Character – Daniel Being Preferred
INTRODUCTION: About 600 years before the birth of Christ, Daniel experienced the challenge of living in a culture hostile to Godly values. He lived out his convictions and proved the value of a Godly life. Daniel made a number of decisions which show how he lived in the Spirit of his God.
FIRST: He Purposed: In Daniel 1:8 we read, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” This young lad was willing to live a Godly life and to take a stand against the pressure of the day.
SECOND: He Proved: In Daniel 1:12, 15 we read, “Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. (15) And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat." Question, “As a Christian do you prove the things of God, or are you for the most part occupied with the lusts of the world?” Remember, “We are the only Bible our sinner friends may read. Are you walking proof of what God can do with His own?”
THIRD: He Praised: In Daniel 2:20 we read, “…Blessed be the name of God forever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:" Without whimpering about how hard it was to do right, Daniel praised the Lord for allowing him to be on the right side. Let me urge you to never miss an opportunity for testimony to give glory to God for what He has done for you.
FOURTH: He was Preferred: In Daniel 6:1-3 we read, “It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; (2) And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. (3) Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.” When you prefer something it means you elevate it to the top spot. It gets preference before other things, and Daniel was preferred. There was something outstanding about him and his character and testimony that caused people to trust him.
If you recall the story we're reading, Daniel was a captive in a strange land. He had been kidnapped and forced to serve in the enemy's palace. He started as part of the Babylonian captivity and his life span spread over into the Medo-Persian captivity. We find that several different leaders preferred Daniel above all others.
When he was first carried away, the fellow who was over all the captives was Melzar.
Then we find he was preferred above others by Nebuchadnezzar.
Then Belshazzar reverenced Daniel, and he had an exalted position even under Belshazzar.
Darius and Cyrus, both Medo-Persian kings, preferred and trusted Daniel.
Daniel preserved his purity as a child of God throughout years of being immersed in those heathen cultures. The quality that gave him preference was his exceptional character. He wasn't the run of the mill, average, mediocre, cookie cutter Christian just like everybody else. He stood out as an individual because of his purpose to live for God and honor God and put God first in his life. Found in the scripture are at least four reasons Daniel was preferred.
Number 1: Daniel Had an Excellent Spirit. In verse 3 we find Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king sought to set him over the whole realm.
Now when we talk about the word excellent, we're talking about something that rises above the norm, above the average. Christianity is a religion of the spirit. That's what sets Christianity apart from all other religions.
Every religion has a form of worship. Every religion has a book. Every religion has some place to worship or meet. Every religion has some ritual to follow.
However, Christianity is primarily a religion of the spirit — not just of the flesh, not just of the outward appearance or action, but of the inward being. That's why without faith it is impossible to please God, because it's when we put our faith in Christ that our spirit is regenerated.
Christianity is a religion of the spirit, so if we do not have a right spirit, we are not much of a Christian. The first thing that we need is an excellent spirit, a spirit to be in harmony with the Word of God.
Having an excellent spirit means having a refreshing spirit. We ought to have a way about us that just encourages and uplifts people, a refreshing spirit. Our spirit determines whether we are going to have somebody's respect and trust.
Daniel was a captive in a strange land, forced to serve a king and country that had always been his enemies. Yet in spite of his circumstances, he had an excellent spirit. If we understand anything from this text, then it is not our circumstances that dictate the condition of our spirit. It is us. We decide whether we have a good spirit or not. We decide whether we’re going to have a right attitude or not. We decide whether we’re going to yield to the Holy Spirit. Our individual spirits are where it all begins.
An excellent spirit is the result of our spirit being yielded to the Holy Spirit. When we’re yielded, then the Holy Ghost of God will show Himself in our lives and produce His character traits in our lives: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.” When the Holy Ghost of God is in charge of our lives, when He is in control, then He will produce His character qualities in our spirit. That's going to result in an excellent spirit.
When our spirit is right, our attitude will be right. I watch for attitudes more than anything else in children. If their attitude is not right, I don't care if they obey me to the letter. I become concerned. I'm worried. I'm not looking for a mechanical response. I'm looking for an obedient heart. An obedient heart is a right spirit, and a right spirit is going to be exemplified by doing what we’re supposed to do because we want to; anything less than that is not true obedience, just conformity.
We need to keep our spirit yielded to God's spirit. When our heart and attitude is not right, we need to confess it to God and deal with it. Admit to ourselves that it's wrong. Daniel was a young man who had more motive and justification than anybody here to have a bad spirit. He had more problems and a worse situation than those of us in this room. But in spite of that, he didn’t just have a good spirit, he had an excellent spirit!
Number 2: Daniel Had A Clean Testimony. Not only did Daniel have an excellent spirit; he also had a clean testimony. In verses 4-5 we read, "Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God." Now, please listen carefully.
Here's a bunch of folks that are jealous of Daniel because he was preferred.
He was lifted up because of what he was, not because of what he was trying to be.
He wasn't trying to be the ruler; he was just trying to be a good Christian.
He was just trying to have a right spirit. Because of that he was preferred.
In many cases, as soon as God blesses somebody, somebody else gets jealous. When they get jealous, then they try to find occasion against the person that God has blessed. So, these folks got together and started researching Daniel's life and examining him closely. But the Bible says they could not find any fault. They couldn't find any occasion. He didn't leave any doors open to make that possible.
That's why we have the command in I Thessalonians 5:22 to, "Abstain from all appearance of evil." Sometimes we don't do anything that's necessarily wrong, but we leave the door of accusation open, because we had something that may have given the appearance of evil, even though we did not do what was evil. Daniel did not allow the appearance of evil in his life. They couldn't find any occasion against him. Now Daniel wasn't sinless; he was just innocent. There is a difference.
By the way, if you ever get yourself in a position where God can bless you and use you, then you better not be reckless about it because somebody will be searching for an occasion to discredit you.
Number 3: Daniel Was Faithful. Faithfulness requires consistency. He wasn't up today and down tomorrow, on today and off tomorrow, in today and out tomorrow. He lived a consistent life. He was faithful. They found no fault and no error.
That also means he was wise in what he did. He didn't miscalculate and make foolish decisions. By the way, if you pray about what you do and get the mind of God and check the Scripture, and saturate what you do in prayer, you won't miscalculate either. God's got a plan and He'll give you the wisdom that you need.
When the presidents and princes realized that David was faithful and had an excellent spirit, do you know what they said? "The only way we can ever discredit this guy is to get him in trouble by making a bad law that disagrees with the law of his God. The only way to trap him is if the law of the king is contrary to the law of God." They knew Daniel had enough conviction that he wouldn't change because there was a bad law. He was going to serve God and pray faithfully and read and obey the Bible no matter what.
So they conspired against him. "Let's go and tell the king that we're trying to exalt and honor him. Let's get his permission and his signet put to this bill; and let's make a law that if anybody prays to anyone but the king for the next 30 days, then they're going to be executed. We know Daniel well enough to know he's not going to quit praying. He opens his windows toward Jerusalem and gets on his knees and prays every day. This law is sure to get Daniel in trouble. We can't find anything that's really wrong with him, but we can make sure he gets in trouble for doing right and honoring God."
So they got the law passed, and the king didn't realize what they were doing. If the king had known that they were conspiring against Daniel, he wouldn't have allowed it to happen. If he had been paying attention, the king would have figured out the motive because Daniel was not among them when they came, and Daniel was the one he had set over them. The conspiracy was beneath his leadership. Conspiracy usually is.
Number 4: Daniel had Conviction and Boldness in the Face of Danger. In verse 10 we read, "Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did afore time. " God wants us to do right based on conviction.
Every day Daniel was praying three times a day toward Jerusalem with the windows open, every single day as he did aforetime.
He did not stop doing it when they made it against the law, and he didn't start doing it then either.
He was already obedient and faithful in prayer, and when it placed him in the path of danger, he had the conviction and boldness to continue doing right as he had always done.
As a young man, Daniel purposed in his heart that there were some things he would not do.
He formulated his convictions based on the Bible, and then stuck with them faithfully through all the years of his life.
Daniel wasn't praying because it was legal, and he didn't start or stop praying because it was illegal. He was just continuing to be faithful to his convictions about obedience and devotion to God. Please listen carefully:
The day is going to come when soul-winning is illegal. We're not far from it right now.
The day is going to come when our government won't let our buses run. They're now making enough rules and stipulations to nearly eliminate them.
The day is going to come when our government is going to make it illegal to work with children, because they prefer undisputed control of the child's mind. They want to make humanists out of them, so they don't want us to make Christians out of them, and get them thinking Biblical principles.
The day has already arrived when it's considered a crime to spank your children and obey Proverbs.
The day has already arrived when it’s considered offensive to preach the truth of the Word of God because it will confront some group about their sin.
Because the law of the Medes and the Persians could not be altered once the king put his signet to it, the new law could not be reversed. The King had to let Daniel be put into the den of lions. But I love what he said to Daniel in verse 16. "Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee." This king admired Daniel for having enough conviction to take a stand and be willing to lay down his life for what he believed. “…Thy God whom thou servest continually…”
Daniel didn't just serve God when it was convenient.
Daniel didn't just serve God when others served God.
He didn't just serve God when he felt like it.
He didn’t just serve God on Sunday morning.
He didn't just serve God intermittently. He served God continually.
That's what he's talking about in I Corinthians 15:58. He said, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."
People are looking for somebody that's real. Be faithful, be bold, be courageous, be willing to stand on conviction no matter which way the wind may be blowing.
The only way Daniel had an excellent spirit is because he worked at it. He worked at being yielded to the Holy Ghost of God and having the leadership of God. He worked at his prayer life and devotional life. He worked at the things that produced an excellent spirit in him. I can't produce an excellent spirit, but I can work hard at the things that the Bible says will produce an excellent spirit.
Number 5: He Prospered. In Daniel 6:28 we read, “So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.” Praise God! When we major in all that is right, and avoid evil, the result is thrilling to behold. Don't let the worldly things chew away our prosperity as a living example of Christianity.
In these last days it is going to be more and more difficult to do right as we stand among the unrighteous. As the song writer wrote, "Dare to be a Daniel." I hope and pray that we, like Daniel, will face the world and the problems it presents, by standing true to the faith of our fathers. God can deliver us from all evil.
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon “Character – Daniel Being Preferred” then right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, let me know. Please send an e-mail to pdmikBBM@aol.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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