though he knew about the plot by this time!
a. note too that he had been doing this before a crisis came!
b. this was his normal way to live spiritually! 6:10
B. Tension! 6:6-9
1. There were others who wanted Daniel's glory, but not his faithfulness to get there!
a. These men liked quick glory...but did not want to pay the same price of consistent daily living to earn it!
b. This is why Paul taught the Church to pick out "reliable" and "tested" men for places of leadership...
c. These "shortcuts" to glory are not good...for those who get them, or those who must live under them!
2. Note too how evil finds power...they come as "a group" before the king!
a. Finding others like themselves they can avoid looking at their own faults and unite together to go after Daniel!
b. This formula of working as "a group" is found throughout this chapter and this story... (see 6:6,11,13,15,24)
3. The only way they could trap Daniel was to do something to make Daniel's relationship to God a crime!
a. The plans would not have worked if Daniel was not faithful!!!
b. they had to count on Daniel's faithfulness to trap him!
c. Would we have been trapped!?
4. They come up with a plan to ensured the king's cooperation, they flatter the new king with a plan that will also help all those in the kingdom honor the new king.
a. The plan was to have a 30 day worship of the new king!
b. this flattered the king, without overly concerning him ...it only made him an object of worship for 30 days...certainly it can't be too bad!
c. since all laws made could not be changed, thus they were often weighed carefully, having a 30 days limit prevented the king from thinking too much about it, after all, it wouldn't last forever...he therefore just quickly o.k.'s the plan.
5. Daniel understood immediately that the only solution to the present
danger was on his knees, not some government agency!
ILLUS: A group of amateur climbers were scaling part of the
Matterhorn mountain near Zermatt, Switzerland. As they came to a narrow,
hazardous passage, about to make a turn, a gust of wind swept down on them. The
experienced guide, knowing the danger this posed for the group, quickly shouted,
"Get down on your knees!..you are safe only on your knees!" How
true this is for us when we find ourselves with the winds of adversity ready to
blow us off a narrow edge...we are safe only on our knees in prayer!
6. Daniel didn't have to change a thing spiritually when confronted with this new crisis in his life!
a. it is remarkable that his prayers were those of "Thanksgiving to God" 6:10!
b. Faithfulness in the past carried him confidently into the present, and enabled him to be calm for the future!
7. The tension was not in Daniel...it was in the evil men who had laid this trap!
8. Godly traits are not formed in the crisis, they are formed in consistency!
II. GREAT CHALLENGE! 6:11-20
A. Trap! 6:11-15
1. We find these men coming again as a "group". 6:11
a. It is easier to avoid our own wrong when we can find others who are doing the same wrong to fellowship with!
b. They were confident...and ready to seal the deal that would end Daniel's career and life!
2. Not even a king of Medo-Persia could altar or change a law once it was put into effect...this helped insure that spurious laws weren't made on the fly!
3. They remind the king of this fact of course...in order to seal the deed for Daniel's demise!
a. they must have known that the king favored Daniel since he had planned to put Daniel over all the other administrators!
b. They were attempting to run the country, holding Daniel, God, and the king hostage to their plans!
c. God however is not hostage to anyone!!!
4. The king is "greatly distressed" to find himself in this trap....
a. he now knows who he can really trust and who he can't!
b. Notice that the king works all day long to try and find a legal way out of killing Daniel!
c. Medo-Persian law required that the sentence be carried out in the same day a man was found guilty...thus the king waited until the last second before forcibly having to carry out the sentence...he tried everything to save Daniel!...the only one who can truly save however is God!
5. No human effort would work here...not even the king's power was
adequate, only God's!
B. Troubled! 6:16-20
1. Note that the scene shifts away from Daniel to the king!
a. who is most distressed over the evil...not the godly man Daniel, his reactions are not even shared here...no doubt because he was confident in God's presence and help...he has peace!
b. The king however is another story! This king with no faith cannot sleep!
2. In a real crisis, men and women of consistent faithfulness can have God's peace!
3. The king skips the 3 areas of comfort afforded him due to his anguish!
a. does not eat
b. no entertainment
c. no sleep!
4. The king is the most distressed, not Daniel!
a. the world has little to fall back on in a crisis without faith in God!
b. Daniel is well aware that he is in God's hands, not these evil men or the king of Medo-Persia!
c. We would do well to remember this in moments of crisis too!
5. The king could do nothing more until the legal time expired for punishment, the next morning!
a. Note that the king even had to seal the den with a stone and then seal that with wax imprinted with his signet ring and those of the nobles to prove that no interference had taken place! There could be no questions if Daniel's was somehow delivered as to how it happened! 6:17
b. note that the king immediately at sun up goes down to free Daniel should he somehow still be alive!
c. There must have been some small glimmer of hope and faith in his heart to race down to find out if Daniel might yet be alive!
6. The king's statement upon arriving is very interesting, he asks, "Daniel, servant of the LIVING GOD, has you God, whom you SERVE CONTINUALLY, been able to rescue you from the lions?" 6:20
a. The king's even glimmer of hope is based on his knowledge of Daniel's faithful consistent life in serving God!
b. Oh that the world would witness this in our lives today too!
c. Real miracles are not easily dismissed by the world when they happen to those who have a record of faithful service...the world then knows it is not some hyped up emotional thing at some moment of crisis.
d. Daniel's faithful record actually aided the credibility of the supernatural acts of God being accepted by the world!
7. A TROUBLED MONARCH was about to find a TRIUMPHANT MAN!
III. GOD'S COVERING! 6:21-28
A. Triumph! 6:21-24
1. Daniel answers from the lion's den!...he is very much alive!
a. God acted to save His faithful servant...what an earthly king could not do, the heavenly king had no problem doing!
b. This is still true today!
2. Daniel affirms that God delivered him, in response to his faithfulness to both the earthly king and to God as ultimate king 6:21
a. God's justice overrides the injustice of this world
b. Daniel's faithfulness now bears rich fruit!
ILLUS: One stormy night many years ago an elderly couple entered
the lobby of a small hotel and asked for a room. The clerk explained that
because there were 3 conventions in town, the hotel was filled. However, true to
his nature which cared a great deal about people, he said, "I
can't send a nice couple like you out in the rain at 1 O'clock in the
morning, would you be willing to sleep in my room?" The couple
hesitated, but the clerk insisted that it would be fine with him. The next
morning when the man came to pay his bill he said to the clerk, "you're
the kind of manager who should be the boss of the best hotel in the United
States. Maybe someday I'll build one for you!" The clerk smiled,
amused by the old man's comments. A few years passed, then one day the clerk
received a letter from the elderly man, recalling that stormy night, and asking
him to come to New York for a visit. A round-trip ticket was enclosed. When the
clerk arrived, his host took him to the corner of 5th Avenue and 34th Street,
where stood a magnificent new building. "That," explained the man, "is
the hotel I have just built for you to manage." The clerk
responded with, "You must be joking?" The elderly man however said, "I
most assuredly am not!" The clerk stammered, "Who, who are you?"
The elderly gentleman answered, "My name is William Waldor Astor."
The new building was the original Waldorf-Astoria....and the young clerk who
became the first manager was George C. Boldt. It was his consistent caring
nature that had been created by day to day service that had won him this
3. The king was overjoyed!!
a. Like his 3 Hebrew friends many years earlier that had been thrown into the fire and had no burns or the smell of smoke on them, Daniel has no marks either!
b. Daniel is immediately set free!
4. The "group" is together again...this time thrown all together to the lions!!
a. even their family members suffer the same consequences of their sins
b. How tragic that sin took such a toll!
c. The lions were hungry...if there was any question as to whether they were hungry when Daniel was in the den, it was answered when these men and their family members are thrown in and before they even hit the bottom the lions tore them to pieces!
d. This also helps establish the miracle of Daniel's deliverance! It was no coincidence or luck!
5. Daniel's faith triumphs...a faith that was built on prior
B. Tribute! 6:25-28
1. It is the earthly king that sends a strong statement throughout the kingdom about the "living God"!
a. Daniel's lifelong faithfulness finds its apex here in bringing God a proper tribute to a secular world!
b. This is the fruit of a faithful life here on earth!
2. Even Darius as a Gentile king recognizes that God is a God who saves his faithful servants...and does the miraculous!
a. God still honors His faithful servants today...
b. and He still does the miraculous!
3. God can still shut the "lion's" mouth...Satan is like a roaring lion going about seeking to destroy!
a. We bring honor to God when we faithfully serve God
b. We can experience peace even in crisis when we faithfully serve God
c. We open up the hearts of those in this world toward God when we faithfully serve the Lord.
d. We create the right atmosphere for God to do the miraculous without ridicule and doubt by the world when we serve faithfully!
e. We destroy the power of the enemy when we serve faithfully.
f. We encourage other believers to walk faithfully when we do too.
4. Daniel served several governments until around his 100 birthday, a man of faithful consistent character that honored God...so can we!
5. This kind of testimony is created each day of our life...how you
CONCLUSION: Daniel's faith never failed him, Why? He had learned that faith works best when it is based on years of faithfulness and not just during a crisis. Faith is not an "emergency tool", it is an "everlasting trust"! Daniel's victories came about through years of faithful living. A faith combined with faithfulness will not fail!