July 26, 2015
By John Ulrich, Senior Pastor
Having studied the major stories in the book of Daniel, we now look at the values, nuggets of truth, that Daniel has given us. Just as our refrigerator leftovers can be really delicious, these two values seen in the stories of Daniel can be really good.
Value #1: Underlying the stories of Daniel is the attitude of humility.
Definition of humility in Daniel:
Knowing the difference between God’s place and yours (the root of humility), and serving others by treating them as if they were truly important (the fruit of humility).
We see the root of this humility, which respected authority but honored God first, in the stories of Daniel’s diet (Dan.1:1-17), of his interpreting dreams with Nebuchadnezzar (Dan.: 3 and 4) and Belshazzar (Dan.5), of his friends facing the fiery furnace (Dan. 3), and of Daniel facing the lions (Dan. 6).
We see the fruit of Daniel’s humility in how his services affected the hearts, minds, and actions of kings (Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and Darius).
In Daniel 4:27, Daniel even encouraged Nebuchadnezzar to “…renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed…”
Testimony on humility: Joe Toomey
God uses spots of brokenness in our lives to develop humbleness. We discover when we are broken that our lives are not in our total control, but God’s control. When we recognize that God is in control, we can become a resource for other people with similar problems. We can also pray for them and be present with them.
When God sometimes withholds the “normal” from our lives, it forces us to recognize our place, and God’s place.
Value #2: Wisdom, which enables us to take action.
Definition of wisdom: Where the guidance of God’s Word meets the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
There is much guidance in the Holy Bible, but it does not give specific instructions in everything. There are many moments when we must choose, make judgment calls, and puzzle things out through our faith.
Daniel had multiple moments and a spectrum of responses as he made such calls in faith: from choosing not to react or push back (willingness to interpret dreams), to suggesting they just try (the new diet) and see what happens, to openly pushing back and even disobeying the king (not praying to the king’s idol).
Yet in the midst of all Daniel’s and his friends’ decisions, God’s presence assisted them: “To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding…and Daniel could understand visions and dreams.” (Dan.1:17).
Unlike in Daniel’s times, Christians today have the written Word of God for guidance. When Jesus returned to His Father, He explained that He was giving all Christians the availability of the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ Spirit, to counsel and guide them. When we combine Scripture with the living presence of Jesus’ Spirit in our hearts, we need to read the Word and listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit, and act on it when we have it!
Testimony of Hunter Dockery:
We are in exile now in our modern culture that is growing away from God’s values; one day we will be home. Our role in figuring how to live here is like dancing: keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, and letting go!
God is calling each of us Christians not just to blend into a culture or withdraw or be angry at the culture, but to live and thrive. We are to take our faith into our culture: live humbly, puzzle things out with the Word, submit to the Holy Spirit, and share with believers in His Church.
We CAN do this! Because of the Cross and Jesus’ righteousness, we CAN be salt and light to a culture becoming more and more distant from God.