Daniel (3)

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(Read thru whole book again. Looking for the “image” to show up anymore?)
???Introduction: Story about the week. What is it that causes your mind distress? Think about the greatest stress you've ever had. The greatest affliction. I dare to say that we all have experienced some difficult afflictions. If not, the troubles are sure to come. It’s been my observation that physical distress is usually not as difficult as emotional, relationship, mental stress. In other words, the conflicts that we have with people are usually more difficult than broken arms or surgeries. Think of it this way, the emotional conflict of dealing with caner is harder than the cancer itself. Think about your most difficult affliction… Now, consider this… How has or will God use this affliction to make Himself known to you and those around you?
This is the main truth we discover in Daniel chapter 2. That God reveals and rules. God is making Himself known through His faithful. He is expanding His kingdom rule through the nations.

Nebuchadnezzar's Dream

2:1-16 (Read)
1. Nebuchadnezzer is troubled in mind to the point he is not sleeping. Daniel calls it the king’s “matter” in verse 23, Essentially the distress, disturbance, affliction or problem
Side Note: Verse 4 begins a section written in the Aramic language until chapter 8. Back to Hebrew. God is inspiring Daniel to write this section in the common language, not just the nation of the Jews. Why? At least, God is making Himself known to the nations. Those gentiles who are outside the covenant.
2. Gives insight into the kind of king Nebuchadnezzar is. He takes his distress, and creates great trouble with those around him by demanding answers.
3. Application:God revealed this dream to king Nebuchadnezzar so that he could see the future of the nations. The dream troubled him greatly. Maybe its not a dream that keeps you awake at night, but I'm sure that all of us have experienced some sleepless nights due to..some major problem.. and like Nebuchadnezzar become distraught. What do we do? notice…Nebuchadnezzar sought answers from the wrong source. Further, he magnified his difficulty upon those who could do nothing about it.

Daniel’s Prayer

2:17-23 (Read)
In contrast to the king’s rampage. Daniel goes to his friends to Ask God for mercy. A lesson for the church: God is accomplishing His purposes through His faithful people; like Daniel, prudence and discretion is needed to respond to difficulties. Maintaining a faith filled frame of mind when others are flipping out.
Also, It is right and prudent to share our burdens with one another. It really is pride not to do so. However, we don't impose upon them the responsibility to deliver an answer, or wave a magic wand and take all the bad things away. No, rather, we seek God together. We pray and ask for mercy. James 4:10 tells us… And those who humble themselves to God will find mercy in time of need.
Application: God responds to their prayer with mercy. The first thing we need in response to our great distress is mercy. Yes, Daniel received a direct answer and was hoping to save lives...mystery: Something that baffles our understanding. Something unexplainable. No plausible reasoning can be given. Something extremely difficult to understand.

Daniel’s Answer

2:24-30 (Read)
Daniel is sure to let the king know, before he interprets and explains the dream, why it is that God has revealed it to him.
Faith removes boasting. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Application: God reveals. He’s not a mystery solver. This isn't a game of clue. Rather, God is revealing His own kingdom agenda right in the heart of Babylon, the so called world power of the time.
Beware of giving answers from a heart of pride. Our only boast is in God.

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream Revealed

2:31-35 (Read)
Observation: Daniel’s confidence in God to reveal the right dream. If he messes this up, he’s toast.
Give a picture of the “great image”
Application: Faith is required when we offer answers to people’s problems. We have confidence in Christ and His word that what we say will either be welcome and received or it will be rejected. Speak Scripture. Speak in faith. Remember Romans 15:14

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream Interpreted

Jesus Christ is the Corner Stone that crushes every earthly kingdom. His reign will be forever.
Observation: God rules.
Our greatest trouble. Greatest dilemma. Is not the people, circumstances.. It is that we are each guilty of trying to build our own kingdom. It is sin. Our hearts attach to the wrong foundation . And so too then our greatest solution is revealed. The Son of God, Jesus Christ. Also, no kingdom will stand against God’s kingdom. God’s kingdom is the everlasting. There isn’t such a thing as a national world power. No nation holds that ultimate authority.

Daniel’s High Honors

2:46-49 (Read)
Nebuchadnezzar is still missing the mark identifying Daniel’s God. He is not the God among many, rather.. He is the only , One true creator God. Many people in our day are given to this false notion.
vs. 48 God expands His kingdom rule and reign even while disciplining His people. Even while his faithful are in Babylonian captivity, he raises them up among the exiles. This should remind us of our great hope we have in Christ… 1 Peter 1:1-9
If we know the God of heaven through faith in Christ, then we have been granted high honor. How will we use that honor?
Closing: As a prophet, God shows Daniel mercy by offering him direct revelation concerning the mysterious dream. Today, God has mercifully given us the special revelation of His Son, and His written Word. Why? so that we have enough to understand mysterious elements of our lives. In other words, the mystery has been solved/revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ. And in order to apply that final answer/cornerstone to our own situation we do not need a new prophet, or a new revelation.. NO, we need Christ and the written word that has already ben revealed. We need prayer and mercy from God to gain wisdom form His word. We need the illumination of the Holy Spirit in believers to understand our times. To discern our distress. To alleviate our doubts. To clear up our confusions. To grant us trust in Christ who will rule and reign forever.
Our highest honor is to be known by King Jesus. To be granted the gift of faith to turn away from our sin and trust in Him. To be called, a child of God. To have the seal of the Holy Spirit and know with certainty that our reward is awaiting in the future to forever be with the God of Heaven!
Extras: Check out Psalm 137 “Sinclair Ferguson. How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?Connection point: often we don't sing for Zion because we are too comfortable with Babylon. Like the exiles, like Daniel and his friends, when we are in Christ we are aliens in a foreign land. Our hope is in our future glory with Christ forever in Heaven; our eternal Zion.
Examples: “hand of God”, Nebuchadnezzar’s confessions. Darius's confession 6:26 Confessions of God’s sovereign power upon the mouths of pagan kings. Theme of humility: The rise and fall of nations. The rise and fall of kings. The power we have is not our own, and not one of us will keep it, but rather must give an account for how we stewarded the strengths we have been given. BEWARE OF PRIDE! Caution of desire: “What you want indicates what you are more than what you have.” (-Dever)I have a desire to also preach through Revelation.
As I've studied over the years, and received instruction from others, I have been told these two books of the Bible are very similar, and in order to understand the latter, we should comprehended the former. Notice some of the similarities between the two.
Summarized Bible: Complete Summary of the Old Testament Chapter One Striking Facts: This book is written by a man “greatly beloved” (9:23), and deals with much the same prophecies as those of Revelation written by “the beloved disciple,” (John). Note similarity between the two: 1. In captivity. Dan. 1:6 ; 8:2 ; Rev. 1:9 . 2. Beloved. 10:11; John 13:23 . 3. Heard the Lord’s voice. 8:16; 10:9; Rev. 1:10 . 4. Saw the Lord’s face. Dan. 10:6 ; Rev. 1:14 . 5. Prostrated. 10:8–9; Rev. 1:17 . 6. Quickened. 10:10, 18; Rev. 1:17 . 7 Angel taught. 10:11, 12; Rev. 1:1 .
5. What will it take to stir our hearts to be fully devoted to Christ? Daniel was already praying and practicing habits of godliness before his enemies attack. As a matter of fact, it was his diligence and devotion that made them find a way to get him out of the way. They knew he wouldn’t stop what he was doing, because they knew he was a man of devotion and integrity to His God. i. If we think our casual and convenient Christianity will remain faithful and steadfast through the crisis of enemy attack, we are wrong. If we think our compulsive knee jerk reaction to (for example) our government forcing idolatry upon us or attempting to take away our religious freedoms is a display of true devotion, we are sadly deceived. Fox hole religion, flash in the pan devotion, will not prove faithful through the hard times. As Jesus taught from parable of the sower. It was true in the days of Noah. It was true in the days of Moses. It was true in the days of Daniel. It was true in the days of Jesus. It has been true throughout the days of church history. It is true of our day. Just think of the flocks of people who turned up their devotion and flooded church facilities after September 11th, 2001. And shortly after, returned to their idolatry. This is why it is not wise to be aroused by crowds of Christians who demand that we rally against some immediate attack of evil or injustice. No, rather we need to discipline ourselves for godliness today, in the normal and nitty gritty matters of our hearts and habits. Then, when the attacks of injustice come, and they will come, we do not need to become faithful, simply we remain faithful. Get in line with patterns of godliness now.... if we wait for the lions den, it will be too late. Daniel continued to do in the den of lion that which he had already been devoted to. Simply, he had a change of location. Sometimes we think that we will be a better Christian if I change jobs, change churches, change Bibles, change spouses, change pastors, or change clothes. We must realize, that it is our own hearts that need changing. Even as a church, we must already be doing what we are called to by God to be the people He desires upon the earth. He can act upon evil in the way He has planned. We must honor Him, and need not fret against the so called attacks; or the real attacks of the devil.
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