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Before Kings: Faithfulness( Daniel 6)






Daniel 6:1–3 (NLT) 
1 Darius the Mede decided to divide the kingdom into 120 provinces, and he appointed a high officer to rule over each province. 2 The king also chose Daniel and two others as administrators to supervise the high officers and protect the king's interests. 3 Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel's great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire.  

Daniel 6:4 (NLT) Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn't find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy.

Faithfulness is doing the right thing for a long time.

You don't get fruitful without being faithful.
"Lasting is the only fruit that matters."
John 15:16 (NLT)  You didn't choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit…

Exemplifying Faithfulness
1 Corinthians 4:2 (NIV) Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
1. Be Responsible 

1 Peter 4:10 (NIV) Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms.

2. Be Trustworthy 
Are you worthy of trust? 
Trust is built!
Are your proving yourself trustworthy?

You can't demonstrate royalty without demonstrating loyalty.

3. Have Integrity
Daniel 6:4 (NIV) They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.

Hebrews 13:18 (NLT) Pray for us, for our conscience is clear and we want to live honorably in everything we do.

Daniel 6:5 (NLT) 5 So they concluded, "Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion."

Daniel's faithfulness to God was predictable.

Daniel 6:6–11 (NLT) 6 So the administrators and high officers went to the king and said, "Long live King Darius! 7 We are all in agreement—we administrators, officials, high officers, advisers, and governors—that the king should make a law that will be strictly enforced. Give orders that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions. 8 And now, Your Majesty, issue and sign this law so it cannot be changed, an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked." 9 So King Darius signed the law. 10 But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. 11 Then the officials went together to Daniel's house and found him praying and asking for God's help. 

Daniel 6:14-23 (NLT) 14 Hearing this, the king was deeply troubled, and he tried to think of a way to save Daniel. He spent the rest of the day looking for a way to get Daniel out of this predicament. 15 In the evening the men went together to the king and said, "Your Majesty, you know that according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, no law that the king signs can be changed." 16 So at last the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to him, "May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you.
17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den. The king sealed the stone with his own royal seal and the seals of his nobles, so that no one could rescue Daniel. 
18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night fasting. He refused his usual entertainment and couldn't sleep at all that night. 19 Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried out to the lions' den. 20 When he got there, he called out in anguish, "Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?" 21 Daniel answered, "Long live the king! 22 My God sent his angel to shut the lions' mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty." 23 The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God. 

  1. Faithfulness starts with faith.
  2. Faithfulness grows with faith. 
  3. Faithfulness takes courage.

"When we trust God we get to see what he can do."

Faithfulness is doing the right thing for a long time.

Before Kings: Resist & Resolve (Daniel 3)






Our consecration, not our compromise, will influence the culture.


Daniel 3:8–18(NLT)
 8 But some of the astrologers went to the king and informed on the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “Long live the king! 10 You issued a decree requiring all the people to bow down and worship the gold statue when they hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments. 11 That decree also states that those who refuse to obey must be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—whom you have put in charge of the province of Babylon. They pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They refuse to serve your gods and do not worship the gold statue you have set up.” 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought before him. When they were brought in, 14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? 15 I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?” 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” 

Honoring Up. Honoring the Lord In Babylon
Babylon: A dark world and the power behind it.
2 Corinthians 4:3–4 (NLT) 3 If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. 4 Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News…
John 3:19 (NLT) God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.

Resistance. The refusal to bow

A. God calls us to faithfulness.
2 Chronicles 16:9 (NLT)The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

Many are more interested in their comfort in Babylon than their commitment to Christ.
1 John 5:21 (NLT)Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.
1 John 5:21 (NIV) Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
An idol is anything that would rob our dependance on or devotion to God.

“Satan doesn’t have to have your devotion he will be content with distraction.”


B. Don’t get comfortable in the culture.  
Complacency always leads to compromise.

C. Embrace your contrast!
1 Peter 2:11-12 (NIV) Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

2. Resolve.
Daniel 3: 18(NLT) But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” 
Compliance is virtuous until it is not.

We’ve talked about wisdom a lot in this seres…..
“Obeying God is always the wisest decision.”
Proverbs 9:10 (NLT) Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. 

Daniel 3:19-27(NLT) 19 Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20 Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments. 22 And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in. 23 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames. 24 But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?” “Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied. 25 “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!” 
26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: 
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. 27 Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke! 

3. Resilience.
“Some will never see Jesus in the fires of persecution because they never passed the test of pressure. 

We are resilient because he is with us.

Facts:
1. We will come under fire.
2. Jesus will be with us in the fire.
3. We can come out unfazed with the fragrance of Christ instead of the fragrance of the flames. 

Daniel 3:28-30 (NLT)  28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!” 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon.

Our consecration, not our compromise, will influence the culture.


Isaiah 43:2(NLT) When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

Before Kings: Excellence, Wisdom, & Revelation.(Daniel 2)






2 Corinthians 2:15 (NLT) 
Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.
Daniel 1:18-20(NIV) 18 At the end of the time set by the king to bring them into his service, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.

1. Spirit of Excellence
Vs 20 He found them ten times better

Daniel 6:3(NKJV) Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. 

Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NIV) Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

Excellence is your best in progress.”

Ephesians 1:17–19 (NIV) 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength.

Wisdom & revelation are the Nuts and bolts of the knowledge of God

Daniel 2
Daniel 2:12–13 (NIV) 12 This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. 13 So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death.

God reveals the dream to Daniel.
Daniel 2:19–28 (NIV) 19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and said:  
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. 21 He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. 
He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. 22 He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. 23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.” 
24 Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, “Do not execute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king, and 
I will interpret his dream for him.” 25 Arioch took Daniel to the king at once and said, “I have found a man among the exiles from Judah who can tell the king what his dream means.” 26 The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), “Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?” 27 Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries…

Daniel reveals the dream to Nebuchadnezzar.  
Daniel 2:34-35 (NIV) 34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.

Daniel 2:44 (NIV) 44 “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.

2. Wisdom
Daniel 2:14 (NIV) Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. 
Daniel 2:37 (NIV) 37 Your Majesty, you are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory…

Be Winsome: Wisdom is Winsome.
Ecclesiastes 10:10 (NLT) Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.

A. Be Understanding.
Job 32:8 (NIV) But it is the spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding.

B. Don’t be reactive. 
Look beyond the urgency of the moment.
James 1:19–20 (NLT) 19 You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

C. Don’t be quick to take a side.
Proverbs 18:17 (NLT) The first to speak in court sounds right— until the cross-examination begins.
Bing calculated builds credibility. 

D. Don’t die on every hill. 

E. Get timing right.


2. Revelation
Daniel 1:17 (NIV) Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.

Growing in Revelation
A. Encounter the Lord
B. Spend time with the Lord.
C. Meditate on the word. 
D. Steward, what revelation you have

Before Kings: Selected to serve (Daniel 1)






2 Corinthians 2:15 (NLT) Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.

Selected to serve


Daniel 1:1-7 (NIV) 1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god. 3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility—4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. 5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service. 6 Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
Daniel and his friends.

  • They were labeled, but they never lost their true identity.

They were selected to serve

Matthew 5:13–16 (NLT) 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. 14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Babylon represents our darkened world and its system. 
We can influence its kings and not be influenced by its systems.

1. Stand out. Don’t blend in
Daniel 1:8 (NIV) Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine.

Proverbs 22:29 -23:1-3 (NIV) 22:29 Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank. When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, 2 and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony. 3 Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive.

2. Stay Educated
Pay attention to language.
Pay attention to ideaologies. 

2 Corinthians 10:3–5 (NLT) 3 We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

3. Watch your posture
If knowledge looks like arrogance, consider it foolishness.
If our purpose is serving, our posture is humility.

Daniel 1:8-9 (NIV) ….and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel….

Honor with humility & grace.

Daniel 1:14 (NIV) So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.

Before Kings: Significance(Esther)





2 Corinthians 2:15 (NLT) Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.

Esther
1. Honor preparation  
Esther 2:12 (NIV) 12 Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics.

Honoring preparation is honoring opportunity.

Esther 2:15 (NIV) Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her.

Kingdom economics: Faithful over littler=Ruler over much.

Esther 2:17 (NIV) Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.


Esther 3:8–9 (NIV) 8 Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom who keep themselves separate. Their customs are different from those of all other people, and they do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them. 9 If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them …” 

2. Honor Heritage & Values

In the book of Esther, 
God is not mentioned by name but represented by values.

He is present in his people!
2 Corinthians 5:20 (NLT) We are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us.
Ephesians 5:15–17 (NLT) 15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. (NKJV- redeeming the time, because the days are evil.)17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.

3. Honor Advice
Alignment influences assignment. 
Proverbs 12:15 (NIV) The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.

Esther 4:14–16 (NIV) 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”


4. Honor significance
  • Honor- Treat it as weighty. 
Your significance is found in your segment of God's timeline.
  • “Doing what is right is risky.” 

Luke 22:42 (NIV) “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 

Before Kings: Favor's Fragrance(Joseph)






2 Corinthians 2:14–16 (NLT) 
14 But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ's triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. 15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume.

We carry the fragrance of another.

 Infusing the atmosphere
1 Corinthians 11:1 (NLT) You should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. 
Culture is obsessed with artificial influence.
"Just because you are impressive doesn't mean you have influence."

When we speak of leadership, we are speaking of influence. 
The currency of leadership is respect and relationship.

Joesph  -Genesis 37-50 
  • It's one thing to have God's favor; it's another to walk in it. 

Favor's Fragrance.
Joseph is favored by his father.
Genesis 37:3–4 (NIV) 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.

1. Favor produces confidence. 
Honoring others requires confidence. 
We can only honors others when we feel like we don't need it for ourselves.

Genesis 37:11 (NIV) His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.

Joseph is sold into slavey.
Genesis 39:2–5 (NIV)2 The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, 4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5 From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field.

2. Favor isn't (just)for you.
"When we carry God's favor, it is not just to bless but to bring increase the environment we are in."

Genesis 39:6-7 (NIV) Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, 7 and after a while his master's wife took notice of Joseph and said, "Come to bed with me!"

3. Favor is attractive
Favor will open doors you should not walkthrough.
Favor doesn't mean we won't face difficulties; sometimes it attracts them.

Joseph is thrown into slavey.
Genesis 39:20–23 (NIV) But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph's care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.

Joseph promoted before Pharaoh
Genesis 41:41–43 (NIV) 41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt." 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph's finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and people shouted before him, "Make way!" Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.

4. Favor grants us access to honor others.
Genesis 50:20 (NIV) You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Points of honor:
1. Honor the Lord in labor.
Colossians 3:23 (NIV) Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.

2. Honor the Lord in purity
1 Corinthians 6:18–20 (NIV)18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.