God’s Man & the Lion’s Mouth
By Bobby Blakey on February 17, 2019
God’s Man & the Lion’s Mouth
By Bobby Blakey on February 17, 2019
This is a rush transcript.
[00:00:02] I invite you to open the Bible and turn with me to Daniel 6, as tonight we are going to study one of the most famous stories in the history of the world, Daniel and the Lion's Den. Spoiler alert.
[00:00:16] He lives, everybody. Now, this is our sixth chapter of Daniel.
[00:00:22] And all six of these chapters have a certain rhythm to them. And so as we get to it now, the sick, even though this is the most famous of the chapters, if you've been with us over the last weeks that we've gone through chapters one to five, you kind of know how one of these chapters is going to go at this point. The king is going to do something foolish. He's going to have a bad dream. He's going to make a statue to himself that everybody has to worship. He's going to take over God's people. The king's going to cause some trouble. That's going to put Daniel and his friends in a life threatening situation. And then they're going to have to step up and God's going to come in and save the day. And usually by the end of the chapter, the king is praising the God of Daniel and his friends as the most high God of heaven and acknowledging that he's the one true God. Except for last chapter where the king died at the end of the chapter. But most of the time they've ended up praising God. And we're gonna see that same outline here in Daniel, Chapter six. But here, here's what's amazing about this chapter. Here's here's what you need to pay attention to is we're going to read through it. It's really trying to highlight who Daniel is. And it's really trying to show us that there's a certain kind of man that God was working with here.
[00:01:42] And so pay attention to as it reveals really more than we've seen before. The character of this man, Daniel. So let's start in verse one. This is Daniel, chapter six, verse one, page 743. If you got one of our Bibles and we have now Derrius, the king of the Medes and the Persians, when he was about 62 years old, he began to be the king. And it says here it pleased Derrius to set over the kingdom. One hundred and twenty say trap's to be throughout the whole kingdom and over them. Three high officials of whom Daniel was one to whom these same traps should give account so that the king might suffer no loss. Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and say trap's because an excellent spirit was in him and the King plan to set him over the whole kingdom.
[00:02:44] So we've seen now the rise of Daniel multiple times. He when he was exiled from being in with God's people in Jerusalem, brought to Babylon and King Nebeker Nasr there. He went to the top of his class. He went to the top of the wisemen. He went up and king them. Wickenheiser exalted him to the second lowest place in the kingdom. And now, even though Babylon is fallen. Guess what's happening in the kingdom of the Medes and the Persians? Daniel's on the rise again. First, he's in the top three. Then even from then, he goes above those guys to the top spot. Next, ticking Dariusz.
[00:03:21] And so God's really using this guy, he's really promoting this guy.
[00:03:25] It's amazing. And King Derrius seems like a pretty smart guy. He understands that that government here has a high temptation to suffer loss. That sounds like a, oh, a wise guy running the government. Like, I know there's corruption in here. I need somebody to keep the corruption down to a minimum. Daniel, you're going to be that guy. Verse four. Then the high officials and the safe traps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom. The politicians here in Medo Persia weren't really happy having an honest man among them.
[00:04:01] And they wanted to find something wrong with Daniel, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault because he was faithful and no error or fault was found in him.
[00:04:15] Then these men said we shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God. That is an amazing statement. We can't find anything wrong with this guy. The only thing this guy does is worship God, and there's nothing else that we can find about him.
[00:04:35] Verse six, then these high officials and say traps came by agreement to the king and said to him, Oh, King Derrius, live forever. All the high officials of the kingdom, the Prefect's and the say traps the counselor's. And the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any God or man for 30 days except to you. Oh, King shall be cast into the den of Lions. Now all King established the injunction. Sign the document so that it cannot be changed according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.
[00:05:12] Therefore, King Dariusz signed the document an injunction. So they make up this whole law just to go after Daniel that no one for 30 days can petition or plea to any God except King Dariusz.
[00:05:26] Verse 10. When Daniel knew that the document had been signed. He went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem.
[00:05:34] He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thinks before his God, as he had done previously. Verse eleven. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God. Then they came near and said before the king concerning the injunction, OKing, did you not sign an injunction that anyone who makes petition to any God or man within 30 days except to you OKing shall be cast into the den of Lions. Remember signing that law? Well, the king answered and said the thing stands fast according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked. Then they answered and said before the King, Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, King, or the injunction you have sign, but makes his petition three times a day. Then the King, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel immediately. The King cares about Daniel. He has favor on Daniel, and he does not want to throw Daniel in the lion's den. Immediately, the king is regretting this and he labored till the sun went down to rescue him. He's looking for a loophole, trying to find a way out for Daniel, verse 15. Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, no, o King, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed. Then the king commanded in. Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The King declared to Daniel, May your God whom you serve, continually deliver you. I mean, this is the king of Medo Persia guy.
[00:07:14] He has he has no reference of the God of Israel your way. But he knows Daniel and he is saying here, hope your God can deliver you.
[00:07:24] That's amazing that this king would say that.
[00:07:26] And a stone was brought and it was laid on the mouth of the Dan, the idea. There's a pit of lions. We throw Daniel down into it. Now we cover it up. And the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signature of his lords that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting. No diversions were brought to him and slept, fled from him. Then at break of day, I mean, as soon as there's light peeking out, the king arose and he went in haste to the den of Lions as he came near to the den where Daniel was.
[00:07:58] He cried out in a tone of anguish.
[00:08:01] And the king declared to Daniel, Oh, Daniel, servant of the living God has your God whom you serve, continually been able to deliver you from the lions.
[00:08:15] So this is verse 21 before we hear Daniel say anything, then Daniel said to the King, Oh, King Live forever. My God sent his angel and shut the lion's mouths. And they have not harmed me because I was found blameless before him and also before you oking.
[00:08:36] I have done no harm. Then the king was exceedingly glad and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel is taken up out of the den and no kind of harm was found on him because he had trusted in his God and the King commanded. And those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions.
[00:09:02] They their children and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.
[00:09:14] Then King Derrius wrote to all the peoples, nations and languages that dwell in all the Earth. This is a worldwide message from the king. Peace be multiplied to you.
[00:09:25] I make a decree that in all my royal dominion, people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God. Enduring forever. His kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues. He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth. He who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.
[00:09:51] So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Daria's and the reign of Cyrus the purge. Now, this guy, Daniel. OK, let's. Let's think this through.
[00:10:04] We know that God is the one who sent an angel to rescue. We've seen that. That's been the theme. God is able to save. That's been one of the main themes we've seen throughout all these chapters in Daniel.
[00:10:16] But this time, as it's even describing God sending an angel to shut the mouth of the lions, look what Daniel says. Go back to verse 22 and look what he says here. And this is bold that Daniel would say this. He says, my God sent his angel and shut the lion's mouths. They have not harmed me. And then he says this because I was found blameless before him.
[00:10:40] Now, when you read that, that might sound like a proud statement if somebody said that here at church tonight. Well, I've been delivered by God. I had this trial and he rescued me because I was blameless before him. You might be thinking, hey, who's this self-righteous person? But here's the thing you got to understand about Daniel. He's not a self-righteous person. He's actually a righteous person. I mean, what we mean here, perhaps even more amazing than God shutting the mouth of the lions, is God having a man who is righteous, who is blameless. I mean, these same traps don't sound like guys you want for enemies.
[00:11:18] You know what I'm talking about.
[00:11:19] I mean, I picture these same traps. I mean, they're doing everything they can to trap Daniel. They want to take this guy down. I think they're like sneaking through his gate into the side yard and go in through his trash.
[00:11:32] You know what I mean?
[00:11:33] I mean, I picture these guys. They've got full surveillance mode going on. They've got his car bugged and they're listening to him. They're hacking his bank account. They're following the money trail. They're seeing where that's going. They're looking up. Internet is stree. I mean, they're looking at every little nook and cranny of Daniel's life. There's got to be something. There's got to be some dirty laundry in there. Something Klodt skeleton in the closet. Can you imagine? I mean, this might be hard for us to believe.
[00:12:01] Can you imagine some kind of leader, a leader in a government or even a leader like a spiritual religious leader? And people are digging in this person's past looking for something bad and there's nothing bad to find.
[00:12:15] That's Daniel.
[00:12:17] A man so righteous, his enemies have to admit there's nothing wrong with him.
[00:12:24] That's why he says God sent his angel to shut the lion's mouth. Because I live blameless before God and even his enemies agree.
[00:12:34] And the king clearly finds favor in Daniel. He doesn't think of anything wrong about Daniel the king. It clearly may be king. Daria's a man of great power and influence, has never had a night where he couldn't sleep, where he didn't want any entertainment like. And then at the morning's light, he like his like is your God whom you serve continually.
[00:12:54] Notice how every time it's like putting some line in there about Daniel. Here's this guy who's blameless, who's righteous, who's serving God. Hey, did God save you because you're always serving him?
[00:13:07] Now, you might think you've had some bad bosses in your life.
[00:13:11] I've definitely had some bad bosses and some of the jobs that I had growing up, people that had unreasonable expectations, people who coerced in my face telling me what a terrible job I was doing. You think you've had bad bosses? Let's just review some of the bosses that Daniel's been working with here in Babylon. A boss who made a statue probably of himself and said, if you drop down and worship it, I'll throw you in a fiery furnace. That sounds like a tough guy to work for, you know what I'm saying?
[00:13:39] How about a boss who takes all of these sacred items that you used in your temple to worship God and then he uses all of these golden vessels that were taken and when they defeated you from the Temple of God and they use them to get drunk.
[00:13:56] That sounds like a bad boss to work for.
[00:13:58] How about a boss who's so foolish that he'll sign something that says nobody can pray to anybody but me for 30 days? You've never had a boss that bad.
[00:14:07] All right. Oh, and by the way, if you do pray to somebody else besides me for 30 days, I throw you in a pit of hungry lions. Ready to devour you before you hit the ground to break all your bones into pieces. And every single time. Where do we see Daniel going?
[00:14:25] So this is really convicting. When I think about some of the bosses who I had and how I said I didn't do well at my job because it was my boss's fault, man, Daniel has one bad boss after another and he's proven himself blameless. And God's lifting him up. And even his bosses who are corrupt have to see not only is Daniel a good guy, but he's that way because of his God. And they end up praising and worshiping his God. This is a guy we need to study as an example to us.
[00:14:54] Go back to versus four and five and look what it looked what it says here about Daniel. And this is now not from his grandma, not from his mom. This isn't his girlfriend's comments about him here, OK? These aren't the people who are biased to root for you, no matter how bad you are or what happens in your life. These are the guys who are trying to take Daniel down. And it says here in verse, For the high officials, the same traps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom.
[00:15:24] But they could find no ground for complaint or any fault because he was faithful and no error or fault was found in him. I mean, these are people looking for something wrong and they can't find it. And then here's the direct quote from the mouth of the sea. Traps through the Holy Spirit to us here tonight. We shall not find any ground for complaint against this, Daniel, unless we find it in connection with the law of his God. This guy is so busy keeping the law of his God that the only thing we will be able to use against him is if we make him obeying the law of his God.
[00:16:08] Something wrong? That's the only way this guy's going to be guilty. The only way we're gonna have a legitimate accusation against him is we're going to have to make it something about how he worships God.
[00:16:20] OK, so we start going through your trash. We're looking at your Internet history. We're into your bank account. We're asking everybody who knows you. What do we dig up on you?
[00:16:31] What kind of accusations could we bring against you? What could we blame you for?
[00:16:36] So this is the story of a man who lives a blameless life before God and man. Point number one, let's get it down like this if you're taking notes.
[00:16:46] Make it your aim to have no blame. Point number one. Make it your aim to have no blame. This is the kind of life that we should all every one of us is one of God's people. We should be inspired to live a blameless life.
[00:17:01] There is no dirt you can dig up on me because it just doesn't exist. It's not there. There is no accusation. Someone could bring against you, not because they don't know about it, but because there's nothing to accuse you of.
[00:17:18] Now, this kind of blameless snice is not just something we meet in this unique character of Daniel. This is actually something that God is looking for in every single one of us, especially those of us that he is going to use to lead his people. He expects that all of the leaders that he's working with will be blameless. Grab your Bible and turn with me to First Timothy, chapter three in the New Testament. And let's apply this directly to our church, to me and you here tonight. First, Timothy, chapter three. And this is a letter written by the apostle Paul, and he's writing to his disciple, Timothy. And Timothy is now a young pastor of a church.
[00:18:05] And he's writing to him and he's pouring out his heart and he's trying to train Timothy up in the ways.
[00:18:11] Now, we're doing something right now called Scripture of the Day who's read reading the scripture of the day with us as anybody reading through it. A little bit of excitement about God's holy scripture here tonight of meager applause for the word of God. We're reading through it. And let me tell you, I've been reading through the Bible at church or supposed to be reading through the Bible, a church for most of my life. And I know how it goes. People get excited about a new reading plan and then that excitement peters out. This has been a really great thing to be a part of the scripture of the day.
[00:18:39] We've been doing that. We started in September. People are still excited about it all the way in February. Are you with me?
[00:18:47] Is there some excitement out there about this? People are still reading.
[00:18:51] And we're getting now to the end of the Book of Acts. And basically, this poor guy, the apostle Paul, because he cares about the gentiles and he's going to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. The Jews are just hating him so much. They have him now in prison and he's in front of the governor and he's chilling. They're in prison now for two years and he's on trial with this accusation and that accusation. None of them legitimate accusations. And when he's defending himself, here's what this man, the apostle Paul, could say. Here's how he would start his defense. He'd throw it out in the middle of his defense. He would say, hey, before God, I have kept my conscience clean.
[00:19:29] He would say, I always take pains to have a clean conscience before God and before men. Hey, you guys want to come and accuse me? That's fine. But let me tell you a principle that I lived my all my life by. I always keep my conscience clean. And what that means is I don't do anything I know is wrong. I don't lie to myself. I don't allow myself to get away with it. I don't act like sin is okay in my life if I know it's wrong. I keep my conscience clean and I don't do it. And that's the way I live before God. And that's the way I live. Before other people. So you guys want to accuse me? That's fine. But there's nothing there to accuse me of.
[00:20:05] That's what he's saying. A man who can say that his conscience is clean. Can you say that here tonight?
[00:20:12] Can you say in front of a holy God who sees all he sees through your bones straight to your soul? Can you say you've got nothing to hide?
[00:20:19] Can you see that in front of your spouse? Four of your family in front of your friends, your roommates? Can you say there's nothing you could find out about me that would change the way you would think about me?
[00:20:31] There's nothing that I'm doing that I know is wrong. My conscience is clean. I. God sent his angel and the mouth the lion's mouth was shut. And it's cause he found me blameless before him.
[00:20:43] That's a powerful statement. We could use more people talking like Daniel and talking like Paul in the world today.
[00:20:50] More people who can honestly say not because they're boasting or they're proud, but because it's the facts of their life. I'm not doing anything I shouldn't be doing.
[00:21:00] That's great to hear. And now he wants to teach Timothy about the pattern of leadership in the church. And look what he says first, Timothy, chapter three, verse one. OK, so now we're. Now we're not talking about ancient times of biblical characters. This is the principle for as long as there is time among the people of God, the Church of Jesus Christ. It says the saying is trustworthy. If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.
[00:21:29] So overseer is one of the words we use. The most common word that we use today is pastor. But you could use the word elder or you could use the word overseer of these three words in the Greek New Testament are all describing the same man who is the leader of the church. And this is what it says about this man. You want to be one of these guys? One of these leaders in the church out there preaching the word of God? Well, verse two, therefore, an overseer must be underline it, write it down above reproach.
[00:22:00] That's what it says.
[00:22:02] If somebody is going to stand up and they're going to be a pastor and elder, an overseer, unofficial leader in the Church of God, that person better be above reproach. And reproach means an accusation. I mean, something I could bring against them. And the leaders in the church have to be people that nothing can accuse them. Nobody could accuse them of something. All leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ are supposed to be blameless. Supposed to have clean conscience is just like Daniel and Paul.
[00:22:31] That's what it says, in fact, it says he's supposed to be the husband of one wife for a one woman, kind of a man.
[00:22:37] So clearly he has to be a man to be a pastor. That's one thing this is saying, sober minded, self controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach.
[00:22:47] And then here's a bunch of things he can't be not a drunkard, not violent, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well with all dignity, keeping his children submissive for as someone does not know how to manage his own household. How will he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, can't be a new Christian. Or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.
[00:23:12] Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, even people outside the church.
[00:23:17] Even corrupt kings must be able to see the character of this man so that he may not fall into disgrace into a snare of the devil. Now, maybe you're still thinking, well, a good thing. I'm not one of the pastors around here. I don't have to live up to that standard. That's not for me. Well, actually, let's just keep reading here. Look at verse eight. It says Deakins, likewise. Must be dignified.
[00:23:42] Now, who are deacons, deacons or other leaders in the church?
[00:23:46] Deacons or people who officially serve in a role in the church as a representative of of Jesus Christ deacons? So not just the pastors, but also other official servants in the church, ministry leaders, deacons. Likewise, must be dignified, not double tongued. That's saying one thing to your face and something else behind your back. Not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with they. What does it say there with a clear conscience.
[00:24:18] Now, we've got a bunch of deacons here tonight.
[00:24:21] I'll tell you what. Anybody who serves on staff here at this church, anybody who leads a fellowship group here at this church, we consider them a deacon. If they're a man, a deaconess if they're a woman, and we hold them to this standard of living with a clear conscience before God. So it's not just three of us pastors. No, it's everybody who's a leader here at this church. That's the standard that we must be held to. And if they don't live up to that standard. One of the things I regularly pray for this church there, there's anybody in leadership around here who's not living up to it. Let it be exposed. Let it be made.
[00:24:54] No. And let them be removed from the leadership, because this is how it has to be. They got to have a clear conscience and let them also be tested first.
[00:25:05] People walk in, they say, put me in a position of leadership. No, they've got to be tested. They've got to prove themselves.
[00:25:11] Then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves. What does it say? They're.
[00:25:19] So this is not some expectation of ancient Bible characters that we could never relate to. This is the expectation right here at our church and God is demanding that the pastors, the leaders on that level be blameless. He's demanding the deacons and the leaders on that level be blameless. But I think it's really God's desire that all of his people would be blameless.
[00:25:44] Like, why would you know that's the standard that God wants for his people and shoot for something less than the standard that God has?
[00:25:52] It doesn't make sense.
[00:25:54] I mean, this is clearly the kind of man that God is looking for, the kind of man that God wants to lead his people, the kind of man that God is going to change the world with is a man who was blameless before God and men.
[00:26:08] That's who he's looking for. He's looking for that. That kind of man, that kind of woman, that kind of young person. And when he has them, he'll use them to do great things.
[00:26:18] The eyes of the Lord are searching to and fro over the whole earth, looking for someone who's walk is blameless, that God might show strong support to that person. Do you want the strong support of God? Make it your aim. To have no blame.
[00:26:34] You should be striving to be a blameless person. That should be a goal for every one of us.
[00:26:39] Now go back. Go back, because there's something I think that was key. Go back to Daniel six, because I think there's something that was really key for him to being blameless. And this is the thing that they noticed about him as they're basically spying on him, say, trap Stockham thing going on here and medo Persia. I mean, it feels like they're just following him around. It feels like they're spying on him from other roofs. They're looking in through his open window to see what's going on.
[00:27:07] I mean, they know I mean, it's pretty clear here as it describes it. Look at verse 10. This is Daniel six, verse 10. When Daniel knew that the document had been signed. He went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.
[00:27:28] OK. And then somehow they know he's doing that.
[00:27:32] Now it does. I don't think Daniel was acting like a Pharisee. I don't think he's praying on the street corner, lifting up his hands, shouting with a loud voice so everybody will think, whoa, look at Daniel. He's out there praying. What a righteous guy. No, he's going into his room.
[00:27:45] This is his secret place. This is where he goes to meet with God.
[00:27:51] And the fact that he does it with an open window towards Jerusalem shows that he's in exile in a foreign land and he believes that God is going to lead his people back.
[00:28:01] And he's praying with faith. Looking forward to that, we're going to see that prayer get answered. And Daniel, Chapter nine.
[00:28:07] He's getting down on his knees. That's that's about his reverence. That's about his.
[00:28:11] Of God. That's about the reality that he is coming into the presence of the most high God of heaven and even physically. He wants to put himself in a position of submission as he comes into the presence of God. And then it says he does this three times a day.
[00:28:27] And it's like he does this, like this is the pattern. Three times a day. He's praying. He's giving thanks.
[00:28:33] And this is what he had been doing when they make a law against it. He keeps doing it. And these guys, they've spied on his life. They've been creepers. They've been looking in. And here's what they found out. This guy is a man of prayer.
[00:28:49] Three times a day, the guy prays.
[00:28:54] And they have to make a law against praying to get Daniel to be guilty of something. And I wonder how many people in this room right now here tonight are guilty of prayer.
[00:29:06] I wonder if we followed you around with recording devices, video and and electronic surveillance, and we could see what you see on your screen. Well, we're. You're looking at it on your phone. We could see literally how you spend every minute of your day. Would we be thinking you're a person of prayer?
[00:29:25] That's what the sea traps concluded about Daniel. This guy loves to pray. He does it three times a day, we got to make praying illegal. If this guy's going to get busted. I mean, that's amazing.
[00:29:41] That's an example right there. Now, where do we get this idea of praying three times a day where I get the idea of the open window? I get the idea of bouncing the knees and in kind of a physical posture, representing how I how I'm approaching God in my heart. I get the idea of the window towards Jerusalem with the hope of going back there. But where do we get this? Three times a day will turn with me to Psalm 55. I need everybody to see this Psalm 55. I don't know if you're familiar with this Psalm of David, Psalm 55. We're going to look at it on page 476 if you got one of our Bibles.
[00:30:19] But this is a Psalm of David. And what's interesting is the context of the psalm is that David is having a hard time and he's surrounded by enemies.
[00:30:30] And the really brutal thing about David's situation when he writes this song is some of these enemies who surrounded him were his friends who have now betrayed him, who've now stabbed him in the back.
[00:30:43] We know that David became great friends with Jonathan King. Saul's son David won a great victory for Israel when he defeated Goliath and King Saul. I gave him a reward and acknowledged him. And then King Saul turned against David and wanted to kill him.
[00:31:01] We know that later in David's life, when he was king and he was reigning his own son, Absolom rose up against him and tried to take the kingdom from his own father.
[00:31:15] And David, this song is written out of one of those times where someone that he cared about, someone that he loved, someone that he thought was on the same team, is now coming after him as an enemy to kill him.
[00:31:29] And he goes before the Lord in prayer and the whole psalm as a prairie says, give ear to my prayer, o God, hide not yourself from my please attend to me. Answer me. I'm complaining. I'm moaning like he's having such a hard time and he's just begging God to listen to this prayer. Now, Liquidy says here in verse 16. This is the worst. We want to really pay attention to Psalm 55 16. He's talking about the enemies all around him, his friends who have now betrayed him. If it was just my enemies, it would be OK. But it was you, my equal, my companion, my friend. We used to take sweet counsel together. And now you're coming after me. Verse 16. But I call to God and the Lord will save me.
[00:32:13] Evening and morning.
[00:32:16] And at noon I utter my complain and moan. And he hears my voice. He redeems my soul and safety from the battle that I wage. For many are arrayed against me.
[00:32:30] God will give ear and humble them. He who is enthroned from of old because they do not change and do not fear God.
[00:32:40] So when David is surrounded by enemies, he calls to God because clearly he believes that prayer works. He believes that prayer makes a difference. He believes there is real power. When we pray.
[00:32:51] Because when I call to God, he will save me. And I'm surrounded by enemies. I'm in a difficult place.
[00:32:59] And so evening, morning and noon, remember, in the Jewish calendar, the day begins in the evening time.
[00:33:08] So that's why he gives that one first. I got enemies coming after me. They're trying to take my life. So I'm going to pray at nighttime. I'm going to pray in the morning time. I'm going to pray in the noontime because there can be no time. I'm not prayed up or these enemies are going to come in and get me.
[00:33:24] And then he has confidence that God will redeem his soul, that God will watch over him, that it will actually be the enemies of God who end up defeated and those on the Lord's side will prevail in victory.
[00:33:37] This is where I think perhaps Daniel.
[00:33:40] When he was exiled, taken out of Jerusalem, taken to Babylon, where his life was threatened over and over again by his captors, I wonder if he remembered this Psalm of David. And that's when he started thinking, I got enemies all around me. I can have no time where I'm not prayed up, where I'm not ready to go. I got to pray.
[00:34:00] Evening and morning and noon because I know my God will save me.
[00:34:06] So by the time we get to the Lion's Den, it's not the young man, Daniel, that's getting thrown down there. Noah Daniels, an old man at this point. And I think that Daniel has been praying like his life was on the line for years before he's ever tossed in the lion's den. So you maybe you don't think your life is on the line. Maybe you don't think there's lions prowling around looking for someone to devour.
[00:34:35] Maybe you think you're fine. And all is well. Daniel. He didn't think that way.
[00:34:43] I mean, I would imagine that there's a real connection between being blameless and praying three times a day. Can everyone see how those two things might really work together if you prayed? If you really poured out your heart to God every evening as the sun was going down, and then every morning when the sun comes up, you rise up again and you pour out your heart to God.
[00:35:05] And then halfway through the day, you stop what you're doing. You go back to your secret place and you pour out your heart to God and you bring all your requests before him again and you lift up his name and say hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done. And you're really getting the thoughts of God in your head and you're asking him to do things three times a day. When do you have time to sit?
[00:35:30] I mean, here I know how it works for me when I get to spend time in the secret place, hopefully you've got a secret place, hopefully you've got a way that you pray Jesus expected. He said when you pray, you go into the secret place. You close the door and it's you and the father there in secret. And the father who sees you there and seek a secret. He will reward you openly. Jesus didn't say if you pray. He said when you pray, the expectation from God for his people is that all of us would talk to him and pray. And I know that when I pray, when I meet with God in the secret place and I pour out my heart and I lift up my requests and I get my mind focused on who he is. And I'm asking for his glory to be known for him to save people, for him to build his church. When I walk out of the secret place, I'm not thinking about sinning. Can I get any man from anybody on that? Here's a real simple remedy to fight the sin in your life. More time in the secret place means less time to sin. No wonder we got so many sinning Christians when we got so few prayer warriors among us. No wonder we have so few people who could say, I feel blameless before God and before men when they so little pray.
[00:36:43] There's a direct connection between these two things you need to make prayer, your priority, let's get that down four point number two. You need to make prayer your priority.
[00:36:52] Let's just ask specifically if you are blameless when it comes to prayer. Let me ask you this question and here's a question. I would would encourage you that from this night forward, you need to be able to answer this question. Right. Is God pleased right now with how you pray?
[00:37:12] Are you praying right now the way you know, you should be praying?
[00:37:18] I grove, I've grown up here at the church and I have met so many people who I will admit freely, quickly.
[00:37:26] They aren't. They know they should be praying more and a different way than they are praying. But they are doing nothing about actually praying the way that they know they should be praying.
[00:37:37] They have accepted prayer lessness as the ongoing pattern in their life.
[00:37:43] If you accept prayer lessness in your life, you will compromise with sin in your life. They will go hand in hand.
[00:37:51] When you pray to God, you will confess your sins to him.
[00:37:55] When you open up your heart before him, your iniquities, your trespass will be exposed and you will find confession. You will find forgiveness. You will find repentance. You will find the power and ability to say no to temptations and say yes to obedience. In Jesus Christ, when you pray.
[00:38:16] I wonder this guy was blameless before God. He was praying three times a day. And who knows how long he was doing it? He was doing long enough that his enemies had to make it illegal to get him into trouble.
[00:38:30] Evening. Morning. And noon.
[00:38:33] That's what it says here in Sawm, 55. So is Daniel some kind of super Christian hero person or his he actually an example for ordinary people like you and me?
[00:38:49] That's the question we have to really get to.
[00:38:53] We know all of us know here that none of us are perfect. Can I get any Amen from anybody on that one? All right.
[00:39:00] We know we're not perfect, but yet we're hearing clearly a standard, a calling here tonight to live blameless or above reproach or to have a clean conscience. So this is something all of us need to have understood in our head. As long as I'm here, in this body, in this world, I will sin. I will not be perfect. But the god of heaven, who has saved me, who has given me eternal life outside of space and time. He is calling me to be blameless and above reproach. And he wants me to walk before him with a clean conscience. So how do y as a sinful man walk before God in a way that is blameless? This is something we really need to think about.
[00:39:45] Turn within the Hebrews chapter for Hebrews Chapter four.
[00:39:49] I want to strongly encourage you not to be a Christian who is okay with sin in their life. The argument that I hear many times is, well, I'm not perfect.
[00:39:58] Nobody's perfect. And the implied statement after that is and because I'm not gonna be perfect, I might as well sin. Because after all, who's perfect?
[00:40:11] No, because on the Bible actually flips that thought around completely the opposite, because I'm not perfect.
[00:40:18] God's calling me to live to a standard Jesus says, if you love me, you will obey my commandments. There's a verse in Hebrews that says, without holiness, no one will see the Lord. The scripture is always calling us to live up to God's standard, even though we do have sin in our lives. So how does sinful people deal with their sin in such a way that they can walk blameless? That's how we should be thinking about it.
[00:40:44] We shouldn't be comparing ourselves to our old sinful nature, we should be seeing ourselves as new creations in Christ who are on our way to eternity, where we will be perfect and we want to live more like Christ. Now.
[00:40:59] That's the goal for Christian people.
[00:41:02] Yes, we are saved completely by God's grace. Apart from any works that we do, but what that Grace does in the heart of those of us who have been saved is that Grace teaches us to be zealous for good works. It teaches us to walk in God's ways. It actually gives us the strength and the power in our life to say no to. On godliness and to live with self-control.
[00:41:27] That's what does. It equips the believer to obey God. And if you have the grace of God in your life. You have the power working in you. To walk blameless before him.
[00:41:43] And look at Hebrews Chapter four. Here's the way you and I are going to have to learn how to pray and specifically how we're praying. Who were praying through look what it says. Hebrews, four, 14, says, Since then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens. Jesus the son of God. Let us hold fast our confession. Hey, keep livin the Christian life. Keep livin for Jesus Christ, because Jesus Christ is perfect and the life that you now have is in Christ. And he now is your high priest, standing at the right hand of God, representing you in the presence of God. And then it says this here in verse fifteen four. We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses.
[00:42:29] Jesus Christ understands what it means to be a human being and to be tempted to sin.
[00:42:37] He understands us. As sinner's.
[00:42:42] No, he knows what it's like to be tempted.
[00:42:44] He has here he can sympathize, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are yet without sin.
[00:42:55] There's our standard.
[00:42:56] There's our example, that's the one every time we pray to God, we're praying through Jesus Christ. And there is no temptation that you will ever have in your life that Jesus Christ has not also had. And yet he went through that temptation without sinning. And when you pray, you pray in the name of Jesus. You pray through the high priest.
[00:43:17] Jesus Christ. He's the one interceding for you, one who knows what you're going through, but never once gave into it. And if you're PRAnd if you're going to the father in the name of Jesus and the one who can sympathize with your weakness but never once sinned, and he's the one interceding to the father on your behalf, do you think that's going to make a difference in how you live?
[00:43:42] Second, to make a difference in how you reject that temptation. And turn to the Lord, it says, then in verse sixteen, let us then, man, if we have such access to God, we have such a high priest, if he can sympathize. Yet he never sinned.
[00:43:57] Let us then, with confidence, draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. You have direct access to God who reigns in holy splendor.
[00:44:15] And you can go to him any time. And as you go to him, you will find mercy to forgive you for your sins and you will find grace in your time of need so that you do not continue in sin.
[00:44:27] That's what it's saying here.
[00:44:30] There is great power, there is great victory, win God's people pray to him. When we come to him in the name of Jesus, and we receive his mercy and his grace. I want you to test it. I want you to try it. I want you to be inspired by Daniel and say, OK, I'm going to pray more and see if I sin less. Let's try to. Man, if we could really get PRAnd as a church, we'll see some exciting things happen as God answers our prayers, as God conforms us into the image of Jesus. And as we walk blameless before him.
[00:45:09] Go back to Daniel six, because it's not just all about Daniel. Even though this statement that he is blameless and his enemies can find nothing wrong with him is an amazing thing. But, Daniel, let's focus on what he says in verse 22, because he says something here that's that's interesting. That's going to show up later. The second half of Daniel is going to be a little bit different in the first half. So this is the halfway part that we're coming to.
[00:45:35] And Daniel, and we've had these narratives of what happened to Daniel and his friends and the kings they interacted with. But in the second half, it's going to emphasize more the prophecies of Daniel and the things that he saw, the visions and even some of the prayers that Daniel prayed. So we see the habit of prayer here in Chapter six. We're actually going to get to study one of Daniel's prayers in Daniel, Chapter nine. But something that we're going to see when Daniel prays and Daniel Chapter nine in response to his prayer, an angel shows up. And that's what Daniel says happens here in verse 22. My God sent his angel and shut the lion's mouths.
[00:46:21] So Daniel is very specific about this. And the question is, has your God, whom you, sir, serve continually been able to save you? Has your God saved you? Dariusz running in the morning. He's praying Daniel's alive. Sounds like he's beginning to believe in the living God himself as he's running to see if God has saved Daniel.
[00:46:43] Has your God been able to save you? And Daniel is very clear that God, the way God saved him from the mouth of the lines is he sent an angel.
[00:46:54] OK. Now, I don't know how much you think about Angels'.
[00:46:57] So I saw some angels around Valentine's Day. They were kind of they were kind of fat and chubby and shoot and little arrows. You know what I'm talking about. I don't know how much you think about angels. Maybe some people think about angels way too much. Maybe some of us don't think about them that much at all.
[00:47:13] But one thing that is clear in the teaching of scripture is that God has armies of angels at his command and he sends them to do whatever he wants. And one of the things that God sends angels to do is to minister to his people.
[00:47:33] That's Hebrews 114, if you want to write that down.
[00:47:36] The one of the things that angels do is they minister to the saints, to those who are going to inherent salvation. There are angels that God is sending to deliver and protect his people. And an angel came and close the lion's mouth. Now, once you start thinking about angels and lions and you start studying scripture, it gets really interesting. Real quick, turn with me to Psalm 34. And I want to encourage you to read this whole psalm this week to really meditate on Psalm 34 this week, because you're going to see that God is ready to do amazing things, but that also that God is expecting his people.
[00:48:19] There's promises of what God's going to do for his people, but that God has an expectation that his people would live a certain way, a blameless, righteous, fearing God kind of a way. And as you study Psalm 34 this week, you're going to see that the story of Daniel and what happens to him, the principles of that, that God wants us to be blameless and God is going to save and rescue his blameless ones. That's not just something that happened one time with Daniel. No, that's what Psalm 34 is promising to all of God's people. And look what happens right here in Psalm 34, verse seven. Look what it says. Psalm 34, verse seven. And just read a few versus here with me, Psalm 34 seven, the angel of the Lord in camps around those who fear him and delivers them, the angel of the Lord and camps surrounds. There are like Angel for Shields or something like that surrounding those who fear God.
[00:49:23] There's angels surrounding them, ready to deliver them. Oh, it says this. This is getting really exciting here in verse eight. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.
[00:49:33] Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Oh, fear the Lord. You his saints. For those who fear him have no lack.
[00:49:42] The young lions suffer, want and hunger. But those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
[00:49:53] Does that verse take on a whole new meaning when you think about Daniel in the Lion's Den right there? Do you think that maybe Daniel knew that verse when they made the law about getting thrown into the lion's den? Do you think that's why he immediately lions? That sounds dangerous. I better go home and seek the Lord. Do you think that's what he thought? Look at that, young lions. Young lions who we know are made to and they're are king of the jungle, right?
[00:50:24] They'll feast on anyone in the jungle they want. No. Even young lions lack even young lions want and suffer hunger. But let me tell you who's not lacking any good thing. Those who seek the Lord. How do you seek the Lord?
[00:50:39] You seek him in prayer. That's amazing. There's angels surrounding those who fear the Lord and those who seek the Lord. They're going to have more good things than the lions out there.
[00:50:52] A solid 91 look at what it says here in Psalm 91. Grab your Bible. Turn over there with me. Psalm 91. It talks about here, angels again here and Psalm 91, eleven, Psalm 91, 11, we don't know who wrote this psalm here, doesn't give us the author of this song, but it does say this, which is starting to sound very similar. We're starting to see a pattern here.
[00:51:17] Psalm 91 eleven for he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Okay.
[00:51:27] God is in heaven doing whatever he pleases down here on earth. And one of the things that it pleases God to do is he commands angels. Concerning it says you. And this is written to the people of God here to guard you in all your ways. Angels are there are guardian angels. Now, some people think that means everybody's got their own particular angel that's guarding over them. It doesn't exactly say that, but it does say that angels are guarding God's people.
[00:51:57] First 12 on their hands, they will bare you up, Lesters, you strike your foot against a stone, it's like even physically they're being there to protect you, perhaps even from physical danger.
[00:52:10] And then it says this. In verse 13, you will tread on the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent. You will trample underfoot.
[00:52:21] What is going on? We got God's people walking on top of lions and snakes.
[00:52:28] Why? Because they've got angels guarding them.
[00:52:33] Do you see that scripture has already said how this is going to work? The people of God are so secure they have angels guarding them that even lions the most dangerous beast on earth.
[00:52:45] Even lions can't get to God's people because they are protected by angels. And then, Daniel, maybe if Daniel Foley knew this was gonna happen before it ever did.
[00:52:55] Based on these scriptures. And said, hey, King, let me tell you how this works. My God, he sends angels to protect us from the mouth of lions. That's what he does, because I'm blameless before him, because I seek him, because I'm one of his people. This is how God protects his people.
[00:53:13] That's what he's saying to the king.
[00:53:15] He said, hey, there's a principle in scripture that has now happened in my life. Maybe when we think of the famous story of Daniel in the Lion's Den, we think of this crazy thing that happened. But now as we're reading through scripture. Wow, this is actually how God works. This is actually his plan all along. He's commanding guardian angels to go out and deliver his people. Even lions and snakes won't get to his people.
[00:53:40] We're gonna read if you're reading through acts with us and you're seeing this man, Paul, who's on trial. But his conscience is clean. A snake is going to come out and bite him. And everybody's gonna be shocked because that snake surely should have killed him and he is going to live.
[00:53:55] And we're seeing, wow, there's a connection here.
[00:53:58] In fact, when when Paul is finally killed, when he finally gets to Rome and he finally stands before Caesar, the last letter that he writes in his life, he says, hey, I was here on trial and I was here by myself and even some of my close friends, even some of those that I thought were with me, they deserted me. May the Lord not counted against them. And he says, I was here, but you know who was with me? The Lord stood by me. The Lord strengthened me. And you know what the Lord did for me?
[00:54:25] He rescued me from the lion's mouth. It's one of the last word Palls writes. He rescues me from the lion's mouth. There is a lion who is prowling around and he is looking for someone like you to devour and God will send his angels to guard you from the lion. Point number three. Trust the one who sends angels. That's the one you want to trust. The God who has angelic armies at his command and will command them to go and guard and protect his people. Don't put your hope in money. Don't put your hope and happiness.
[00:55:10] Don't put your hope and help put all of the hope that you've got in the Lord and see Kim in prayer.
[00:55:18] See Kim until you find him. Seek him until you live blameless before him.
[00:55:25] And watch how God you will lack. No good thing there.
[00:55:29] He will deliver you. He will rescue you. See, I think that with the story of Daniel in the Lion's Den, the story of the apostle Paul being rescued from the lion's mouth. This is the story of God's people who are blameless before him. This could be your story as you seek the Lord as you walk before him. Let me pray and then we're going to respond to God with some worship here tonight.
[00:55:53] Father, God, we thank you for this story. But God, I pray that we would not act here tonight. Like all I know about that story. Daniel in the Lion's Den. I know all about it. Got here's the things we want to know. We want to know what it means to be blameless before you, Father. We want to know what it's like to seek you in the secret place of prayer so that it feels like we're having an ongoing conversation with you throughout the day. So there's no time to be thinking about sin. There's no time to be caught up in worldly things because we're setting our mind on you and the things above.
[00:56:31] Father, I pray for my brothers and sisters that we will leave here tonight, not burdened, but inspired by the example of Daniel. Inspired by the fact that you were calling all of us to live blameless, to live with a clear conscience, to be above reproach.
[00:56:48] And we need to seek you in prayer, that we need to seek you. Until we find you. God help us to believe.
[00:56:56] To taste and to see that you are good and that you are worthy of our trust. And that to all who seek you, we will lack. No good thing that you have right now in heaven at your right hand. There is a great high priest. And high priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses, but yet never once Sandin, he stands righteous there before you in our place. And we can come and pray to you in the name of Jesus. And as we pray, we receive mercy and forgiveness for all of our sins. And we find grace in our time of need so that we can say no to temptation and sin no more. Thank you for the ability that we have to pray to you to come into your presence. God, let us use that. Let us make the most of that opportunity. God, thank you for this amazing thought. That's hard for us to comprehend because we can't see it. We just read about it in your word that you sent angels to surround us, that even as we're here tonight. Angels are ministering to your saints and guarding us and God, we don't fully know what that involves. But we believe your word, God. We see that you are the God of angel armies and you are by our side. And if you are with us, who can stand against desolate US walkout blameless before you let us confess our sins. Let us walk in a way where we are right with you and let us seek you in prayer. God, please make us your people. Encourage us tonight. We pray in Jesus name and everyone, said a man.
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