Posts Tagged ‘Daniel’

Pursue the Knowledge of God

March 4, 2013

Here are the sermon notes from 3/3/13.

I.  Pursue the Knowledge of God:  Hosea 6:1-3

Come, and let us return to the Lord;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth.

There are multiple layers of meanings in these words.  For the original hearers, there was a call to repentance, to turn away from sin and return to the Lord.  There is also a messianic center, as we recognize the reference to the resurrection.  There is also a timeless principle that can be drawn out of the original, and applied to all ages.

God is our Father, our creator.  We are meant to be in a relationship with Him.

Sometimes God allows difficult circumstances to come into our lives.  He is trying to get our attention.  He starts with a still small voice, but if we do not listen, then He may raise His voice, or change tactics.  He is motivated by a love for us, and a desire for reconciliation.

If we would pursue the knowledge of God, then we would be able to hear His still, small voice.  He would direct our paths by His Spirit and His Word.  We pursue the knowledge of God through studying the scriptures and spending time in prayer.

The knowledge of God can really be beneficial, not only in this life, but in the life to come.

II.  The Fiery Furnace:  Daniel 3

In this chapter, the king has made a golden statue.  He has commanded that everyone is to bow in worship to this image that he has created.  The penalty for disobedience is to be cast into the fiery furnace.  Daniel’s three friends; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego refused to comply.  They are brought before the king, who gives them another chance, warning them of the consequences of disobedience.   Their reply is found in Daniel 3: 16-17.

  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”

I appreciate the faith that is expressed in this response.  God is able to save them from the fire.  One way or another, they will be delivered from the hand of the king.  Death would be a form of deliverance, or God can save them from the fire.  Either way, they will not worship the idol of gold.

Daniel 3: 19-25

Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22 Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?”

They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”

25 “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

The fourth person is a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ.  In this case, God did deliver them by literally bringing them through the fire.  For all of us, as we experience the various tests and trials of this life, we can be assured that Christ will be with us.  Remember that as Jesus was leaving this earth, He assured His disciples that He would be with them always, “even to the end of the age”.  As He was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, He will be with us in whatever test we might face.

We should continue to pursue the knowledge of God.  As we do, we may rest assured that God is with us.

 

Advertisements

Obey, Pray, and Act

February 25, 2013

Here are the sermon notes from 2/24/13.

Introduction:  I have been reading in Daniel. When most people think of Daniel the first thing that comes to mind is Daniel in the lions’ den.  The second thing that most people would think of is Daniel’s friends and the fiery furnace.  Today’s message is about neither of those, although the first point does come from the story of the lions’ den.

I.  Obedience to God: Daniel 6:10

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.

The king had been convinced to proclaim a law that no one was to petition any man or god, besides himself for thirty days.  The law could not be revoked and the penalty for breaking this law would be to be cast into the den of lions.

Daniel was fully aware of this new law and still prayed in front of an open window three times that day.

Martin Luther, and others have talked about our dual citizenship.  We are members of a kingdom here on earth, and we are members of the kingdom of heaven.  We are to obey the laws of our earthly kingdom.  Even Jesus said that we are to “render to Caesar, the things that are Caesar’s”.

However, if there is a conflict between the laws of the worldly kingdom, and the laws of the heavenly kingdom, we are to obey the laws of God.

II.  Prayer and Trust: Daniel 9:19

 O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

This verse comes at the beginning of a marvelous messianic prophecy.  I love the basic outline of prayer that it gives to us.

O Lord, hear!  God hears our prayers.  We do not have to wake Him up.  We do not have to gain His attention.  He is always listening.  This beginning reminds us of the truth that God does indeed hear our prayers.

O Lord, forgive!  If we think about our country as a whole, there is a lot of sin that needs to be forgiven.  If we think about the Christian church as a whole, there is a lot of sin to be forgiven.  If we are honest, we will recognize that none of us have yet reached perfection.  We fall short in word or deed, or thought;  by what we have done, and by what we have failed to do.  We all need forgiveness,

O Lord, act!  Our God is able to take action in our lives.  He is able to intervene in the activities of this life for our sakes.  He does not simply stand off and watch, He is able to act in the affairs of this world.

III.  Take Action:  Daniel 11:32-33a

Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. 33 And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame;

This verse comes before a prophecy regarding the end times.

The people who know God refers to all of us who are living our lives in a relationship with God.  We can know Him.  It is exciting to know that we can know Him better.  We do not have to remain stagnant in our relationship with God.

We can be strong in the Lord.  Whatever difficulties may come our way, we are able to stand in the day of adversity because we are strengthened by the Holy Spirit.

We will be a people who act.  We are not merely spectators.  We take part in the ongoing work of God in this world.  Even seemingly small things can be great when they are done according to the will of God.

Those who understand will instruct many.  When the day comes, many people will be open to hear the things of God.  Those who know God, and understand will be able to share that faith with many.

Since I was a young boy, I have heard people speak as if the end is near.  Still today, many believe that the closing days of earth’s history are at hand.  They could be right.  Even if they are not, it is important for the people of God to follow the laws of God, to pray and trust, and to take action in times of trouble.