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October 25, 2020 | Doug Sauder
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This past weekend, we kicked off “Revealer of Mysteries: A Study Through Daniel” as Pastor Doug shared from Daniel 1, 2 Chronicles 36, and Jeremiah 28. In this message, we discovered that God's purposes will always prevail, that God has a purpose for each and every one of us, and that strong godly convictions can lead to breakthrough in the lives of others.
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God’s Purposes Always Prevail (Daniel 1:1–2; 2 Chronicles 36:15–22): God’s people were sorely defeated and taken into captivity. They were made servants of another empire. Was God defeated? No, He wasn’t. The fact is, for so long, the people had broken the covenant God made with Moses. They were disobedient, they were idolatrous, and they were wicked. So, He removed His hand of blessing from them and allowed them to be taken into captivity. He allowed them to experience the consequences for their wickedness and rebellion. But here’s the thing about God . . . nothing is ever wasted! The Lord was going to use His people’s failures for greater purposes. As He did with Joseph’s brothers, His plan was to redeem and use for good the wickedness of His people.
Are you having trouble figuring out what God is doing in your life? Are you unsure of why certain things are taking place in your life? Why is God allowing circumstances to unfold as they are? Maybe it’s the consequence of sin. But maybe it’s not. Maybe, like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you’ve purposed in your heart to be faithful and honor the Lord and live with conviction. So, it may seem right to ask, “God, why am I still experiencing these difficult circumstances even though I have been faithful and have humbly served you?” There is no easy answer except to be assured that He is faithful, He is sovereign, He is kind, and He works all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His great purposes, which always prevail (Romans 8:28). Know that even when it doesn’t seem like it, He is indeed working and sovereignly orchestrating for your good and His glory. So, whether it’s the consequences of sin or simply part of God’s will, we can walk through the valley of the shadow of death and fear no evil. We can sit at a table in the presence of our enemies because He has prepared it for us. We can take full comfort and confidence in His rod and staff.
Conviction Leads to Breakthrough (Daniel 1:3–8, 9–14; Jeremiah 29:4–7; Romans 12:2): Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and 10,000 more of the best, brightest, and most noble and royal Jewish youth were brought to Babylon in service of King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian Empire where they promptly began a program of indoctrination and assimilation. They were taught a completely new worldview, were exposed to new, sinful things, and given a new identity. Daniel (“God is my judge”) saw his name changed to Belteshazzar (“Bel is my god”), as did Hannaniah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abednego). The point is they now belonged to Babylon.
It’s here where we truly see what it means to be in the world but not of the world. These Jewish youths had a choice: 1) To accept their new identities and give in to what the world (their culture) was telling them about themselves, or 2) to hold strong to who the Lord God said they were and live with conviction in a sinful culture. They had the choice between being the thermostat or the thermometer. Daniel and his friends did not conform to the pattern of this world, they did not bow a knee before the culture they were made captives of, instead they purposed in their hearts to honor the Lord and live without compromise.
Daniel and his friends didn’t resist their new names or education because they knew WHO they were and WHOSE they were. You see, youu can change a person’s name but you can never take their true identity away. And guess what? Their conviction and resolve to not sin before God or defile themselves through compromise led to breakthrough and change in the lives of others. They made a real difference by being obedient and faithful to the Lord.
God Honors Those Who Honor Him (Daniel 1:15–21): These men were in Babylon, but they were not of Babylon. They stood out from the crowd because they didn’t compromise. They prospered in captivity and found great favor with their overseer and even the king because they lived a life that honored the Lord, that kept His commandments, and that wasn’t about them. By doing so, they showed us that honoring the Lord and living life as He created us to live it, putting Him first and walking in His ways, even in bondage, even in slavery and captivity, can lead to prosperity.
Maybe that prosperity doesn’t look like what the world views as prosperity—after all, they were still in captivity and subject to a foreign king and empire. Maybe that prosperity doesn’t involve a fat bank account, worldly power, a fancy title, or anything else the world would deem valuable. Maybe that prosperity takes place in chains. Maybe that prosperity and those riches and blessings are spiritual and eternal . . . a prosperity of the soul that is satisfied with the Lord.
Like Daniel, we too live in Babylon in a sense. We live in a culture that seeks to lead us away from Jesus, that seeks to indoctrinate us, and tempt us, and distort everything that is true and pure and from God. We live in a culture that seeks to do away with God in the hearts and minds of everyone. We live in a culture of compromise. May we be a people who remember who we truly are; may we remember that we belong to God, bought with the blood of Jesus, and we should live with purpose and conviction. May we stand strong and stand out so that the Lord may use us to bring breakthrough and life-change all around us!
Quote to Remember: If you know who you are, you will know what to do.—Pastor Doug Sauder
Join us this Wednesday as we dive deeper into the topic of convictions and Daniel 1.
Then on the weekend, Pastor Chris Baselice of our Plantation campus will take us through Daniel 2. In this message, we’ll examine the dream God gave Nebuchadnezzar, the situation surrounding it, and the interpretation of it. We’ll also explore the revelation of God and how we can walk in the dreams He gives us!