Having a Different Response to Trials

Steve Viars August 28, 2016 Daniel 2:1-49

→ Click to view the Sermon Outline

5 principles to help us face trials well

I.  Remember that Taking a Right Stand One Day Does Not Mean You Won’t Face Significant Trial the Next

A. Should it be?

B. God accomplishing His purpose in us is often best done in the crucible of trial

C. Why might it be in your best interest to face a trial like Daniel did in chapter one, and then turn around and face another one in chapter 2?

1. So that you can, in turn, comfort someone else

2. To help you identify a way you need to grow

3. Because you have a better opportunity to display His glory and grace

II. Concentrate on Your Response to the Trial, not the Trial Itself

A. What stands out in the text?

B. How could Daniel respond to this trial this way?

C. Don’t forget Hebrews 12:11

Hebrews 12:11 - All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

III. Use Trials to Strengthen Your Prayer Life

A. Note why Daniel informed his friends

B. This was time to pray

  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding
  • Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee
  • Men ought always to pray and not to faint
  • In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God
  • Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God
  • Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you
  • But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed

IV. Use Victory in Trials to Bring Praise to God

A. Daniel could have used this situation to get about anything he wanted

B. What a beautiful testimony in verse 28

Daniel 2:28 - However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days. This was your dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed.

V. There is a Coming Kingdom that will Never Be Destroyed

Manuscript

This morning, I would like to begin our time by asking you a question. If God gives you a trial and you handle it well, does that guarantee that your future is going to be trial free? In other words, let's just say that the Lord brings something into your life that's very difficult, and you take the right stand. You respond appropriately and God blesses you for the stand that you took. Does that mean that you can expect as part of God's blessing, that the next period of time is going to be easy? Is that the way it works? Is that the way it should work?

Let me try to illustrate that. My dad and I had a friend in Tennessee we would go fishing with named Jack Cannon. For most of Jack's career, he worked for the Raytheon Corporation which has a segment of their business that designs and installs missile defense systems, Patriot Missiles.

Raytheon came to Jack and said, "We need some employees who are willing to take a tough assignment. We're asking you to leave Tennessee and to take a 2-year stint in Saudi Arabia. You're going to be far away from your home. You'll be separated from your family. There's really not a lot of good places to fish there, because it's a desert but if you're willing to take that tough assignment, you will be on easy street when you come back. You'll have your pick of jobs. When you return to the states, we'll offer you early retirement. We'll sweeten your retirement benefits significantly. In other words, put up with the trouble now. You'll be easy. Things will be trouble free when you get back." He told us the offer was just too good to pass up. He left Tennessee for 2 years and he went to Saudi Arabia.

My question to you is, is following Jesus Christ like working for the Raytheon Corporation? I'm not talking about eternity; I'm talking about in your natural life. Where if you handle one trial well, you take a right stand in a particular area, does that mean that the days ahead are guaranteed to be trouble free? If you push it one step further logically, would it be in your best interests if it was guaranteed to be trouble free. What ideas would you even use to make that determination? Now, you may say, "Pastor Viars, is there some reason why you're raising this issue?"

The answer to that is, "Yeah, last week we finished studying Chapter 1 of The Book of Daniel. We learned that this young teenage boy faced an incredible trial of 605 B.C. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has come to Jerusalem. He takes some of the choice young people of Israel, along with some of the choice articles of the Jewish Temple, and he steals them essentially.

He deports them. He takes them back to the country of Babylon so Daniel and his friends are given new names. How would you like that? They've been enrolled in Babylonian schools, and they're cut off from their Jewish Heritage. They're even asked to eat from the Kings table.

On that last issue, they took a stand. They asked if instead they would be allowed to eat vegetables and water, because the other items to them were a violation of the word of God. Amazingly, the commander agrees and God blesses that experiment to at the end of 10 days they looked more healthy and robust than the others who had been eating from the Kings own table.

The bottom line is, they took a stand that during the time of trial and God blessed them. We saw last week, God continued to bless them. In 3 ways especially. He gave them wisdom. They were given knowledge, and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom The Bible says. God gave them stature, or influence, so when the King tested them they stood out above all the rest.

In fact, the King found them 10 times better than all the other wise men in his kingdom and blessed them with longevity. Because, at least in case of Daniel, Chapter 1 ends by telling us that Daniel served through the lives of several Babylonian kings all the way to the reign of Cyrus of Persia. Some 70 years later, the question before the house is what's going to happen next?

Is serving God and or taking a difficult stand for Him like working for the Raytheon Corporation? Should we expect to open the pages of Chapter 2 and find words like, "And they all lived happily ever after. They handled that trial faithfully and there weren't any more to face." Is that what we should expect to read? If not, what principles can we learn that will help us face the difficulties of life today?

With that in mind, please open your Bible to Daniel Chapter 2. Daniel Chapter 2, that's on page 628 of the front section of The Bible in the chair in front of you. Daniel Chapter 2, page 628 of the front section of The Bible under the chair in front of you.

Last week when I was gone, I was in the Dominican Republic speaking in a different language with an interpreter so it's good to be back where it's all English. All English, but I appreciate Pastor Aucoin, and I appreciate Pastor Green launching the series for us, "Loving Our World by Choosing to be Different." Let me say something else about last week that I think you'll have reason to rejoice and a number or you gave sacrificially back in the days when we were construction Faith West. Remember that?

We had to put up a little guff as we got that whole project off the ground. I'm happy to tell you there were over 600 people at Faith West last Sunday, and then God is blessing that ministry. Especially to those who live over in that part of town, or those who are part of the university. I praise God for what you chose to do in order to make that possible, so I hope you'll pray for what's going on over at that campus even as we try to serve The Lord here this morning. Loving our world by choosing to be different especially having a different response to trials. You want to have that don't you? Absolutely.

Let's read in this text, Daniel Chapter 2 beginning in Verse 1. "In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, and Nebuchadnezzar had dreams and his spirit was troubled and his sleep left him. The King gave orders to call in the magicians, the conjures, the sorcerers, the Chaldeans to tell the King his dreams." Did you hear that? Not to tell the King the interpretation, to tell the King what he had dreamed. "They came in and stood before the King. The King said to them, I had a dream and my spirit is anxious to understand the dream. Then the Chaldeans spoke to the King and the King. Live forever, tell the dream to your servants and we'll then declare the interpretation." See, that's the way it goes. You tell us and we tell you. The King replied to the Chaldeans, The command for me is firm. If you don't make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you'll be torn limb from limb and your houses will be made a rubbish heap." You tell me the dream that I had or, well, you get it.

In verse 6, "If you declare the dream and its interpretation, you'll receive from me gifts and a reward and great honor. Therefore, declare to me the dream and its interpretation. They answered the second time and said, "Let the King tell the dream to his servants and then we'll declare the interpretation." The King relied, "I know for certain you're bargaining for time." Not like he's unreasonable or anything. "As much as you've see the command for me is firm that if you don't make the dream known to me, there's only one decree for you. For you have agreed together to speak lying and corrupt words before me until the situation is changed. Therefore, tell me the dream." You getting the picture? "That I may know that you can declare to me its interpretation."

The Chaldeans answer the King and say, "There's not a man on earth who could declare the matter for the King and as much as no great King and ruler has ever asked anything like this of any magician, conjurer, or Chaldean. Moreover, the thing which the King demands is difficult. There's no one else who could declare to the King except God's. "Really did you mean to say that? "This dwelling place is not with mortal flesh because of this, the King became indignant and very furious. He gave orders to destroy how many? All the wise men of Babylon so the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain, and they looked for Daniel and his friends to kill them."

We're talking this morning about having a different response to trials, and what I'd like is to see in this great chapter of scriptures, 5 principals to help us face trials well. Just in case there might be anybody here who's facing one. You got any going on? Last week, you got any going on, today you think you might have some going on this week? Aren't you glad for the relevance of the word? 5 principals to help us face trials well.

I.  Remember that Taking a Right Stand One Day Does Not Mean You Won’t Face Significant Trial the Next

Here's the first and it's not particularly good news, my friends, but it's right here in the text from the logic. Remember that taking a right stand one day doesn't mean you won't face significant trial the next. Remember that this book, obviously it's written as a unit without the chapter divisions, the verse divisions, we like them. They were added later. They are handy. To find Chapter 2, it's easier to have all of that but I do think sometimes it could be a hindrance to the overall flow of thought so kind of take them out in our mind and then go back to where we were last week.

Daniel wanted his original readers to hear the story and draw principals that would help them understand what it means to live for God, and surely one of those key principals is taking a right stand one day does not mean you will not face significant trial the next.

In other words, being a follower of Jesus Christ is not like working for the Raytheon Corporation. Of course, that leads to more important question, should it be? Should it be? Is it our best interest if the blessing for handling a trial properly was a period of time afterwards that was carefree? That question logically leads to another one. How do you define what's in your best interest?

What is in your best interest as a follower of Jesus Christ, honestly now, is it that your life would be insulated from trouble? No answer to that I notice. Is that why you came to Christ? Think about that, is that why you came to Christ so that your life would be easier in the short term? I hope not, because friends if I'm going to be honest, unless I'm going to be some prosperity gospel preacher, the ease and trial free living is not what's in our best interest if the goal of our life is to bring honor and glory to God.

If the goal of our life is to be progressively, and systematically molded into the image of Jesus Christ because the bottom line is, God accomplishing His purpose in us is often best done in the crucible trial. That's one of the major lessons fundamentally, that every follower of Jesus Christ has to come to terms with.

It's not about me, it's about Him. Do we all agree with that? I'm not living for my pleasure. I'm living for His glory. We just sang about it. I'm not the one who's on center stage with the goal of bringing as much glory and enjoyment to myself. The God of heaven and earth is on center stage and the purpose of my existence is to bring glory to Him.

If that means a trial last week that by His grace I handled well, followed by a trial this week that gives me another opportunity to do so. As long as His hand is on the thermostat, that's fine with me.

Now Ira said, "I'm not sure I like that." Let's think it through. Why might it be in your best interest to face a trial like Daniel did in Chapter 1, and then turn right around and face another one in Chapter 2? Are there some reasons for that? Are there some reasons? Here's one so that in turn, you could comfort someone else.

Are you familiar with second Corinthians chapter 1? If not, that would be a good one to meditate on this week, because here's what it says. It says, "God comforts his children." Why, so that in turn, we might comfort someone else with the same comfort with which we were comforted. Co fortitude. God gives it to us, so that we are in a better position to give it to someone else.

Think about this. Let's say that we're able to look into the future and know 2 years from now, God was going to bring someone into your life who's really hurting. Maybe even someone who doesn't know Jesus Christ personally, and 2 years from now you'll be in the perfect position to minister to that individual. You'll be in the perfect position to share Jesus Christ with that person. You'll be used of God. 2 years from now, you'll be used of God to provide comfort. To be a blessing, to maybe even change the direction of that person's life but here's the kicker. In fact, you probably know where this is going, don't you? In order to be best prepared to minister to that person 2 years from now, you need to go through some hard times today. Is it in your best interest then to go through those hard times? Absolutely, or this, to help you to identify a way that you need to grow.

Isn't this true? When He goes up, it's amazing how the cracks sometimes become apparent. Ever notice that? I didn't realize I had an anger problem until that situation, or I didn't know I struggled with those kind of thoughts, until. I didn't know I was weak in that area before.

God may be allowing trial in your life right now because he's trying to help you see some things about you. Do you have your spiritual glasses on? You're not going to waste the trial that God has given you, are you?

We just sang about it, because you have a better opportunity to display God's glory and grace. Many of you have studied this chapter many times. Daniel, before this chapter is over, is going to be able to testify to the marvelous character of God in ways he would have never dreamed. No pun intended on that one.

Had it not been for Nebuchadnezzar's dream, and even his outrageous response. See, taking the right stand today doesn't mean you won't face significant trial the next. Can we just push the pause button on that for a minute?

A couple of notations from this text I would encourage us to think about. Did you notice the unreasonableness of unbelievers here? Nebuchadnezzar's request reveals a person who's supposed to be in charge. He's supposed to be the strong man. He's supposed to be the wise man. He's the one who's supposed to be leading. He's supposed to be in control. The fact of the matter is, he's out of control.

What he may tell me my dream. That is just a little bit unreasonable, huh? The reason I bring that up is because I recognize that there may be a number of people of here this morning, that is the situation in which you find yourself. The trial that you're facing right now, is because of the unreasonableness of somebody else in your life.

Some of you have a boss like Nebuchadnezzar, and I would really appreciate it if our staff did not amen that. Don't Tweet that, okay? Put your phone down. Or you're living with a spouse like Nebuchadnezzar. You have a professor like Nebuchadnezzar, that this text is illustrating the unreasonableness of some individuals who don't know the Lord.

The text also emphasizes the impotence of those who don't know God. In Verses 10 and 11, a summary statement describing that the powerlessness of the supposed, whom? The wise men of Babylon. I have to believe that Nebuchadnezzar suspected that all along. That they had no true supernatural powers and in one fell swoop, he proved the truth of his suspicion.

What's interesting is, Daniel and his friends are about to pay a price in part because of the fraud and the deception of those who don't know God. People who have held themselves up as being wise, and in fact they're not. Daniel and his Godly friends are about to be caught up in their hot mess, and that might be part of what you're facing right now.

The impotence of the powerlessness of others in your life who acted like they were something else, and the question every one of us need to ask is, "Does my response to trial show that I recognize the hand of God in all of this. Even when unreasonable people or powerless people are involved?"

You might say, "I can't. I just can't respond to trial like that. It's too easy to complain. It's too easy to fret. It's too easy to worry. It's too easy to react." Friend, do you realize that if that's your case right now, God may be using that trial to draw you to himself. Your inability to handle the trial difficulty may be an indication that you don't yet know God. He may be chasing after you. I love the English preacher who referred to God as The Hound of Heaven. He's like that, you know?

Some of you remember what was like when you came to Christ, and that whole thing all these lullabies about, "I was searching for Jesus," no you weren't. You were rebelling from Jesus. You were running from Him as far as you possibly could, and as fast. Remember? Your mama told me, I know.

God loves you anyway. Isn't that something? That God loves you anyway, and he brought some people into your life to live for Christ in front of you. He brought the gospel before you. Some of you, remember how you responded the first time you heard the gospel?

If God were just alone, that would be the end of you, you know? Greasy spot on the carpet. Instead, He kept perusing you. You remember? That's the best hound dog I got. I could put that in a song if you want.

He was pursuing you, and you may be cussing Him right now for the trial when the fact of the matter is, that's an evidence of His grace. If He didn't love you, He'd put you on a big yacht in the middle of the ocean and let you die and go to hell without Him singing a song to the graveyard.

The trial very well may be an instrument of His gracious hand to bring you to the end of yourself, and friend if you're in that position this morning, I have some really good news for you. God is in the forgiving business. This passage is going to tell you, He's incredibly powerful. You know how powerful? Powerful enough to get you to heaven. Loving enough to send His son to die on the cross for your sin, and then give you an opportunity where you would acknowledge it and be completely and fully forgiven totally by His grace.

Here's the promise. He'll change your life in the here and now. He'll give you the ability and the power to handle trial differently, and in the moment you take your last breath to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord.

I urge you, if you've never trusted Christ before. Right now, right here while you have the opportunity to I would encourage you to place your faith and your trust in Him.

For the second principle, we need to read a little bit further in the text. Look at verse 14, "Then Daniel, replied with discretion and discernment to Arioch." Is that the way you would've done it? That's very important key in this text. "Daniel replied with discretion and discernment to Arioch, the captain of the King's bodyguard who had gone for to slay," so the guy is there to kill him. He said to Arioch the King's commander, "Hey, for what reason is the discreet from the King so urgent?" Arioch informed Daniel about the matter.

Daniel went in and requested of the King that he would give him time in order that he might declare the interpretation to the King. Here's a second principle. It's concentrated on your response to the trial, not on the trial itself.

II. Concentrate on Your Response to the Trial, not the Trial Itself

Please tell me, what is it that stands out about this part of the text? The answer is, the respectful way Daniel treats those who are involved. In New Testament terminology, we would say he was walking the Spirit. Even while he's going through this, he's filled with the Spirit. He's evidencing the Spirit's fruit of self-control.

Think about this, Daniel's the one who was drug through this country against his will. He's the one who's given a new name. He's the one who's forced to serve King Nebuchadnezzar. You'd think he'd be the one who's out of control. You'd think he'd be the one who was losing sleep, and fretting, and fussing, and all of the rest.

Daniel gets the word, he's going to be killed in verse 13 for something he had absolutely nothing to do with and in verse 14, he's replying to Arioch how? With discernment. With discretion, he asks the man a reasonable question in verse 15 and he sits down and has a discussion with the man who was sent to kill him. Then in verse 16, he goes right into the King and he calmly requests more time.

Here's what I say, very important for us to see in this text. Daniel is not focusing on doing Nebuchadnezzar's job, and he's not focusing on doing Arioch's job, and for sure he's not focusing on doing God's job. No, which frees him up to focus on, what? On doing his own job. On facing his responsibility in this matter, and you see that all the way through this text.

We're going to read in a few minutes how when God tells him the interpretation of the dream, he goes to speak to the King. Daniel is sure to ask not just that his life be spared, but whose? All of them. All of the wise men. All of the people who had proven themselves to be frauds. Isn't that amazing?

Daniel's response to the human beings in this trial is incredibly gracious and wise. In verse 30, when Daniel begins to tell the King the interpretation it's amazing what he says to Nebuchadnezzar. "Not you goofball." He doesn't say it that way, not even in the original Hebrew. He says this, "God didn't do this for me, Nebuchadnezzar, but God did it for you. God is being gracious to you."

You read these words and you say, "How could Daniel respond to trial this way?" I hope we see this by focusing on, "I'm not going to dwell what Nebuchadnezzar is supposed to be doing. I'm not going to focus on what Arioch is supposed to be doing. I'm not going to be focusing on what God is supposed to be doing. I'm going to focus on what I'm supposed to do."

Guys don't do this on the way home. I'm just telling you right now, I am not putting this on here for it to be a model to you on the way home. I'm going to be down at the Hartford Hub, munching on tenderloins not counseling you and your marriage problem because of what you did right here, so don't do this. Here's a guy who says, "You must be getting tired dear. Do you want me to drive on my own for a while?"

I wonder how often God makes a similar statement when he thinks of us. "Hey, would you like me to be God for a while?" We were never designed to drive the car. You understand that? We were never designed to run the show, and every time we start to focus on what everybody else in the equation should be doing, invariably it leads to our failing to focus on and acting on what we're supposed to be doing.

By the way, the hope ultimately here, is that our sovereign, powerful God whom we're studying this morning stands ready to work in and through His children in such a way that our lifestyles can be entirely different, unique even during a time of a trial. That threads us up with the theme we've been following all year long, that loving our world, loving our world, loving our world. We want to do that, right? That would've been a good time for a yes by the way. "I thought we had said that already this year."

We want to be loving our world, but by being different, that's what the book of Daniel's all about, even during a time of trial and the good news of this book is that our powerful God stands ready to do that in and through you. There's an obvious question that flows out of this. It's convicting to me, and I assume it's going to be convicting to you, but think about Daniel, discernment, wisdom. Are you this gracious to others during a time of trial?

Are you this self-controlled when things aren't going your way? Don't forget, this great verse, Hebrews chapter 12, verse 11, "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful." Is that the understatement for the world right there? "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful yet to those who have been trained by it."

Have you been letting it train you? Have you been training this week? What happens? Afterwards, it yields the what? The peaceful fruit of righteousness. Doesn't that last phrase in that verse aptly describe Daniel and what we're reading about his response?

That's what it was. That's what Arioch got. That's what Nebuchadnezzar got. The peaceful fruit of righteousness. Each one of us needs to ask ourselves, and the way I typically respond to trial, "Does that phrase aptly describe me, and the way I think, and the way I speak, and the way I talk? Even the tone of voice that I use. Would those observing me during a time of trial have reason to think of the words?"

What I'm enjoying right now is the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Let's go back to our versus in Daniel. Let's see if we can find something less convicting. Looking at verse 17, "That Daniel went to his house and informed his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah about the matter. They might request compassion."

Notice that that purpose clause is very important, why? So that they might request compassion from the God of heaven concerning this mystery so that Daniel and his friends would not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then, then, then and only then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision.

Then, Daniel blessed the God of heaven said, "Let the name of God be blessed for ever and ever. For wisdom and power and power belong to him. It's He who changes the times and the epochs. He removes Kings, and he established Kings. He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding. It's He who reveals the profound and the hidden things. He knows what it is in the darkness and the light dwells with Him. To ye oh God our fathers I give thanks and praise for you give me wisdom and power. Even now, you've made known to me what was requested of you for you. They know to us the King's matter, then Daniel went into Arioch who the King had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and spoke to him as followed, "Don't destroy the wise men of Babylon."

I would have said, "Get the rest of them out of here, but not me." "Don't destroy all the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the King's presence and I will declare the interpretation to the King."

III. Use Trials to Strengthen Your Prayer Life

The third principle that flows out of this text is use trials to strengthen your prayer life. What we read in verse 17, that part is not particularly surprising. When Daniel hears this news, he's going to go, "Tell Shadrach, and Meshach and Abednego."

What's especially important is no why Daniel informed his friends why. So they might have a pity party? So they might kill Arioch before he kills them? Or so they could sit around and complain about how God has let them down? So they could go out of town and have a final fling before they lose their lives? He told them, why? So they would pray.

It's interesting the way God is described in verse 18. Who are they praying to? They knew it, the God of heaven. Things weren't out of control. This wasn't time to question the stand they had taken in Chapter 1. This wasn't time for doubt and unbelief. This wasn't time for fretting and worry. This wasn't time for anger, or remorse. This was time in the heat of that trial to pray.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding," Proverbs 3, 5, and 6. "Now we'll keep him in perfect peace," whose mind is what? "State on thee," Isaiah 26:3. "Men ought not always to pray and not to fuss, or faint," Luke 18:1. "In everything give thanks for this is the will of God," 1 Thessalonians 5:18. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication. With thanks giving let your request be made known to God," Philippians 4:6. "Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you," Luke 6:28. "Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed," Luke 5:16.

Daniel handled trials properly, because he allowed trials to strengthen his prayer life. What about you? When you talk to others the tough things that you're facing, is it for the purpose of asking them to join you in praying to the God of heaven? Some people, they're yakking. They're working the phone lines about their problems in the form of gossip, or the form of complaining, or venting, or unloading, or criticizing, or becoming bitter.

Daniel informed his friends to ask them to pray. If we were to evaluate your prayer life during times of trial, what conclusions would we draw? Sometimes as American Christians, we've so insulated ourselves that we don't think we have much need to pray. Some of us take few ministry risks. We seldom put ourselves in positions where we even need to help an enablement of God.

There will be some people who hear this message this morning, and they can honestly say, "I have been working so hard for example, at overcoming sinful anger. I've been praying about that all week. Praying about it, and praying about it, and praying about it. I don't want to be in the same place spiritually. I've been fervently asking God to help me." Whereas others would say, "I hadn't prayed about an area of spiritual growth all week because I haven't really been working at growing."

Do you put yourself at a position where you need to pray? Someone else can say, "I've been praying so hard about this person that I'm talking to about Christ, and I'm asking God for wisdom. I'm begging him to help me seize opportunities. I'm asking Him to allow me to have boldness when I need it. I've been praying about evangelism all week long." Others would have said, "I haven't prayed about that a lick, because I don't have anybody in my life that I'm even risking my reputation by talking with them about Christ."

Some of us seldom put ourselves in situations where we're taking ministry risks, and opening ourselves up to the attendant trials. Therefore, in our minds there's seldom a need for prayer.

The words of this text prove that Daniel was a man of prayer and perhaps many of us would say, "You know, I need to be more like this man Daniel." What happened next verse 24, "Therefore, Daniel went into Arioch whom the King had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and spoke to him as followed, "Don't destroy the wise men of Babylon. Take me into the king's presence. I'll declare the interpretation of the King."

I love this, "Then Arioch hurriedly brought Daniel into the Kings presence." Are you picturing this in your mind? He spoke to him as follows, "I found a man among the exiles from Judah. One of God's people who can make the interpretation known the King. The king said to Daniel whose name was both Belteshazzar, "Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen and its interpretation?" Daniel answered before the King and said, "As for the mystery about which the King has inquired, neither wise men, conjurist magicians, nor diviners are able to declare to the king. However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what would take place in the latter days. This was the dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed. As for you oh King, on your bed your thoughts turn to what would take place in the future and he who reveals mysteries has made known to you what will take place, but as for me, mysteries not been revealed to me for any wisdom residing in me more than any other living man but for the purpose of making the interpretation known to the King that you may understand the thoughts of your mind."

IV. Use Victory in Trials to Bring Praise to God

What's the principle there, friends? To use victory and trials to bring praise to God. Daniel could have gotten just about anything he wanted at that point in the story. There's little if anything Nebuchadnezzar would have withheld from him at this point in the event. In other words, we would say, he was in a really strong bargaining position right then.

Daniel didn't fail to remember where he got his wisdom. He didn't fail to remember where he got his strength, and after the victory he was certain to give glory to God. Don't you love verse 28? What a beautiful testimony there. "However, there's a God in heaven. Nebuchadnezzar, there's a God in heaven who reveals mysteries and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days. This was your dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed."

Friends, listen now. Think about the trial you're going through right now. Don't you want your life to shout that message? Don't you want the way you respond to put you in a position where you're able to communicate that truth? Let's never be satisfied by simply doing right. Let's be sure to point others to the source of our strength whenever we do right.

That's, by the way, what we want to do this afternoon at the grand opening at the Hartford Hub. Why are we going down there? It's not just about the tenderloins although, I do intend to have one. It's gathering to give praise to our all-powerful God who's in heaven.

By the way, let me just say a word or 2 about this. That's why we're also dreaming about building a third, full size community center down in the north end. You may have read about that in the paper yesterday and thought, "What?" We still need these neighborhood centers like the Hartford Hub embedded in the neighborhoods, deeply in the neighborhoods. We need to Hartford Hub. We probably we'll do other ones or other churches one in each one of those neighborhoods.

In the last couple of years, we that is our pastors and deacons, have been quietly been praying for and looking for a site for our next project. Some things happened historically to us in the last couple of weeks including while I was in South America, I planned a more elegant announcement that was going to take place in a couple of weeks. As you're just trying to manage media and other situations, it became very apparent that we needed to discuss it in a public forum this week.

I'm happy to tell you that our church has received a lead gift commitment from a family outside Faith of 5 million dollars to assist us in the construction of a new community center in the north side. That constitutes by far, the largest single gift commitment that has ever been made to this church in our entire history.

We've also come to terms on the purchase of a 5-acre site on Elmwood Avenue. In addition to those 5 acres, the owners of Market Square have also agreed to give us an additional acre of property. This is the largest site downtown by far that we have contemplated. Frankly, it's a fabulous place for us to do ministry.

All of this is contingent on final church approval, so no final decisions have been made. Any time we negotiate anything, it's always with that caveat. We have a long way to go on the full funding on this project. It may never happen. It may never happen, but it's a whole lot closer to being a reality than ever before.

While I can't just unpack all of it this morning, one of the things that especially excites us about this in addition to the hub that becomes for ministry to the north end, we're seriously thinking about starting a college. You say, "What?" As we think about our array of ministries, we're glad for all of them but you've heard me say, "When I look at efficacy around the world, one of the best things we ever did was starting a church based seminary."

The more I travel around the world. The more I talk to people around the US, there's and incredible interest in how do local churches do community based outreach ministry. We're thinking about starting a college that would be with one major, Urban Leadership.

It would be for people around the US and from around the world who wanted to come together for 3 years. It would be a 4-year degree packed into 3 studying Urban Leadership, but it would be entirely unique. There's not another program like this that I know of anywhere.

The students would actually take their classes in this new Urban Community Center. Not just talking about Urban Leadership, they're actually taking the classes in the building. After class at noon is done, they walk right downstairs or right into the neighborhood and they're doing urban ministry each and every day.

It's not we're just going to yak about it. We're going to talk in the morning, and then we're going to do it day, after day, after day. If this comes into fruition, we would also buy a series of houses around the north end strategically placed. That's where those young people would live. You'd say, "Are they the college kids who want some sort of a hot tub in their high priced dorm?"

Absolutely not have zero interest in that. We're talking about people who really want to make a difference with their life each and every day, and we believe that if we were able to do that, we could impact our country and our world with a gospel centered approach to ministry that is ministering in the community.

That's a dream. That's all that is. We've got a lot of talking. We have a lot of study to do. You say, "I don't know if we could do that." It kind of depends on how powerful God is. You know? If He could lead someone in this community to commit 5 million dollars to what it is what we're doing, who knows what he might do if we just trust him?

If he's powerful enough to give Daniel what was given here, who know what God might decide to do here? Well, what about the rest of the text? I realize I'm notorious for not finishing my stories. This passage is not primarily about the dream. I'm not even going to try to take the time to go through the dream other than to say, the point of that is there's a coming kingdom that will never be destroyed.

V. There is a Coming Kingdom that will Never Be Destroyed

Here's Daniel living in a foreign land where the best, most powerful leader is an incredibly imperfect, prideful, unreasonable man. You don't see Daniel fretting. You don't see him screwing around. You don't see him try to make everything right in this day in age. Why? Because his hope and his focus is on a coming King and a perfect King who will make all things right, and he's simply going to serve him while he has the opportunity to do so.

Hey friend, you have trials, I have trials. Are you handling them in a way that is unique? Are you handling them in a way that is a light to others just like Daniel was in this text?

Let's stand together and ask God to help us with that shall we? Our father in heaven, thank you for your abundant blessing. Lord, thank you for your power. Thank you that you unravel the mysteries of life for us in your word, and you've given us the Holy Spirit that provides a kind of wisdom that can be a marvelous light if we allow it to be. Lord, when we would be around unreasonable people this week Lord I pray that we would see your hand in all of it. I pray that we would respond in a spirit filled way, and I pray that our ultimate focus would me not on making everything right today. I pray that we would as Moses did, we would seek a city whose builder and maker is God. We pray these things, in Jesus name. Amen.

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video