Daniel 1:3-14, 6:3-5: Daniel, “Hitler”, and Faith. Listen to this message here: https://waterloobaptistchurch.org/content/2-10-19-daniel-hitler-and-faith
Scripture Reading: 2nd Peter 2:9-14
Don’t you love that title. The question is this: When God’s man, trust God and acts like he is trusting God, can God deliver him out of temptation. (test, trials, and the temptation to take matters int hi own hand and be his own savior in an evil world). 2nd Peter 2:9 “God knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation.”
Daniel lived in an evil world. Nebuchadnezzar was the Hitler of his day. He was brutal.
Jeremiah 39:6-8 tells us that Nebuchadnezzar took Zedekiah, king of Judah, and killed his family and friends - making him watch and then he put out his eyes. The last thing he saw was the death of those he loved.
Daniel, at this time, had already been taken captive to Babylon from Judah. He had witnessed much horror in the process. The Babylonians intended to brainwash him to be a Babylonian thinking Jew, to help Babylon rule and control the Jewish nation.
As far as the Babylonians were concerned, a call for him to give up his God and his culture.
How would you respond to that? Today’s world says, “Join the resistance.” And God’s answer to that is found in Romans 13:2, “Whosoever therefore resisteth the power resisteth the ordinance of God.” And verse 3 makes it plain that God is talking about Government. And God in verse 5 says that we therefore should be subject to the power. (government)
And Daniel was subject and yet he did not give up his God or character. Daniel was a man of prayer and only by prayer can you ever figure this out.
Do you remember that command in 2nd Peter 1:5 to add to your faith virtue (excellent character) that manifest charity? It took excellent character for Daniel to love his captors and serve them. (the same was true for Joseph).
Romans 13:3, “For rulers are not a terror to good works, (not even evil rulers) but to the evil (that is works that are not demonstrating trust in God) (So Daniel and his friends had to demonstrate trust) (and those rulers do cause us to fear, and yet Paul says) wilt not thou be afraid of the power (referring to God as the source of their power according to verse 1)? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same.” So Daniel and his friends did that which was good (not just refused to sin) and they received praise from evil kings.
Daniel added to his faith by doing that which was good and the very first act of doing that which was good was submitting himself with respect and love to his captors. So did Joseph.
He did this so much so that the prince of the eunuchs who was charged with the young Daniel, favored and loved Daniel. (1:9) And Daniel speaks up and ask to be tested concerning his faith, if God would bless him by not defiling himself as he trained to SERVE the pagans.
(He did not say, “they are corrupt, so I can’t serve them”.)
Read between the lines. You can’t serve them if you are in your face challenging and judging them for what they are doing. THEY WILL BE IN YOUR FACE IN RETURN.
And if it is not a matter of outright sinning on your part, God may not protect you like he did Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (or Joseph).
2nd Peter 2:1-12 says that those who don’t trust God speak evil of dignities (and for Daniel that was his captors).
- These believers make railing accusations against the authorities. It might be true…
But that word “railing” is the word “blasphemy” in the Greek. Not speaking a lie. It is to blaspheme God’s authority and power in the authority by how you speak about them. You blaspheme God when you defame authority. It is a great sin. BLASPHEMY.
- If you are at all humble your response at the least would be “I don’t understand.”
2nd Peter 2:12 says that these carnal Christians speak evil of things that they don’t understand. People who trust God do not speak evil of anyone.
They forget that Proverbs 3:5 says “lean not on your own understanding.” They lean on their own understanding all the time and will fight to defend it.
What is it that they don’t understand?
1. That God calls wicked rulers His “servants”. 3 times God plainly tells his people
that he has given them to Nebuchadnezzar “his servant.” 2nd Kings 24:1, 2nd Kings 25:8 and Jeremiah 27:6. Jeremiah says this. “And now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant…”
This is so hard for God’s people to accept that the prophet Habakkuk, his entire book, is a complaint and protest. “How can God do this with this pagan king and people?”
Habakkuk 1:5,6 “Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you (by God himself). (and that work is done by the Chaldeans.)
For lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land… (v. 7) They are terrible and dreadful.”
2. They don’t understand that God is doing it to purify his people. “To teach them to
only and totally trust in him. And poor Jeremiah had to hear it, not just from God, but from the captain of Nebuchadnezzar’s guard. Jeremiah 40: 2, 3 “The captain of the guard took Jeremiah, and said unto him, the LORD thy God hath pronounced this evil upon this place… because ye have sinned against the LORD...”
3. And they did not understand what God wanted them to do in the trial. That is: “Could God really be telling them to submit to Babylonian rule?” (see 38, 2, 17)
In chapters 38-42 of Jeremiah, God repeatedly commands the people to submit to the Babylonians, quit fighting them, running from them, and serve them as citizens, with the promise that if they do so God will take care of them. In Jeremiah 29:5, 28 the same promise is made to the Jews who had been carried into Babylon already. That included Daniel.
AND GOD’S PEOPLE REFUSE TO SUBMIT. They fight, they flee, they die…
And in the despair of those days, there were those who submitted to and served the Babylonians, because they trusted in God. And God’s people imprisoned them and called them traitors. God names some of them for us. Daniel, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Baruch, and Ebed-melech the Ethiopian Eunuch.
Ebed-melech is the Eunuch that rescued Jeremiah from dying, a horrible death in a “miry cesspool” in the bottom of a dungeon. The princes of Judah had put him there. (ch.38)
God sends this message to Ebed-melech in 39:18. “I will bring evil upon Jerusalem”. And God did. Verse 17 “I will deliver thee in that day… thou shalt not be given into the had of the men of Babylon of whom thou art afraid.”
One of the 3 main driving forces for not submitting to authority (not just pagan authority) is FEAR. Nebuchadnezzar did not hesitate to kill, pillage, burn, and destroy.
Verse 18. God says, “For I will surely deliver thee… because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the LORD.” Not submitting to authority is an evidence of a lack of Biblical faith.
David says this about fear. Psalm 56:3 “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” Not join a political party, the militia, run to Egypt….
The 2nd driving force behind not submitting to authority is pride. In Jeremiah 43:2 the refugees of Judah say to Jeremiah, “Thou speakest falsely”. And the verse describes these men, these refugees, as “all the proud men.” THEY KNOW MORE THAN GOD.
The 3rd driving force for not submitting to authority, for rebelling, is idolatry. In Ezekiel 14, the men of the captivity in Babylon come to Ezekiel hoping that God will let them go back to Judah. Have what they want! Have things the way they used to be! Rather than submit to Babylon and serve Babylon in that place.
Verse 3. “These men have set up idols in their heart (things they won’t give up for God, things they want), and they have put the stumbling block of their iniquity (brokenness) before their face: Should I be enquired of at all by them.”
What they want is stubbornly held on to even when God says “give it up.” And 1st Samuel 15:23 says that “stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”
So, the 3 big reasons for resisting authority, and there may be more are, FEAR, PRIDE, AND STUBBORN IDOLATRY.
You can argue with me all you want about this but the Bible is as clear about this, if not more so, as it is about the importance of marriage.
BACK TO DANIEL
There is one key to Daniel doing well in serving the corrupt government; at least 3 pagan kings made him their right-hand man, and that is this, Daniel was a man of prayer. He didn’t take matters into his own hands, he prayed.
1st Timothy 1 says that we are to pray for all men, and verse 2 says especially for kings and verse 4 says that this is so that all, including kings, might be saved. THAT WAS DANIEL.
In Daniel 6:10 when he knew that an evil law had been passed that would threaten his faith and his life, “he kneeled upon his knees, 3 times day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God.”
In Daniel 9:3-20 he was so concerned about politics that he prayed and fasted for an extended period of time. It is one of the greatest prayers in the Bible.
There are several things remarkable in this prayer.
1. His prayers focus is on his sins and the sins of his people. Not the pagans. Verse 5
“we have sinned.” So often rebellious people cannot even see their own sin. And Daniel includes himself, not just the Jews who defied God. WE ALWAYS HAVE SIN INVOLVED – ME, MYSELF, AND I, AND SO DO YOU, YOURSELF, AND YOU.
2nd Peter 1:9 says that people who struggle with authority (2:10) are blind and have forgotten their sins.
2. In Daniels’ prayer he focuses on God’s mercy and forgiveness. Daniel 9:9 To the LORD our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, Though we have rebelled”.
3. And he asks God to turn from judging his people to making his face to shine on them again. (verse 17).
Daniel 10:2, 3 starts another prayer. 3 weeks long. And God is so pleased that Daniel has turned so completely to him that he says to Daniel in verse 11, ”O Daniel, a man greatly beloved.”
When we learn to submit to imperfect rule out of trust in God we experience a knowledge of the love of God that may not be known any other way.
The opposite of Daniel’s response is rebellion and teaching rebellion in the land. In Jeremiah 28:16 God says to Hananiah, the prophet, the one who defied Jeremiah’s words to submit; God says to him, “Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth… thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the LORD.” NOT AGAINST BABYLON, BUT AGAINST THE LORD.
2nd Peter 2:1 calls people like him false prophets and false teachers. (and ends with it would have been better for him to not have known the way of righteousness as far as this life is concerned). They bring in damnable heresies, ones that deny the Lord. Deny the faith that they claim...
Put simply, “failure to submit to authority is a damnable heresy. According to 2nd Peter 2:1 and it is blasphemy according to 2:11 (railing is blasphemy).
I want you to think on this in closing, Daniel, so much so submitted to the pagan kings that he loved them and cared for their well being. When Nebuchadnezzar had the vision that said he would be as an ox eating grass for 7 years, Daniel says, “My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee… let my counsel be acceptable to thee.”
And when Darius threw Daniel into the lions’ den, Darius so much cared for Daniel that he could not sleep.
Can you get from defiance, fear, rebellion to submission, service, and love for authority?