08.4 Revelation – A Bigger Kingdom

A Bigger Kingdom

We live in a time with few conquering kings, so we lack reference for the magnitude of the time and area that Daniel was in.

Daniel’s home was conquered by Babylon.  When we open in the beginning of the book of Daniel, the ruler is King Nebuchadnezzar.  In Daniel 5, his son Belshazzar was king, but the writing was on the wall for his demise.  In Daniel 6, Daniel is still in the inner circle even after the kingdom was conquered by the Persian/Medes and King Darius, a King in the Achaemenid Empire.  Not only has Daniel remained across these changes in rulers (something unparalleled even in our modern businesses and governments where successors tend to bring in their own cabinets and advisors), He has grown in favor and authority.

The scale of this empire is hard to comprehend.  During the time of King Darius, it comprised about 8.5 Million sq km.  In comparison, the continental United States is 8 Million sq km.  Even more impressive is that King Darius ruled over 44.5% of the world’s population, roughly equal to China, India and all of Europe combined.  All with no automobiles or planes and communication consisted of sending a messenger running with a scroll of paper.

This king was putting Daniel in charge over all the Satraps (governors) of the entire kingdom.  This king fasted the night Daniel spent in the lion’s den.  This king cried out in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”  This king called all of his people to fear and reverence of God; “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end.”  This king saw that the God of Daniel was a bigger King of Kings with a bigger kingdom.

Daniel gave one of the greatest witnesses to God the world has ever experience by going up to his room and praying.  God does not need us to demonstrate His authority, but when we are faithful He grants us the honor of being at the center of demonstrating His power.  Are you willing to follow the model of Daniel?  Will you pray morning, noon and night?  Will you trust in God, even when you are falsely accused?

My Answers:

8.
Set up satraps over 120 divisions of the kingdom with 3 administrators (Daniel was one), Daniel distinguished himself and was going to be named over all – jealousy – couldn’t find any wrong in him.  Only thing “unless it has something to do with the law of his God” – they got the king to pass a law outlawing Daniel praying to God – Daniel did not stop – convicted

9.
Convicted, Darius prayed and fasted that God would save Daniel, He was saved, those who falsely accused him were killed, decree issued that all people must fear and give reverence to the God of Daniel

10.
Political correctness, temptation to do things like everyone else is doing them even though that is not right or honoring to God.  God saves those who honor Him and it results in more honor and glory to God.

 

08.2 Revelation – Defile

Defile

This week’s lesson takes us back to the book of Daniel.  BSF makes it clear that the reason for this is for two purposes: as a witness of God’s faithful servants in a foreign land and how God uses those faithful servants in preparation for His kingdom.  The key things to keep in mind and look for then are faithfulness and kingdom.

This directly ties back to the ongoing study of Revelation because these same themes are the crux of “the rest of the story.”  In the letters to the churches, they were commended for their faithfulness.  We will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud and the righteous judgement of God delivered.

That is all big picture stuff, and important to keep in mind as we read the 4 chapters of Daniel this week.  But, it is equally meaningful to pick up the applications from the book of Daniel that God is calling you and me to apply to our lives.

The first and greatest one for me are the 6 words in Daniel 1:8, “Daniel resolved not to defile himself.”

To be resolved is to be firm in purpose or intent.  This is an area all can agree on, secular or faithful alike: People that live a more intentional and purpose driven life do better than those who are constantly tossed about by the waves.  That is a theme in almost every organization, self-help, business growth book, as well as a common message from Christian writers.  There method is the same, the goals and definition of what “doing better” mean however are very different, which brings us to the second part of this statement.

“Not to defile himself.”  Defile is an interesting word because it simultaneously means a broad range of states.  Synonyms range from mar and impair to destroy, ruin and rape.  Daniel resolved not to do any of those things to himself.

The thing I find most interesting in this and in greatest contrast to the way most of us live is that Daniel didn’t “pick his battles.”  He didn’t yield in little things but stay strong in big things.  He set his intent and purpose to not defile himself, period.  Not a nick, not a mar, not impaired in any way.

In what little ways are you unintentionally allowing yourself to be defiled?  Is it the shows you watch or the movies you see?  Is it the commercials you allow during the shows?  Is it the books you read or the language you listen to or repeat?  Is it the little things you take that don’t really belong to you (pens and office supplies from your employer)?  Is it the images and websites you see and spend time on? Is it the way you fail to set time apart each and every day to spend in prayer and the study of God’s word?

Being faithful could simply be defined using these 6 words, “I resolve to not defile myself.”  When we do that, the Holy Spirit will help do the rest.  It is the path God chooses for us, a path that leads to holiness and robes of white instead of robes marred and stained by sin.  It is a path of daily walking with God, in the same way that professional athlete and musicians “practice like they perform”, we are called to stay faithful in the little things every day.

My Answers:

3.
Not to defile himself, to stay separate and not eat the food or drink the wine of the kingdom.  He received attention of the chief official and the guard over them and proposed a test of himself and 3 others (SMA), after 10 days they were healthier,

4.
better nourished.  Excelled in knowledge and understanding and Daniel could understand visions and dreams.
They stood out as men faithful to God, ultimately all of their lives were saved (fiery furnace/lions den) – all also prospered in the new kingdom in power and authority

5.
Daniel is a great example of God’s reward for obedience in the most tempting and most challenging situations: the little things in life.