Living for God in a Secular World
Trusting God No Matter What – Daniel 6:1-28
Pastor Doug Klein
How is it possible to trust God when I am faced with something very difficult? Easier said than done. If God is my last and final resort, aren’t I in really big trouble? It all depends upon what you think about God’s involvement in our lives. Here we see a picture of Daniel, now in his eighties, having to still trust God with a very difficult situation. How can we live our lives trusting God no matter what?
The first principle is 1.) The pressures I will face. Daniel 6:1-9.
Daniel is a model of integrity. It’s what we aim for in our lives. It’s the exact opposite of a double life when we discover some secret compartments in someone’s life that we never suspected. Daniel 6 tells us that Daniel was so faithful that he had no error or fault in his life. There was nothing that his enemies could dig up on him to slander his character. Daniel had sought a proper balance between loving his city and being faithful to God.
So what do we do when bad stuff happens and we see no way out? Where do we go spiritually and what do we do? Do we have a refuge in Christ that can in the midst of the storm?
As an old man, Daniel had to constantly deal with the harsh reality that he would never be able to return to his homeland. Without a deep sense of Christ’s comfort and providence, he could have easily given into despair.
For many of God’s people throughout history, they have gone to the grave without having experienced what they were searching for on earth.
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he
was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he
was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign
land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.
10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer
and builder is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even
when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as
many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by
13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having
seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were
strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that
they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which
they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is,
they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not
ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
The second principle is 2.) The choices I must make. Daniel 6:10-13.
It’s easy to wonder here why Daniel just didn’t refrain from such a public display of prayer towards Jerusalem. After all, he could have retreated into his private quarters and just talked privately and quietly to God. But Daniel understood that the visible posture of his prayer was a confession to his God. How would he render onto Caesar the things that belonged to Caesar but give to God the rightful place in his life? He was willing to pay the cost of putting God first no matter what it cost him vocationally or personally.
Every believer will be faced with a fork in the road moment when we realize that to be faithful to Christ will be more inconvenient and painful vs. the easier out.
The road not taken by Robert Frost has always been a wonderful reminder to me of the critical junctures in our lives where we could go in very different directions.
I shall be telling with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
As I look over my life, I am thankful for many of the roads I DIDN’T travel. I am also thankful for the times I traveled on the roads of cynicism or bitterness and I did an abrupt U turn to return to the grace of God before untold damage was done. The choices we will make regarding Christ have eternal implications. My Hebrew pastor Gerry Mills used to say all the time, “Choose wisely for choosing you have been.”
The third principle is 3.) The deliverance God provides. Daniel 6: 19-24.
Many Christians falsely assume that if we are innocent and faithful in our trials, we will always experience deliverance on our terms. That’s hard to reconcile with the large numbers of Christians around the world that are being persecuted and killed for their faith. And it’s even harder to reconcile with the terrible death of our Savior Jesus Christ who was the only innocent human being to live a sinless life. Yet he was pierced for our transgressions and delivered over to sinful men so that he could ultimately deliver us from our sins. Hence, we have been delivered from our sin and separation from God and into the Kingdom of God.
13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to
the kingdom of his beloved Son
But not only has he delivered us from sin but he continues to deliver us every day from these that are damaging to our lives and our growth. But Christ is the one who enters the den of lions and brings us out safely. This text has often been used as a pep talk for believers to “take on the lions in their lives by triumphantly overcoming obstacles.” The text teaches us just the opposite: we are doomed as food for the lions apart from our Savior.
It’s also a reminder that we are not immune to severe trials and struggles just because we are much older. Daniel was well into his eighties when he was thrown into the Lion’s Den. Surely, God would have protected him from such a painful ordeal after all those years of faithfulness. But that’s not the way it works. We are called to be faithful until the end.
So the biblical premise undergirding deliverance is that whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. What we might perceive as God’s cruelty to us is in reality his compassion. We can be sure of that because of Jesus Christ.
The fourth principle is 4.) The glory God receives. Daniel 6:25-28.
Once again, God uses a terrible situation for his own glory. That’s actually what happens on the cross. Here, King Darius issues a royal decree that all citizens are to tremble and fear before the great God of the universe. Darius insightfully articulates the contrast between the living God and all of our false idols. Because he is the living God, His Word is alive and active. And just like his predecessor Nebuchadnezzar, he acknowledged the greatness and glory of God’s kingdom.
If a pagan King can make such a claim regarding our God, how much more the devoted followers of Jesus Christ. He has ultimately delivered and rescued us and he continually works wonders in our lives. He has saved us from the power of sin and the grave. Because of that, I can trust him in everything no matter what!
Faith Presbyterian Church
February 14, 2016