Pastoral Ministry
in the Real World Click Now to Order

Daniel 6:20

All around the world, people are looking for creative ways to serve the potted meat they stockpiled for the cataclysmic events prophesied for Y2K. By and large, nothing happened.

There was a tense moment of darkness in Hickman and Perry county Tennessee shortly after the clock struck the 21st Century. Officials found it wasn't the Y2K bug, but the Y2K rodent that did the damage. Apparently, the little fella tripped a main transformer in the early hours of 1-1-2000, within an hour, the lights were back on. It was only a crisis for the squirrel. No one knows for sure, but the squirrel is presumed dead. (From Fresh Illustrations)

Baptist Press is reporting that there have been some minor disruptions in Ireland, Maine, Japan, Boston, and New York. Mark Hyatt author of two best selling books on Y2K said, "I have said from the very beginning that this [chronic problems] is the greatest threat and it will take weeks, or perhaps even months, before we will be able to assess the full impact. As a result, I think it is too early to declare victory or to feel badly because you or others made preparations." (BP 1-4-00)

Hyatt may be right, there may still be some problems but as far as I'm concerned, the only bad news ahead is that phrases like Y2K compliant and the lame "Yes to Kia" commercials will still hang around for a few more months.

Before I give you the impression that I was above all the hype, I'll admit, that Friday night, after leaving the New Year's party over at the Buchannan's home, I stopped by the office and tested my computers before turning in for the night.

When all is said and done, Y2K turned out to be Y2Yawn! Why is it that our culture is so quick to listen to prophets of doom?

A man I knew in New Mexico was so convinced that mayhem would follow Y2K that he sold out and moved to a remote location. He stockpiled food, installed a water tank and in effect "checked out" of society. 

He and his wife were preparing for the worse, and the worse happened for him. In late December, he died from complications resulting from a stroke. He spent the valuable final days of his life preparing for what he wouldn't live to see instead of enjoying his children and grandchildren. Now his wife is left in the middle of no where and I'm left wondering what she will do.

Its easy this side of the 21st Century to second guess this man's wisdom in stockpiling supplies and "checking out" of society. My question is, what if he would have been right, then what?

What if Y2K would have ushered in chaos and bedlam? What if the worse would have happened?

Perhaps Daniel could answer that question for us.

Daniel slept behind the walls of a fortress city. Jerusalem rested on high ground, Mount Zion flanked it to the north, a high wall surrounded the city, protecting the inhabitants from outside penetration. I'm sure he slept well at night; he was secure.

Nebuchadnazzar led the Babylonians during a time of aggressive expansion. He attacked Jerusalem after winning the battle of Carchemish in 608 B.C. He spared the King, but captured and deported several Jewish princes into captivity. Daniel was one of those men led into the early captivity.

Daniel's life changed over night. He lost his home, culture and identity when the Babylonians forced him to leave Jerusalem and took him into captivity. How did he respond?

  • •Daniel Did What he could do
There was a lot about Daniel's life he couldn't control, but he did maintain control of his diet. Daniel felt, deep down in his heart that he should continue to eat sensibly and not indulge in the King's rich food and fine wine. He did not want to eat "unclean" food.

This was not a matter of mere culinary preference; it was a faith issue for Daniel. He associated his diet with his covenant with God. To break the diet was to break the covenant--something he was not willing to do.

Daniel did not see himself as a powerless victim, rather, he negotiated with his captors to maintain a familiar diet. He asked the chief eunuch for permission to eat food allowed by the Jewish dietary laws. The eunuch really didn't care what he ate, but he had a concern that Daniel's health would deteriorate if he didn't eat the diet the king ordered.

They agreed to a test period; after ten days the steward judged those eating the Jewish diet healthier than the others who ate the King's rich food.

"At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead." (Daniel 1:15-16) The steward allowed Daniel to continue with his diet indefinitely.

Daniel wasn't a victim. He didn't let what he couldn't do keep him from doing what he could. He didn't feel sorry for himself and throw a pity party, instead, he took charge of his life and followed God's will.

  • •Daniel wasn't afraid to ask for help.
The King really liked Daniel and his friends. They excelled in their assignments and displayed unusual wisdom. They were adapting to their new environment well.

Things were not going as well for the King. Nebuchadnezzar's dreams were troubling him; he couldn't sleep at night. Though he controlled the fate of others, he could not control his own life. He wanted answers, and he wanted them now.

He summoned his wise men to tell him the troubling dream and an interpretation. The fortune tellers couldn't meet the challenge, in fact, they said no one could.

The King was furious. He was not accustomed to hearing the word "no." His anger boiled; he was ready to kill all the wise men, including Daniel. Daniel's life was in the King's hands; he was as good as dead. The executioners hunted Daniel and his friends to kill them.

Daniel ran when he heard the news; he didn't run away. Rather, he ran straight to the captain of the King's guard. He asked for an audience with the King so he could make the dream and the interpretation known.

Daniel was not arrogant. He knew his limitations and turned to his friends for prayersupport. The assignment was impossible; Daniel's life was on the line; he needed help.

"Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon." (Daniel 2:17-18)

The friends prayed and God showed the mystery to Daniel. Daniel successfully revealed the dream and its interpretation to the King. The King spared Daniel and all the other wise men. The kingdom avoided a blood bath because of the prayers of Daniel's friends and the faithfulness of Daniel's God. The King promoted Daniel and gave him many honors and gifts.

Daniel found success at the prayers of his friends. Without their help he would have died with the other wise men. Daniel didn't have a "superman complex." He knew his limitations and asked for help from his friends.

  • •Daniel trusted in God
The real moment of truth for Daniel came when King Darius threw him in the Lion's Den for the terrible offense of praying to God.

Daniel spent a very restful night with the lions; his faith carried him through. God closed the mouths of the lions, doing what was beyond human power--He delivered him!

Darius spent a very stressful night in the palace. He didn't eat, sleep or enjoy the entertainment of the kingdom. He spent a terrible night agonizing over the plight of his friend. The next morning he ran to the Lion's den and cried out: "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?" (Daniel 6:20)

The King knew it was possible for God to rescue him, but he didn't know if it was probable. He had a spark of faith within him, enough that he asked the question of a man who should be dead.

Daniel answered him: "My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king." (Daniel 6:22)

The message is simple. Even when the worse that can happen does happen, God is still God! He is able to deliver you!

Impact Preaching: A Case for the
one-pointexpositiory sermon