Vaughan Roberts continues his teaching from the book of Daniel. Here’s a summary of Wednesday morning’s message:
There is one recurring theme in the book of Daniel. It is very costly to obey the word of God in a world that rejects Him and does not recognise His authority.
For so many people it is more important to fit in that to be right. If we are to be faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ, we must be prepared to be different. We will only do that if we are absolutely convinced of the great truth that despite appearances, God is in control. It makes sense to obey Him, even if there is massive cost in this present world.
Daniel – a faithful servant
By now, Daniel is an old man. He would have been in his 80s and the new king recognises his qualities. He had been a faithful servant of the Babylonians and now he is a faithful servant of the Medes and Persians. Daniel does not withdraw. He gets involved and seeks the peace and prosperity of the city. Serve the people amongst whom you must life while you wait to go home.
Daniel had a very high rank. The other civil servants were frustrated that this foreigner has been placed above them and they realised that the only way they could bring him down would be to drive a wedge between his king and his God. For Daniel, when there is a clash of loyalties, God wins every time.
Our identity is in Christ and our allegiance to Christ must come above allegiance to any cultural and national identity. What would happen in Northern Ireland if every Christian truly lived and believed that? When Daniel learnt of the decree, he immediately got down on his knees and prayed.
We need to understand that:
- God kingdom has come – in the person of Jesus Christ
- God kingdom is coming – every time someone bows the knee to Him
- God’s kingdom is still to come – at the fulfilment of all things.
Darius – a weak king
Daniel’s enemies had got the evidence they needed to accuse him. The king was upset and he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort to save him but he couldn’t. He was actually very weak. A key question is where does true power lie? Superficially it lies with the human powers. Again and again, they are shown to be not nearly as powerful as they look. Human authority is finite.
The law of the Medes and the Persians could not be overturned. In principle, it might seem like a good thing. Darius wanted to do what was right but he ended up going against his conscience and throwing Daniel to the lions.
God – the sovereign Saviour
It looks as if there was no way out for Daniel. When Darius rushed to the lion’s den the next day, he discovered that Daniel was alive! It was a miracle.
Then Darius delivers this amazing line, “I 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.”
As Jesus faced death he said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Ultimately, the power lay with the living God. Jesus chose to lay down His life. The stone might seal the tomb but it could not stay there.
Key points to remember:
- Godly people get involved in this present world – don’t withdraw into a holy huddle
- Doing good gets you into trouble – life can get hard when there is a clash of loyalties
- Prayer is absolutely vital – we need discipline
- The powers that be cannot save us – don’t trust in “princes”
- The living God saves His servants – Whatever happens, we can be absolutely sure that the living God will save His servants because Christ died, Christ rose and Christ will come again.