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If you brought a Bible this morning, I want to encourage you to open up to the book of Daniel. We’re going to be exploring just kind of a survey of Daniel this morning as a church family. We’re going through a series on the Old Testament, and the beauty of the Old Testament is we get to see God, um, revealing himself and his promise of redemption for mankind. Um, before Jesus arrives, God’s calling his shot for us. And we focus on three ministries that Jesus is fulfilling in the Old Testament prophet, priest, and king. Jesus fulfills all of those ministries for us. He is our priest in Hebrews and he is our prophet in Hebrews. And revelation likes to emphasize he is also our returning King. And so everything that we’re about here at Alpine Bible Church rests completely on Jesus. And so we say this men will disappoint you. If you put your faith in men. Men will lead you astray. Men will disappoint you if you put your faith in Jesus. Jesus will set you free. Jesus promises that his joy may be in us, and our joy may be made complete through that relationship with him. It’s it’s not about religion, but about relationship with Christ. God has created you for a relationship in him. God, when he created you, the Bible tells us, breathes his spirit into you, that that you would reflect his image and goodness in this world. God created us for so much more than what we tend to live life for in this world.

We have the opportunity in life to live for his glory. But we tend to elevate ourselves to to the position of God. And we seek after idols rather than the one who created us for his goodness. And in the midst of that idolatry and sin that we we isolate ourselves from with God, God continues to pursue us and offer us his grace, and to set us free through what Christ has done on our behalf by becoming a sacrifice for us on the cross. We see the the tendency of mankind repeated throughout the Old Testament. Beginning in creation, Adam and Eve are created right after creation. Adam and Eve have this fall, and then God offers salvation to them. In Genesis chapter three, it’s the first proclamation of the gospel that the Messiah would come to set us free. And he specifically says in that passage that Satan will bruise his heel, but he will crush the head of Satan. And then he creates for Adam and Eve clothing, which in the Hebrew translates as priestly garments. God rips off the fig leaves of Adam and Eve, these garments of a soldier, and he puts on the garments of a priest the sacrifice that God made in the garden. The story goes on throughout the Bible. That man continues to sin, that Cain slew Abel. And. And God offers redemption through Seth, and that man turns from God, and God floods the the world.

And God then restores the world and man. Man pursues God again, but then man flees from God. And so man builds the Tower of Babel, and God creates the languages and disperses the people. And God calls the people back to him. And God creates Abraham one one man who would create a nation through which we could identify where the Messiah would come to set us free, that our joy may be made in him and may be made complete. Bible tells us that from Abraham to Moses, the children of Israel end up in in Egypt and in bondage, and Moses sets them free. He brings them out of Egypt through the ten plagues into the land, uh, or outside of the land of Israel. And Joshua takes over when Moses passes away and continues the march from Egypt into Israel. And he leads the nation of Israel in into the land of Canaan, their homeland that God had promised. And through their time in that land, they they grow into a mighty nation under under Saul and David and King Solomon. And when we get to the king, King Solomon, the nation of Israel then goes through a civil war and splits and and the northern tribes of Israel, sometimes referred to as Ephraim in the Bible. Ten of those tribes follow the north, and two tribes, which is often called Judah, go towards the south.

There is a civil war and and a divide that happens within the nation. The northern kingdoms never had a godly king after Solomon lead them once, they divided their pursuit. After God quickly comes to an end and in 722 BC, God leads them into captivity through the Assyrians. So the promise to the nation of Israel is that God would bring the Messiah through them, and he would bless them as they pursued him. But if they were unfaithful to him, that they would also be cursed through God. And the northern tribes of Israel and their disobedience. God allowed them to to go into captivity. God had the tendency to allow hardship to fall upon them, to remind them of their need for the Lord in their lives, and in those hardships, they would turn back to him. But in the hardness of the northern tribes within their hearts, they they continue to stray from God, and in 722 BC they are led into captivity. The southern tribes of Israel of Judah had some godly kings throughout their time period. By about 606 BC, there, there comes the Babylonian nation into Israel. They were the world power at the time. And and they begin to take the nation of Israel captive from 606 BC to to 586 BC. There were three waves of Babylonian power that came through the land of Israel, and they began to pull out the people of Israel and taking them into captivity.

The way that the story goes is when the Babylonians first came into the land, the people that they first took out of the land into captivity were people of prominence, people of influence, people of power, people of wealth. The lower and middle class were left in the land. Later, the Babylonians came back and then decimated all of the southern tribes of of Judah and brought them into captivity. And so when you read about these accounts within Scripture, you will find various prophets. Speak to what’s taking place here, particularly the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah is one who writes about the seeds that takes place against the southern tribes of Judah. His book of Lamentations. He’s he’s referred to as the weeping prophet because his ministry was one of of destruction and despair. And he writes the Book of Lamentations, which is the book of weeping, recording for us the the devastation happening in Judah because of the persecution that’s coming their way. Through Jeremiah. God gives them a promise. So we have this tendency when things aren’t going this way to our way, to have a a doom and gloom attitude. We look at the way that God identifies himself and the way that the world walks. Contrary to who the Lord is, we. We acknowledge that that things may look bad, but when it comes to Christ, there was always hope and restoration through his power and mercy and grace being made known.

God always gives us reason to hope in him. You could think maybe if if you lived during that time period in a in a nation came in and conquered your land and, and, and a third of your people are just massacred and the rest are just taken in into captivity. What you might think about that nation. God writes to the people of Israel through Jeremiah and and he records this for them in Jeremiah 29 and verse 4 to 7, the responsibility that God sees for them as they’re being led into captivity. He says this thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel. To all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, build houses and live in them, and plant gardens, and eat their produce, take wives, and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands that they may bear. Sons and daughters, and multiply there, and do not decrease. Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf. For in its welfare you will have welfare. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel. Do not let your prophets who are in your midst, and your diviners deceive you, for they prophesy falsely to you in my name I have not sent them, declares the Lord.

For thus saith the Lord, when 70 years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill my good word to you to bring you back to this place. For I know that the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans of welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope. Israel. I’m leading you into a new land. A place that looks foreign for you. And what I desire for you to carry is a hope for that place. Wherever God guides you in this world, God desires for you to be an influence in the culture around you for the sake of Christ and what he has called you to represent him in this world. You can think of all the ways that God leads us and all the frustrations that we go in world, and all the excuses that we could give as to why we shouldn’t stand for him in particular. Reasons. Because. Because people may rub us the wrong way. And if ever there was a group of people that had an excuse not to love someone else, it was the nation of Israel being led into captivity by the Babylonians. God. We don’t. We don’t want to love them. God. We’re just looking forward to an opportunity of just getting out of that place. I mean, look at their wickedness. Aren’t we so much better? I mean, we’re your chosen people, right? And God uses Jeremiah to say to the nation of Israel, wherever I guide, I desire to provide, have an influence on the culture around you.

Just because a culture seems godless doesn’t mean God’s people walk hopeless. God uses us to make the impact in the world. I love the way that the Genesis expresses our creation. I mean, you read Psalm eight, Psalm 19 describing the creation of the world, and it says that all of creation is evidence of the glory of God. But most specifically when he made you and he made me, he breathed his spirit within us, sang the identification of where God’s glory should be made most known as through the identity of the one who was sculpted in his image. We become his mouthpiece of proclamation. That while the world points to his glory, we’re we’re the very verbal expression and and the lifestyle of living that says, yes, indeed, this was made by God, and we are intended to have that relationship with him and enjoy him for eternity. And so, Jeremiah, when you go into this land, understand what I’m calling you as a nation of Israel to is to represent me to these people. We said in recent weeks, there are three tendencies that we can have as individuals when we represent God in this world. You see that example played out beautifully in the New Testament when you read about the Pharisees.

They were religious legalists. They tend to be isolationist and separatist, meaning when they when they went into a culture to influence that, their idea of influence was to hide themselves behind a fortress and not associate with the pagan world. You see the way that they treat Samaritans within Scripture, the people that are believed to be half Jews, they they look down upon them. So much so that when they would travel, if they needed to go north through Samaria, they would cut around the land. The other alternative is to be like the Sadducees. The Sadducees invited Roman influence into their world, and they were looked at as as liberals, meaning they began really to define what was right and wrong, rather than listening to God for the sake of fitting into the culture. So much so that they they forsook truth. And then there are the disciples. A desire to be in the world, but not of the world. The two examples of text that we give for that passage of Scripture comes in Jude chapter one and verse three, in first Corinthians 922. We think about walking in this world, a disciple for Christ. There’s always this tension of how to do that appropriately for him. But in Jude one three it says this I felt compelled to write and urge you contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. Sometimes when the Bible talks about the word of faith, we’ve got to ask the question what exactly it means by that word.

Sometimes it means the faith of trust that we’re putting into something like trust and believe in have faith in Christ. Other times it’s talking about the faith, the the doctrinal truth that represents what Christian Christianity is about, the the very pillars that we stand upon. Meaning Jude one three tells us when we’re walking in culture, the tendency is for culture to try to redefine what we are in God, but we stand on the faith in in him. We stand for truth. We don’t have the right to change truth. God has already determined truth, and truth is absolute. It’s our responsibility to pursue it and to proclaim it and to live it, earnestly contend for the faith. But the way that we do that we refer to as contextualization, right? I know that I need to live for the truth, but but how do I do that in my culture, the place where I live? The contextualization of God’s Word is important for us. Not that we isolate ourselves like Pharisees, or we live liberally like the Sadducees, but we represent God in our culture with integrity. And so in First Corinthians 922 it says this by Paul, I became all things to all people, so that by all means possible I might save some. It’s important for me to understand how to relate the truth of God’s Word to other people.

And so in order to best express that, I became all things and understanding that they they may clearly understand the truth of what God stands for. We contextualize truth. So people can best understand it. And embrace it. Can I tell you? One of the primary avenues through which we contextualize truth is through the thought of love. And the way that God has communicated His Word to us is full of grace and love. From first John 419. We love him because he first loved us. He contextualized his truth by becoming flesh. And demonstrating to us what it means to live in relationship to the father. He became flesh. We love him because he first loved us. In John 1335 it tells us. But by this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another. If you contextualize this truth that I’m expressing, Ephesians 415 tells us, speak the truth in love, meaning stand for the faith and reach the culture that you’re in. Express their need for Christ. Jeremiah writes about his experience during this captivity and conquering of the nation of Israel through through Babylon, telling the people of Israel to have an influence on the culture in which God is drawing you into, into the Babylonian nation. And Daniel, as we look at him this morning, was was one individual that was brought out of the southern tribes of Judah in the first wave of captivity that Babylon brought onto the nation of Israel.

Daniel was brought into the the land of Babylon at a young age. He came in to Babylon as a teenager, and he stays in Babylon into his 90s. Daniel grows up in his faith in the Book of Daniel. Daniel’s life is a wonderful expression to us of what it means to live for God in the midst of a pagan culture. The theme of Daniel reminds us that in a hopeless culture, there is always hope in God and in the vulnerability of the nation of Israel through their weakness. God’s glory can be best seen. Book of Daniel is a powerful prophetic book dealing with many of the things contained in this book are found in the Book of Revelation. The first six chapters of this book are historically based, describing what life was like for Daniel, which is where we’ll put our emphasis this morning. The last six chapters deals with prophetic fulfillment of the Messiah for us today. You can see the contents of it in revelation. Daniel was a young boy as ripped from his home, and he grows up as as an older man. We won’t call him an old man. Right? That’s just subject to whatever age you want to be old at. But Daniel grows up in the faith, and he demonstrates what it means to stand for God in a broken culture. How to be a leader for him.

The Babylonian nation is much like America today. It is a hodgepodge melting pot of different people, groups that have come together with different ideas and beliefs about what life should be about. And Daniel was called in this culture to stand for the Lord. And so the question just ask is to look at this text, knowing that God has called us to contend and to become all things. How do we influence an ungodly culture in a godly way? Bible tells us in Daniel chapter one this is what happened in Daniel’s life. It says in verse four, young men, this is what Babylon was seeking after they were after young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well-informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the King’s palace. He was he was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king talked with with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they entered the king’s service, by the way, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. If you never you ever heard those names before in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. From the beginning you see God’s hand upon Daniel. But when Daniel is brought into the culture, the first thing that Daniel is able to do is to learn about the particular people that God has called him to reach.

They take from the nation of Israel, the people that score 120 or what he said, no, no, 30 or above on their act. Right. All all the smarty pants is that you chase after in school. The ones that get to stand on stage and deliver those valedictorian speeches. The ones of prominence and wealth. And Daniels brought into this culture as a person of influence. And it tells us that he begins to learn about the people that God has called him to represent the Lord to. And I would say on the the backdrop of this thought, we as individuals who pursue Christ don’t get involved in culture primarily because we think culture is cool. We involve ourselves in culture. Because God has called us to care for the people that we desire to reach within that culture. It’s never about the culture. It’s always about the people. And if your heart is to reach them, it works in your favor to understand them. That you can learn how to best communicate God’s truth to them. Daniel learning about the culture still walked with integrity. It tells us in verse eight that his pursuit was holiness and intimacy with God. And it says, But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine. And he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.

So Daniel wasn’t about to compromise. I, and reading this text found multiple ways to justify Daniel’s position. You’ve just been drugged out of your homeland to a people that you shouldn’t desire to love and reach. And yet you are. And you’re brought into this land, and they’re they’re forcing you to eat things that you shouldn’t have to eat according to your God. But you have every excuse in the world to do something. You’re not providing the food by coming before the king and mentioning that you don’t want to eat the food that he’s provided, and you’re putting your neck on the line, right? But Daniel had already determined in his life that he wanted to stand for integrity, the way that Daniel was able to influence this godly, ungodly culture and a godly way is that Daniel, before all things, when he thought about reaching these people, he was determined to seek intimacy with God and to honor him with his life. Nevertheless, not my will, God, but your will be done. And Lord, as I’m learning about these people as you’ve told us to in Jeremiah 29, to have an influence upon them. God, I want you to know that I’m still standing with integrity for you. If you want to reach people for the Lord. It’s good to have an understanding of their values, though you may not hold to their values so that an understanding the idea of who people are and the culture in which they live, you can best reach them for the Lord.

Do you know what that is? That just expression. Its missionary training. I spent this week in the team from Idaho was helping me serve. We served a team of missionary church planters in the state of Utah. Right? Utah has its own culture. To be effective. It’s good to know the culture. You don’t have to necessarily hold the values of the culture, but if you desire to reach it, to express truth to it. To go for the people. What God desires is the heart of people. If you serve in any foreign land, the thing that they tell you is you desire to go into that foreign land and serve the Lord. They’ll tell you, let’s learn about the culture before you get there, right? It’s probably good to know their know. Know how to eat what they eat and speak the way they speak and do what they do right. I had a friend that went to a country that, um, uh, he, he could lose his life for. But before he got there, his, his training onto that field was that he, he was to eat the food for a year before they got there. So that when he got to that country, he smelled like the people. And that. Interesting because they found that the remark of the peoples when he, when he got there is that the tendency of Americans was that we smelled like beef and baby powder.

And sort of fit in the culture. He decided to smell different than that. But being relevant to the people you’re around. The second thought is this. Daniel goes on to share another story as he’s seeing his influence in the culture. But this time, the story that he shares isn’t even specifically about him. It’s about his his three friends that we just talked about. His his three friends, uh, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are are walking the same way with integrity before God. And Nebuchadnezzar is the king of Babylon. Under this time, and during the reign of of Nebuchadnezzar, he creates this giant image and he tells the people of Babylon, I am God, and you need to bow before this image. And Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego know on the inside that there is only one God to whom we bow to, and there’s only one God who exists. All others are idols, and so we will not bow to this God. And so they refuse to bow. And these three men are brought before the king. And the king begins to express his frustration. And he says this. Now when you hear the sound of all the kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace.

Then what? God will be able to rescue you from my hand. This is what they say. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to him, King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. We’re thrown into the blazing furnace. The God we serve is able to deliver us from it. And if he will deliver us from your Majesty’s hand. But even even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. The Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual, and commanded some of the strongest soldiers. Throw them into the blazing furnace. So these men were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace, and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, were there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire? And they replied, certainly, Your Majesty. And he said, look, I see four men walking around in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods. Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here! So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire.

And they saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies. Nor was a hair on their head singed. The rope there. Their robes were not scorched and there was no smell of fire on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar said, praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants. And they trusted in him and defied the king’s command, and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any God except their own God. Therefore, I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be cut into pieces in their houses, be turned into piles of rubble, for no other God can save in this way. See the thought of Shadrach and Meshach and Abednego was this. You may take my life now. But there is redemption to come in the Lord. You may physically do things that harm us, but ultimately our peace rests with God. To endure hardships in this life. We must have a hope and a God who will sustain us. Knowing that we live in a fallen, sinful world. Had the tendency to think that all of us will walk through the fire at some point. The question is, who do you want on your side? A king.

Desires to make you live in fear. Where God in your humility, who desires to lift you up. I heard someone share on this passage once and they said, do you know much of our faith? Is preparing us for the final moments of life. For many of us, there will come a time. What our lives will be coming to an end. And you may be in a hospital room, left to yourself, all alone with your thoughts. And in those moments. Where we might wonder. What joy it is to rest in the hope of one who will redeem us. Regardless of what happens to me today, my hope rests and the one who can always supply for my every need. Whether it be in this world or what is to come. God is able. To make an influence in a culture. Not only do you desire or should you desire intimacy with God and honoring him, but to know that there is a God who will walk through the fire with you. You know, the joy of these three men and Daniel in these moments is that they begin to discover the genuineness of their faith. That was strange. Can I tell you this morning that it’s not until our faith really costs us something, that we have the understanding that our faith is truly genuine in our relationship to God. Has your faith ever cost you something? Have you ever made a risk for the Lord? I mean, have you ever given sacrificially to him or trusted in him in a moment when things seem difficult? Does does your faith cost you? It’s the evidence of the genuineness.

James opens up his book in James chapter one and verse two and three, and he says this consider it all joy, my brethren, when you endure various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. It’s real. Jesus is real to you. The promises and the hope that God gives is real to you to influence the culture. Seek God with intimacy and understand that that God will walk with you through the fire and give you a hope far greater than anything this world can promise. Third is this. Daniel took intentional risks to honor God. As Daniel rose to prominence in the land of Babylon. The Bible tells us that the Medo Persians then came in to conquer that land, and Daniel stayed as a as a man of prominence, and King Cyrus and Darius ruled the medo Persians during that time, and they began to issue laws again in in Daniel chapter six, after they see such a glorious representation of God in Daniel chapter three and Daniel six, Daniel has to represent God to that culture one more time, because they begin to make laws of outlawing the worship of Daniel’s God. And and these men that are jealous of Daniel say, how are we going to get Daniel out of his position? We need to bring him down so that we can elevate ourselves.

And they thought to themselves, you know what we got? Let’s let’s outlaw prayer. No one can pray to anyone but the king. And Daniel took intentional risks to honor God in those moments. Tells us in Daniel chapter six and verse three. Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators in 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 ground for charges against Daniel. They could find no corruption in him. 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, the royal administrators, the perfect perfect satraps, the advisers, the governors, and 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 30 days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions den. So King Darius put the decree in writing. Now. When Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened towards Jerusalem. Three times a day. He got down on his knees and he prayed. Giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.

Daniel wasn’t reckless in pursuing hardships. What he was was faithful. Can I tell you when you think about influencing people and culture for the sake of Christ? Faithfulness in adversity is one of the primary ways culture has best influence for the Lord. And the darkness of the night. The glory of his light is made known. When it costs you something. The beauty and the love of Jesus shines through. We’re not simply taking stands to prove how tough we are or how big of jerks we can be. Some Christians are great at that. But just a point to the glory of the one who is good. Daniel took intentional risks before the Lord, and his story expresses to us this beautiful relationship with God. And Daniel in these moments prays as he takes a stand before God. And based on this verse ten, we learn that Daniel was accustomed to thinking God and praising God in his life. His heart was always in the right place as he represented God to the Babylonians. The Bible tells us in these moments as he goes to his room and he begins to pray in verse 11 that these men find Daniel praying, asking God for help. What Daniel was seeking after in these moments was help. He understood that if he desired to have any impact in the culture, it wasn’t coming through his own power ever to begin with. Putting God’s. There is prayer of help.

Daniel identifies for this. Living in an ungodly culture isn’t easy, even for a godly person. There is prayer for help. Daniel identifies that God supplies through his prayer for help. Daniel identifies that he wants intimacy with a God as a fire walking God in the midst of this trial. Daniel shows his concern for the people in his own land. Daniel desires for the Lord to be made known. And Daniel understands that it’s the Lord who’s going to move within the hearts to change the people. Daniel was ready for God to answer according to his glory. So Daniel goes to his room and asks for help. This passage in the Bible. If I’m just being fleshly, would I would acknowledge and tell you makes me angry. At first. And the reason why is this when, when, when I go before God in prayer in the midst of my struggle, this is what I think God should do in his answer in my struggle, right? Daniel goes before the Lord and he asks for he asks for help. And so then the next verse should tell us. Then Daniel got help and everything was better. He changed the law and Daniel could pray, right? And looking at this, a man who’s grown up in the Lord, who’s been faithful to God at all expense. In these moments he prays to God for help. And what’s God’s answer? The lion’s den. I don’t know about you, but.

But if someone catches me praying, I’m asking God for help. And then I’m finding that it’s taking me to the lion’s den. My. My tendency would be to say, you know what? God? God, I guess didn’t hear that. I didn’t pray right or something. Obviously this is not his will, right? I mean, how can a lion’s den factor into what God desires for me? Matter of fact, I may even get angry. And just being honest with myself and with you. You probably would too, right? God. Why is that like that? God, why are you answering that prayer that way? Did you not hear me? I’m the good one. I’m the faithful one. You’re putting me. Where? It’s not here. And I prayed for, like 20 minutes. Could you just give me one answer? Think of those lines. I mean, if you grow up. In church at all. You’ve heard the story, right? Daniel goes into the lion’s den. God shuts the mouth of the lions. Turns out God knows far better what would bring him glory than we as people often think that we might perceive. See my thought to Daniel would be in that moment. God, you answered Daniel’s prayer because the people saw you praying and you get the glory because the laws changed. God says, no way. I want to take this moment, and I want it to get even darker, because when my hand steps in to answer this prayer, there is no excuse among the people as to who who provided in these moments that I may get the glory.

Well, that changes the way I think about prayer. I mean, if I said this morning, God, I want to represent you in this culture and God, of course I want to stand for you. I’m going to be just like what you said in Jeremiah. But not the lion’s den. Now you make it easy for me. I’ll do it with no sacrifice. I’ll give you Sunday. All right. You do what you need and give me the rest of the week. Daniels taking this story and communicating to us in the midst of darkness. You don’t understand how great God’s glory can be displayed in those moments. Just trust in him and be faithful to him and look to him because he is a fire walking God in those moments. God’s answer to prayer. It was always about his glory. God’s desire for us. And the midst of what we’re going through regardless on the mountaintop or valley, is that his glory would be made known. And you, being created in his image, having His Spirit through the promise of Christ, could be the proclamation of the truth and beauty of who Christ is. Got in the darkest of moments. Let your glory shine through that your hope would be made known. And I love what Daniel does. He describes here what the King says.

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 and his dominion will never end. 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. And how humbling this passage comes for us. Who proclaim that we care about the place that God calls us. Because it puts us in a position to be honest and say, and even in the moments of darkness, are you willing to be faithful that my glory would be made known? How far? How far will you go? You think of the example of Christ? To the ends of the earth. For the hope set before Jesus. Hebrews tells us he endured the cross. And for the hope set before this land, how far will you go to influence the culture? If you want a faith. That reflects, like Daniel in the lion’s den. I got to be truthful and say, in studying all this, man, I was up and down emotionally this week, man. But I get to the end of this and I see what God did and his glory made known in this prayer, and Daniel coming through on top, proclaiming God. I’m just saying to myself, man, I want to be like Daniel.

I want to stand up to the lions. Man, I want his glory made known. How? How does that happen? Can I tell you the secret? It happens in Daniel chapter one and verse eight. The reason Daniel was faithful in the lion’s den is because Daniel had determined long ago that he would be faithful to God, even in the small things. The king brings food. It’s against his faith. He denies it out of integrity for God and intimacy with him. To stand against the lions in a culture, to contend for the faith and become all things for all people. That story starts in the beginning of your relationship with Christ. Not not when you get to the lion. To be a Daniel. God desires for us to influence our culture. To be in it, but not of it. To not look at the hurdles of life as obstacles that need remove, but as an opportunity for God’s glory to be made known. This morning in in honor of Daniel, we’ve got something that we’re going to give you guys on your way out. This is a bracelet. Um. It’s in honor of the persecuted church. It’s called it, says one with him on the front. And the point is this all over the world, there are people whose faith has been proven in the Lord. Meaning they’re they’re giving the greatest sacrifice for Christ. As a matter of fact, on your way out, if you want to pick up a bracelet, there’s also an information sheet at the top persecuted countries in the world.

Do you not? Not too long ago, on the top of that list was a country called China. And the people of China continued to be faithful to God in the midst of of trials. And now statistics say that that the the church in China is now over 10% and the fastest growing church in the world is in China. Why? Because they walked with God through the fire. This bracelet is intended to remind you to pray for those people, but it’s also intended to remind us of the faith of those people. Through all generations, from Daniel to today, looking to a God to change this world, being faithful to him and saying God in whatever adversity I face, I face. I’m trusting, I am trusting in you. And you look at that bracelet and you’re reminded we’re we’re one with believers all around the world making sacrifice for Christ, determining within our hearts that his glory would be made known in the midst of our darkness. Because our hope is far greater than anything this world has to offer. Dare to be a Daniel. God. May we be faithful like Daniel. Whatever the cost. May we stand for you. Make a difference in your culture. Here’s how. We’ll take the easy road. But take the glorious one that God has paved. The evidence of his glory would be made known.

King Josiah