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Author:Rev. Mendel Retief
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Congregation:Free Reformed Church of Kelmscott
 Kelmscott, Western Australia
 frckelmscott.org
 
Title:Faith on trial
Text:Daniel 6:1-28 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:Faith Tested
 
Added:2015-10-20
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

(Old Book of Praise, 2004)

Ps. 34: 1, 2

Ps. 34: 3, 4, 6

Ps. 91: 1, 4, 5

Ps. 55: 2, 8, 12, 13

Ps. 34: 8, 9

 

Scripture reading:       Dan. 5: 30 – 6: 28

Text:                         Daniel 6

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Mendel Retief, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


Faith on Trial

(Old Book of Praise, 2004)

Ps. 34: 1, 2

Ps. 34: 3, 4, 6

Ps. 91: 1, 4, 5

Ps. 55: 2, 8, 12, 13

Ps. 34: 8, 9

 

Scripture reading:       Dan. 5: 30 – 6: 28

Text:                          Daniel 6

 

Beloved congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ,

 

This is a well known history: Daniel in the lion’s den.   

This history is not merely about the pious individual Daniel.    And it is not merely an exciting story about his deliverance from the lions.   We have to understand this history in the context of God’s people being in exile.   It is about the coming of Christ’s kingdom in the midst of much oppression.  

 

This history of God’s covenant people in exile, as described in the first 6 chapters, is followed by another 6 chapters in which God, by means of visions, interprets and explains the history to us.   He gives us a glimpse of what is happening behind the scene.   There was a spiritual war in the heavens.    And the history that took place on earth was the direct result of what was happening in the heavens.   Thus we read of an angel fighting against the prince of the kingdom of Persia – chapter 10.

And in chapter 11: 1 the angel says that he assisted king Darius the Mede in the first year of his reign.  Now, that is the year in which also chapter 6 took place!

And so these first chapters up to chapter 6 tells us what was happening on stage, and the following chapters reveal to us, among other things, what was happening back stage, and how we have to understand this history.

 

It is the history of the church as described in Rev. 12: war between Christ and the dragon.

That is the context in which we have to read all of church history; also when we turn to Daniel chapter 6.

The church of Christ finds herself in the midst of a spiritual war; a war which is not fought with physical weapons, but with the weapons of faith and righteousness.

We see God’s servants sorely tested, and we see them gaining the victory through faith.

 

I proclaim God’s Word to you with the theme:

Faith on trial

 

We will note…

  1. The enmity against Daniel
  2. Daniel’s steadfast faithfulness to God
  3. The steadfast progress of God’s kingdom

 

In the first place we note…

The enmity against Daniel

 

King Darius reigned only for a very short while.   Shortly after this history of Daniel in the lions’ den, Cyrus became king of the Medo-Persian Empire.   Cyrus then, in the very first year of his reign, gave the captives of Judah permission to return to Jerusalem and to rebuild the temple – we read about this for example in Ezra chapter 1.  By that proclamation of king Cyrus the 70 years of Babylonian exile, as it was foretold by the prophet Jeremiah, came formally to an end.   Not all the Jews returned to Jerusalem, but they were set free and from that date their captivity has ended.

 

Here in our text, Darius is on the throne, but the deliverance under Cyrus was at hand.  

Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den towards the very end of the seventy years of captivity.

 

With regard to the timeframe of our text, we also have to note something else.   We read in chapter 9 how Daniel was earnestly praying to the Lord and pleading for the restoration of Jerusalem; and we read that he was praying this in the first year of king Darius when he realised that the 70 years of captivity was almost full.

Note that Daniel’s prayer for the restoration of Jerusalem, as recorded in chapter 9, took place in the first year of king Darius’ reign!   Now, it is exactly within that timeframe that king Darius made this edict that no one may pray for 30 days to any god but to Darius only.

 

You see then what is happening behind the scenes.   Daniel, in the first year of king Darius’ reign, is praying for the restoration of Jerusalem.    We must not think that his prayer as recorded in chapter 9 was his only prayer for the restoration of Jerusalem.    No, as often as he prayed he opened his window towards Jerusalem.  And he did this three times a day!   It was his custom.   Our text tells us that he was doing this continually.  

 

And will God not hear the prayers of His saints?  

Thus it happens that Satan, with devilish fury, tries to put an end to Daniel’s prayers.  

Yes, when we see that Daniel 6 and Daniel 9 took place in exactly the same year, the first year of king Darius, then we are no longer surprised when we discover here in chapter 6 a devilish attempt to put an end to Daniel’s prayers.

He was constantly praying for the restoration of Jerusalem, with confession of his sins and the sins of his fathers, praying that God may hallow His name and restore His church.

Satan’s attack against Daniel was meant to put an end to these prayers, and to silence him with the wicked edict that was to be signed by king Darius.

 

The enmity against Daniel is not accidental.  

The fact that this spiritual and religious war takes place under a political banner, is also not accidental.  

God revealed to us that Satan in his warfare also makes use of the beast.   That is: he makes use of the world powers to persecute the saints.  

That is why Rev. 12, the war between Christ and Satan, is followed by Rev. 13, in which Satan’s allies on earth is described: the beast and the false prophet.  The beast represents the political powers.

And thus we see also here in our text how Satan makes use of the beast – that beast who spoke blasphemy against God and whom all the nations worshipped (Rev. 13).

 

It is exactly that beast, or his Old Testament forerunner, that acts here in Daniel 6, when king Darius signs this evil edict which places him above the gods, so that no one may pray to any god but to Darius.  

Yes, all the nations in his whole empire had to worship the beast for 30 days.

The parallel with Rev. 13 is clear.

 

Now, when we read our text, it says from verse 1:

 

“It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom, and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps may give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss.   Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm.   So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him.”

 

When we read this it may easily appear to us as if we are dealing here merely with the envy of colleagues.   They envied Daniel’s capability.    They could not stand it that the king favoured him above them.  

But we have to look further.   The chapter is not dealing merely with the envy of colleagues.   It is dealing with the very same enmity announced in Gen. 3: 15: the enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.

 

In the light of Scripture this edict that was signed by king Darius was not the result of unhealthy work relations between colleagues, but the fulfilment of prophecy.   And thus we have to read a bit further to discover the true reason for their enmity: Daniel was a captive from Judah faithfully serving his God in the midst of Babylon.   And he was constantly praying to God, interceding for his people, and pleading for the restoration of Jerusalem.   Three times a day.

 

Here was a man who performed all his labour as for the LORD.   His labour was not only free from neglect, but also free from corruption and fraud.   Our text says:  he was faithful, and there was no error or fault found in him.   That refers to both his work and to his person.   He was faithful.   He was trustworthy.  

There, among the heathens, in a corrupt society with corrupt work ethics, Daniel’s work ethics must have shone like a light in the darkness.

There was no separation between his religion and his work ethics.   His holiness and righteousness was not restricted to his inner room, but could be seen in the very way in which he performed all his duties.

Therefore they hated him, because his works were good, and theirs were not (1 John 3: 12, 13).    

Therefore they searched all the more carefully to find some fault, but they couldn’t find anything. 

Since he was doing his daily task as for the LORD, they had to admit: we will not find any fault or error either in his work or in his person.  

 

“… ‘We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.” – verse 5

 

If they could find any error they would certainly have blown it up and presented it to the king in the worst possible light.   But they couldn’t find anything.  

This proves Daniel’s innocence and faithfulness right from the start.

 

But there was one thing about Daniel – the way he served his God.   That was different from the way all the heathens served their god’s.   The law of his God is unique and sets him apart from other people.   And one thing they knew: he will never deviate from the law of God.   If in any way he could be forced to deviate, he would rather die a martyrs’ death.   And they knew him well enough to count on it.   They also knew about his prayer habits and knew that he counted his God as the only true God, the only One to whom a man may pray.  

 

Yes, it was impossible that Daniel’s religion and his faith could remain secret.   As soon as a light shines in the darkness it is noticed.  

In no way can a man live consistent with God’s law without it becoming apparent that his life is separate from the world.   And whenever the world becomes aware of it, its hatred flares up, and some sort of persecution may be expected.  

 

Dear congregation, if we are not persecuted at all, it may be because our light is not shining.   For if our light shines, the world will hate us.  

If we turn down the light, so that there is almost no distinction between church and world anymore – why would the world still persecute us?   But if we are truly light, persecution will not be lacking (2 Tim. 3: 12).

That was the real reason for their enmity, and for the very enmity of Satan himself.

 

Now, they knew that Daniel would never deviate from the law of his God, and they counted on it.   They were so convinced of Daniel’s steadfast faithfulness to God and of his obedience to the law of God, that they considered their plan foolproof.    They were convinced that if the king signs such an edict as they had in mind, it will cause Daniel’s fall.   Why?   Because they were convinced that he will not deviate in the least from the law of his God.   And how could they have known this, if it was not already evident in all his doings?

 

That was indeed the very cause of their hatred against him – the holiness and the righteousness which is according to the law of God, which could also be witnessed in the way he performed his duties: unswerving faithfulness to God in all his doings.   

Yes, in the last analysis they were not raging against Daniel, but against God Himself.

 

But, as always, it happens under disguise.

They even deceive the king.  They make it appear as if this request to the king is nothing but the finest loyalty toward him, to establish his authority in the entire kingdom.   We read:

 

            “…these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and said thus to him:

‘King Darius, live forever!  All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators

and satraps, the counsellors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.   Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.’  Therefore King Darius signed the written decree.”

 

It was all worked out for him.   He just had to sign the documents.

For 30 days no one may pray to any god; only to Darius!  

 

For Darius this proposal must have had political significance, for by such an edict all the nations in his empire would have to give expression to his supreme authority.

And in this way his governors flattered him.

It is true that he did not conceive of this idea himself, but he did sign and enforce the edict – a royal decree by which he elevated himself above the gods! (As it was also said of the king of Babylon: Isaiah 14: 12 – 14).

 

Was this only an unhappy coincidence that a political law placed God’s law under strain?

Also in our own day it may seem as if the persecution of the saints is just an unhappy coincidence, the result of a twisted constitution built on human rights and equalitarianism.   However, Gen. 3: 15 is a reality in everyday life.   Although the devil tries to disguise and confuse the issue, and tries to give another reason for the believers’ persecutions – in this case a political reason – it yet becomes clear that there was in reality only one reason: enmity against God, and therefore enmity against the seed of the woman.   Or, as Rev. 12 describes this same warfare in the time of the New Testament: the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev. 12: 17).

 

Satan, and his allies, never acts openly; always under disguise.   When the Roman Catholics persecuted the Reformers with cruel hatred and burned them on the stakes, it was not done in the name of the Roman Catholic Church, but under the name of kings and queens who pretended that they were only keeping political law and order!

Or think of the Secession of 1834.  It was not openly a religious persecution that followed.   No, the church was heavily persecuted under a political law.

The same disguise is found here in Daniel 6.   The transgression of this wicked edict will be presented not as faithfulness to God, but as rebellion against the king and against the government laws!   Just as someone may be persecuted today if he denounces so-called same sex marriage, or opposes abortion.   Such a person is treated as a trouble maker and a political threat to society.

 

How will God’s servant act when he hears about this new government law?

We note that in the second place…

Daniel’s steadfast faithfulness to God

 

“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home.   And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.” – verse 10

 

The fact that he prayed with his windows open toward Jerusalem, had specific meaning and significance.  

At the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem king Solomon prayed to the LORD asking that the LORD will always hear the prayers of His people when they pray in the direction of the temple in Jerusalem.

 

“…whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your people Israel, when each one knows the plague of his own heart, and spreads out his hands toward this temple: then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and act, and give to everyone according to all his ways…” – 1 Kings 8: 38, 39

 

In fact, this custom seems to precede the time of Solomon, because David says for example in Ps. 5: 7: 

 

            “…I will worship toward Your holy temple.”

 

And in Ps. 28: 2 David asks the LORD:

 

“Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry to You, when I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.”

 

And also in Ps. 138: 2:

 

            “I will worship toward Your holy temple…”

 

When Daniel opened his windows to pray in the direction of Jerusalem, it was a symbol that he sought the LORD in His temple.   Of course he knew that the earthly temple was only a picture of God’s heavenly temple.   And of course he knew that this temple in Jerusalem was now in ruins.   But that only enhances the meaning of his action.   He prayed for the restoration of Jerusalem, trusting God’s promises that He will restore His people if they repent of their sins and turn to Him with their whole heart.

 

The open windows in the direction of Jerusalem, when he prayed, prove that Daniel has not forgotten Jerusalem, and God’s promises.   It reminds us of Ps. 137: 5 where we read:

 

            “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill!

If I do not remember you, let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth – if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy.”

 

Yes, Daniel was expecting and praying for the restoration of Jerusalem, as we clearly read in chapter 9.  

We cannot separate our love for God and the love for His church.   When Daniel prayed to God, he kept Jerusalem in sight, so to speak. 

 

This was also an open confession that he viewed himself a stranger in Babylon although he enjoyed great power among the Chaldeans and also among the Persians.   Like Moses he chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he looked to the reward – Hebr. 11: 25, 26.

 

Yes, his open windows had nothing to do with Pharisee-ism, seeking the honour of men, but rather the exact opposite: not being ashamed of His God or fearing the reproach of man in a hostile society.

It is one thing to make long prayers on the street-corners of Jerusalem in order to be praised by men; it is something totally different to pray before an open window in Babylon!   And the motives are opposite – the one is seeking his own honour; the other is ready to lose his life.

 

Our Lord Jesus said in Mt. 10: 32:

 

“…whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.   But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”

 

The Lord spoke these words in the context of persecution.   In the previous verses He was saying:

 

“…do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.   But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” – Mt. 10: 28.

 

In other words, even when our confession may cost us our life, we may not deny the Lord by keeping silent.   And how powerful does a confession become when it is made with a readiness to seal it with your own blood!

It would have been wrong for Daniel to close his windows at this point of time.   When this terrible and ungodly edict was signed and enforced, also the eyes of the Jews would be on Daniel for guidance and direction.  

In these trying circumstances Daniel sets the example: unswerving faithfulness to God.

 

He continues his constant prayers as before; three times a day.   Also this habit had its roots in the temple service.   We often read in the Old Testament that God’s people prayed at the time of the morning sacrifice and at the time of the evening sacrifice (compare for example Ex. 30: 7, 8; Ps. 141: 2; Ezra 9: 5; Luke 1: 10; Acts 3: 1).   In fact, the incense on the golden altar of incense that had to be burned every morning and evening, which had to fill the temple all day long with a sweet aroma, was a symbol of prayer.   And thus we read for example in Rev. 8:

 

“…another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar.   He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden alter which was before the throne.   And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand.” – Rev. 8: 3, 4.

 

This aroma of incense had to fill the temple continually, and after this example Israel’s worship was patterned.   And thus we find that there were also fixed hours of prayer among the Israelites: the third hour of the day and the sixth and the ninth hour.   That is: at the time of the morning and evening sacrifices, and at midday.   We read for example in Ps. 55: 17 where David says:

 

            “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray…”

 

And later on we read repeatedly about these fixed hours of worship for example in the book of Acts (Acts 3:1; 10: 9, 30).

Such regular and fixed times for prayer do aid us in exercising ourselves in the worship of God.

 

We know that Charismatics are averse to a fixed order of worship, thinking that any fixed order retrains the work of the Spirit.  They think that worship can only be from the heart if it is free from any fixed order or pattern or regulation.   But here we see how the Spirit recommends to us the fixed pattern by which Daniel disciplined himself to pray three times a day – not a quick table prayer before meals, but fixed times for worship every day.    It is an inspired example from God’s Word which will greatly benefit us, and will greatly benefit God’s kingdom, if we would follow it.

 

Three times a day he fell on his knees and prayed with supplications and praise (compare also Phil. 4: 6).

Yes, even in the face of death he continued to praise His God, for by faith he was seeing Him who is invisible (compare also Hebr. 11: 25 – 27).   Believing God’s promises, he had enough reason to praise God even in the shadow of death.   He did not cling to his own life but sought the honour of his God and the coming of His kingdom.

His thanksgiving under these circumstances was a sure proof of his faith, and that he lived with one purpose only: that God’s name may be hallowed and glorified.

 

So then, he opens his windows in the direction of Jerusalem and prays to the Lord three times a day.   He continues to do this as before, “…as was his custom since early days.”

 

If Daniel would have changed that habit out of fear for men, he would have fallen into the snare of Satan.  

But he was willing to die.   He knew the purpose of the edict.   He expected the arrival of his colleagues, and he knew that a certain death was to follow.   But he continued his praying without the slightest wavering.

 

Peter and the other apostles, also facing persecution, said:

 

            “… ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.” – Acts 5: 29

 

Whenever a government or an authority may demand of us to act against God and His Word, then we may not heed such a command – not even in the slightest way.

 

Our religion is spiritual, but we can’t separate it from outward manifestation.   We are indeed a light on a hill.   We can’t be secret-agent-believers – believers under disguise!   It is impossible to hide true religion.  

Not even in times of persecution may we try to hide our religion.   Our religion is not restricted to the inner room behind closed curtains.   If our religion is at all genuine, it will be visible in all our doings; in the daily course of normal life.  

A religion that can remain hidden is not even worth confessing. 

 

Dear congregation, in our time the world will gladly tolerate you, as long as you keep your religion for yourself, and restrict it to your private life.   But to retrieve our religion to the inner room only, is to deny God before men.  

The Lord warned us not to fear men who can kill only the body, but rather to fear Him who can destroy both body and soul in hell. 

Daniel feared and obeyed the Lord, rather than man, and at the critical moment, refused to close his windows.

 

Some think that we can separate our faith from outward confession, and that our devotion can remain intact while we shun outward profession of our faith; but that is impossible.  

For the sake of avoiding the cross they try to hide their religion, and try to act as much as possible like the world.   They look like the world and speak like the world, while calling themselves Christian.

 

Dear congregation, we may not even pretend apostasy!   We may never pretend disobedience to God!   Whoever pretends to be disobedient to God for the sake of avoiding persecution – his pretended disobedience is actual disobedience!

We may not pretend that we are not saints, even when a stake is prepared for us.

We may not even give the slightest pretention of yielding to a government when it requires of us open disobedience to God.  Or else we cease to be salt and light, and deny our God.

 

Brothers and sisters, what then if a government requires that the evolution theory of Darwin be taught and promoted in the schools?   We may not even pretend obedience to such a law!

What if a government forbids parents to use the rod of discipline?   We may not even pretend obedience to such a law!

What if the government would forbid teachers to teach that the Christian faith is the only true faith?   We may not even pretend obedience to such a law!

What if secular governments begin to enforce ungodly laws?  

We may not even pretend obedience in such a case, lest we deny our God and rob Him of the honour and praise that is His due.

Neither may we fines, or imprisonment, or death, but rather remember that the blood of the martyrs has been called the seed of the church.   For the more the church is persecuted, the more it grows! 

 

So then, Daniel continued praying before an open window, and so these men went to the king and said:

 

“… ‘That Daniel, who is one of the captives from Judah, does not show due regard for you, O king, or for the decree that you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.’” – verse 13

 

We see how they give the case a different colour.   They accuse Daniel of despising the king and having no regard for his laws!    He is unruly; a political threat.  

 

When the king heard their accusation, he was very displeased.   Daniel was worth much to him.   There was no equal to his ability and his faithfulness.  To lose such a man would be a great loss to the king.   King Darius now also realised how his ministers have tricked him with their flattery.   He realised now, that these ministers were not seeking his honour, but rather frustrating his wish to appoint Daniel over the kingdom.     

 

However, it was too late now, and he could not find a way to release Daniel.   And thus Daniel was thrown to the lions.   That night the king spent in fasting.   He could not sleep.   And early the next morning he came to the den and cried with a lamenting voice to Daniel:

 

“… ‘Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” – verse 20

 

The king must have heard of the recent history in which the God of Daniel has performed great signs and miracles in the time of Nebuchadnezzar, and how Daniel interpreted the writing on the wall that very night when Belshazzar was slain.   Could his God maybe also deliver him from the lions?

 

Daniel answered the king:

 

“My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong against you.”

 

The lions did him no harm!

 

After pulling Daniel up out of the den, the king gave command to throw Daniel’s accusers in the lions’ den.   They threw in the men with their wives and children.   And before their feet reached the bottom of the den, the lions have already broken all their bones in pieces.  

The lions came with unbelievable swiftness, and brute power, and devoured these men with their families.

 

Being witness of the miraculous way in which God delivered his servant Daniel, the king now wrote a different decree, this time commanding all the nations to fear the God of Daniel!

We note this in the last place…

The steadfast progress of God’s kingdom

 

King Darius wrote:

 

“To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you.   I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.   For He is the living God, and steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall endure to the end.   He delivers and rescues, and He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”

 

The decree is published throughout the entire Medo-Persian Empire!  

What a comfort this must have been to God’s covenant people!

Even this great secular world power, under which they were still held captive, has to bow before the living God, the God of Israel!  

 

In one moment their persecutors disappeared, yes, were devoured.  

It is as we read in Prov. 11: 8:

 

            “The righteous is delivered from trouble, and it comes to the wicked instead.”

 

God delivers His servants from their distress, and then He puts the wicked in their place.

Instead of devouring Daniel the lions devoured his accusers.

 

It is as in the book of Esther where Haman was hung on the gallows which he built for Mordecai (Esther 7:10).  

And as Ps. 9: 16 says:

 

“The LORD is known by the judgment He executes; the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.”

 

What a clear example of God’s justice, and of His judgements on the wicked!

He vindicated His servant, and defended his cause for him.

The Lord did not only deliver His servant, but also repaid his adversaries.

 

Now, once more we read in this book of Daniel about the everlasting kingdom of God.   This time as a confession from the mouth of Darius:

 

“I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.   For He is the living God, and steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall endure to the end.”

 

We are reminded of the prophecy in chapter 2 where Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and said:

 

“…the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” – Chapter 2: 44

 

It becomes a refrain in the book of Daniel: the coming of God’s eternal kingdom, and His dominion over all.   It is the coming of Christ’s kingdom, and the destruction of all other kingdoms.  

His kingdom is making steadfast progress in the midst of much oppression.

 

However, His kingdom does not come by means of a mighty church organisation in this world, or by a display of human power, or great numbers.

No, we find in this world a small little church struggling.  

 

How then does the kingdom come?

The description of this history started in chapter 1 with a young man who refused to defile himself with the food of Babylon.   In chapter 3 we saw three young men who refused to bow before the image of the beast.   Here in chapter 6 we see a grey headed man on his knees before his God, with open windows in the direction of Jerusalem.  

 

We do not see great numbers or a display of human power, but the faithfulness of men who trusted in their God – a remnant undefiled in the midst of Babylon, unswerving in simple obedience to God.  

 

They did not shun the enmity of the world, and their own life was not dear to them.

With their eyes on the coming of Christ’s kingdom they confessed that they were strangers in Babylon, and shared in the reproach of Jerusalem.

Yes, men of faith trusting in God; believing His promises.

And their faith was not put to shame.

God delivered them, and judged their adversaries.  

 

Dear congregation, this history is also recorded for our comfort.  

Let us not become part of Babylon, or worship the beast to avoid persecution.   Let us be fully determined to lose our life in this world rather than to compromise in the least when obedience to God’s law and the glory of His Name is at stake.  

Let us learn to fall on our knees – morning, noon and evening – and pray to our God for the restoration of the church also in our day.    

 

And He will hear.   

 

Amen.




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Mendel Retief, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright, Rev. Mendel Retief

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