27 March 2013 by Adeline Lum CM –
Let us imagine how prophet Daniel lived and served for 80 years in Babylon:
In return for a lifetime binding contract, you are highly trained as an intern in a huge conglomerate. Receiving favor, you scaled the corporate ladder into becoming the CEO of the company! But Alas! Your president kept changing; while you were favored by some, one hates your faith of defying his authoritywhile the other humiliates your faith. Not to mention, a group of people plots to take you down from your position due to jealousy.
And so, this is a pale glimpse of the trials and persecution that Daniel faced, yet God had victoriously brought him out. God is faithful. And so was Daniel.
On March 26th 2013, Pastor Chris Kam gave a sermon in DUMC about how Prophet Daniel was faithful till the end, the final part of the six series on the book of Daniel.
Although Daniel had the opportunity to join the other exiles in returning to Jerusalem from Babylon, he did not.
“Think of this like a movie scene; all of Daniel’s friends are leaving back to Jerusalem. And here, we have an 85-year-oldman waving goodbye to his friends. It’s a sad scene… A happy ending would be him returning to Jerusalem,” said Pastor Chris.
As an old man, being unable to walk 900 miles from Babylon to Jerusalem is a legitimate reason for not returning. The journey can take up to four months at that time! But the greater reason Pastor Chris suspected is that God told Daniel not to return, and so he obeyed!
“Imagine you’re 85 years old. How would your life be? How would you end your journey?” said Pastor Chris. “The first is to leave a great legacy. The other is to leave a trail of broken lives. Some of you think you’re very young. But at the flick of a finger, you are suddenly 53 years old, like me right now.”
Here are the 3 things about Prophet Daniel’s life in Chapter 10 on how to keep his faith till the end.
Man of Faith
How many of us can serve and last under different bosses? Daniel served under four kings who reigned in Babylon.
Because of his faith, he was also bold and tactful in proposing to eat vegetables instead of the palace food (Dan 1:12), suspected to be idolatry food. Because of his faith, he was also saved from the lion’s den (Dan 6).
“Today it’s very hard to find someone of faith who is faithful due to distractions. We need people who are faithful and will last the distance. We don't want a 100-meter dash but someone who finishes the marathon,” said Pastor Chris.
People who finished well were Jesus Christ, Paul and Joseph while people who finished badly were King Solomon, Eli the priest and Samson.
Nevertheless, we do not need to worry about finishing the race on our own because ‘He (Jesus Christ) will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:8-9).’
“God has given and done 100% of his part. The problem is whether we have submitted 100% to Him. And over Daniel’s lifetime, he made a commitment to submit to God a 100%,” said Pastor Chris.
We often used the ‘wait until’ excuse in serving God. While things are good and great, if our faith is weak, how would we fare when times are bad? (Jeremiah 12:5)
“If you have raced with men on foot
and they have worn you out,
how can you compete with horses?
If you stumble in safe country,
how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?
Man of Stature
‘Highly esteemed’ was used to describe Daniel three times in Dan 9:23 and Dan 10:11;19. Another word for highly esteemed is stature, which is earned and not given.
“Stature is like someone walking into the room, whose presence changes the behavior of people there,” said Pastor Chris.
There are five levels of leadership according to John Maxwell, starting from position right up to personhood:
1. Position. People follow you because they have to.
2. Permission. People follow you because they want to.
3. Production. People follow you because of what you have done for the organization or church.
4. People development. People follow you because of what you have done for them.
5. Personhood. People follow you because of who you are and what you represent.
“Does Jesus have a title? No, he is a commoner. People followed Him because of the personhood of Jesus,” said Pastor Chris.
So, at what level of leadership are you influencing people at the workplace and at home?
Man of Prayer
Every time when Daniel had a problem, he looked to God (Dan 10:1-3).
We can pray ‘religiously’ to God but our hearts are far away from Him. In Mark 12:41-44, Jesus talked about how a widow’s two copper coins worth much more than those who are wealthy, because she gave out of her heart. While the wealthy had plenty left, the widow only had a little from the little she gave.
“Our mind must be focused on God in our lives. Our prayer must be God-centered,” said Pastor Chris.
Do you read the news with God’s heart? During his leisure time of reading newspaper, Pastor Chris shared how he would treat the newspaper as a daily prayer journal.
He recalled praying for a woman out of a crying heart given by the Lord. Her children were sent to the welfare home due to her inability to feed them. But after a few days, the children were returned to her!
Think with God’s heart. Daniel’s mind is always in God.
Revelation of Daniel’s Character
Even though Daniel was a man of faith, stature and prayer, he was still trembling in fear in the presence of God (Dan 10:7; Dan 10:11;15-17)
“God has a good aspect which makes us feel good. But the other aspect is that the presence of God paralyzes us due to His holiness. This is godly fear, not bad fear,” said Pastor Chris.
There is a lack of fear of God today, and the Bible says that ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Proverbs 9:10). People have no devotion to God.
So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
“How will you end your journey in life?” said Pastor Chris. And in ending, he closed with song of ‘My Tribute”, a song he hope to lived and play when he leaves this world.
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