Daniel 6:10

Daniel 6:10

Sermon preached on November 29, 2009 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Other sermons can be found at http://www.cantonnewlife.org/.

Unless otherwise noted, quotations are from The Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

The other day Marg was telling me that she saw a student at school who was wearing a T-shirt that read,

"O Come Let Us Adore- Me!"

Can you imagine? We live in a very self-centered society. It's all about 'me'. In many ways today's society is exactly what the apostle Paul described in Romans 1:20. He wrote,

"For although they knew God,
they neither glorified him as God
nor gave thanks to him,
but their thinking became futile
and their foolish hearts were darkened."

Society has to a great extent turned its back on God and refuses to give thanks to Him. If you watch a nature show on TV they won't mention God and the glorious of His creation. Instead they will talk about evolution or "Mother Nature". Giving glory to God is the farthest thing from their minds.

But even those of us that are Christians don't do an adequate job of thanking God. We might be filled with thanks when He sends good things our way—but when He sends bad things our way many of us tend to moan and complain and, rather than giving thanks to God, think that He is treating us badly and unfairly.

Such should not be. One of the great truths the Bible teaches us is that we are to be thankful to God always. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 the apostle Paul wrote,

"give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

This morning we're going to look at what Daniel's actions teach us about how we should be thankful, no matter what the circumstances. We read, (Daniel 6:10)

"Now when Daniel learned
that the decree had been published,
he went home to his upstairs room
where the windows opened toward Jerusalem.
Three times a day he got down
on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God,
just as he had done before."

The first thing we see here is that

Daniel's prevailing attitude was one of thankfulness to God.

It's noteworthy that Daniel's prayer is summarized as,

"giving thanks to God."

Much of his prayer consisted of thanksgiving to God. Our text also notes that this prayer was typical. He prayed 'just as he had done before'. It is clear that day after day it was Daniel's habit to overflow with thanksgiving to God.

But the thing that really shows us that Daniel's prevailing attitude was one of thankfulness to God was the fact that he gave thanks to God when he knew it could cost him his life. Nothing was going to stop him from giving thanks to God.

Thanksgiving is to be so integral to our lives that it is tied to them. In everything we do we are to be giving thanks. We see this principle in Colossians 3:17 which says,

"And whatever you do,
whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him."

We are to give thanks to God in all our activities. As Peter T. O'Brien notes, for Paul, (Colossians, Philemon, p. 213)

"every activity is to be done in obedience to the Lord Jesus and accompanied by the giving of thanks to God through him."

This shows us that giving thanks to God is to be integral not only to our prayers—but also to our lives. It is to be our constant attitude. Colossians 3:15 says,

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
since as members of one body you were called to peace.
And be thankful."

In Colossians 2:7 we are told to be,

"overflowing with thankfulness."

It's not just to be a small part of our lives—it's to be our prevailing attitude. Our standing in Christ makes it imperative that we overflow with thankfulness. Hebrews 12:28 says,

"Therefore, since we are receiving
a kingdom that cannot be shaken,
let us be thankful,
and so worship God acceptably
with reverence and awe,"

And Colossians 4:2 says,

"Devote yourselves to prayer,
being watchful and thankful."

The prevailing attitude that you are to have is one of thanksgiving to God. We are to have the attitude that the psalmist had in Psalm 136. The whole psalm is filled with thankfulness to God. He said,

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever."

If only we had his attitude! If only it would take the place of our complaining, moaning and discontentment.

How different we would be! If we only had this attitude we it would go a long way to helping us be a light to the world. If we were always thankful like Daniel the world would see that we had something that they need.

You need to cultivate such an attitude. You must never forget that you are always to be thankful. It is an attitude that you are to have every hour of every day. It's noteworthy that after David brought the ark to Jerusalem, he set aside some priests to minister before the ark of the Lord. One of their three primary duties was to give thanks. We read, (1 Chronicles 16:4)

"He appointed some of the Levites
to minister before the ark of the LORD,
to make petition, to give thanks,
and to praise the LORD,
the God of Israel:"

These priests were not only to give thanks to God, but by doing so were to remind the Israelites that they were always to be doing so. Later in 1 Chronicles (chapter 23) we read about the duties of the Levites who were to help Aaron's descendants in the service of the temple. We read, (verses 30-31)

"They were also to stand every morning
to thank and praise the Lord.
They were to do the same in the evening
and whenever burnt offerings
were presented to the Lord on Sabbaths
and at New Moon festivals
and at appointed feasts."

Thanksgiving was a major part of the Old Testament worship at the temple.

Our bodies are now the temple of the Holy Spirit. He has made His home in us. The appropriate response to this is one of great thankfulness. Be people who give thanks to God.

The second great truth we see from our text is that

you are to give thanks even in situations where, at first glance, there may not seem to be much to give thanks for.

Consider Daniel's situation. Daniel was in exile. The wicked and horrible Babylonians had invaded the land captured and destroyed much of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. They were so violent and ferocious that the prophet Habakkuk wondered how God could use such a wicked people to punish His people. The Babylonians were exceedingly cruel. You'll remember what King Nebuchadnezzar did to King Zedekiah when he rebelled against him. They besieged Jerusalem and caused a great famine. King Zedekiah tried to escape but he was captured. In 2 Kings 25:6–7 we read,

"He was taken to the king of Babylon at Riblah,
where sentence was pronounced on him.
They killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes.
Then they put out his eyes,
bound him with bronze shackles
and took him to Babylon."

The Babylonians set fire to the temple of the Lord and destroyed the royal palace and all the other important buildings in Jerusalem. They carried the treasures of the temple in Jerusalem to Babylon. They took all the people, except for some of the poorest, to Babylon. As far as the priests of the Lord were concerned, we read, (2 Kings 25:18–21)

"The commander of the guard
took as prisoners Seraiah the chief priest,
Zephaniah the priest next in rank
and the three doorkeepers.
Of those still in the city, he took the officer in charge
of the fighting men and five royal advisers.
He also took the secretary
who was chief officer in charge of
conscripting the people of the land and sixty of his men
who were found in the city.
Nebuzaradan the commander
took them all and brought them
to the king of Babylon at Riblah.
There at Riblah, in the land of Hamath,
the king had them executed.
So Judah went into captivity, away from her land."

Daniel was one of the young men who was taken to Babylon. Things worked out for him there—he so distinguished himself that the king was going to put him over the whole kingdom. But now it looked like that was going to be thwarted. Anyone who was faithful to the Lord was going to be put to death.

If you were in such a situation what would be your reaction? I can imagine us questioning God. I can imagine that some people's reaction would be that of complaining and discouragement. But how many of us would be like Daniel in getting down on our knees and giving thanks to God?

Yet that's what Daniel, a hero of the faith did. As such he's a great example to us. His example teaches us that

we are to give thanks even in times of difficulty.

We see this principle in Philippians 4:6 the apostle Paul told us that we are to give thanks even when times are precarious. He wrote,

"Do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

When the normal thing to do is to worry we are to bring our cares to God, put worry and insecurity away from us and thank God. Even when things are going very bad for you—you are to give thanks.

The great question that needs to be answered is:

Why is it appropriate to thank God in every situation, even in things that are difficult and painful? Why is thanksgiving always appropriate for us?

There are different perspectives from which to look at this.

First of all, the Bible makes it clear that God always treats us better than we deserve—so it is very appropriate to praise Him no matter what terrible situation we find ourselves in.

How wonderful God is to us. We are all sinners and we all fall short of the glory of God. In Lamentations 3:22-23 the prophet Jeremiah wrote,

"Because of the LORD'S great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."

What this tells you is that if fire from heaven is not coming down and consuming you right now then God is treating you a lot better than you deserve. It's only because of His love that we are not burned up. He loves us and so He does not treat us according to our daily folly.

We see the same principle in Psalm 103:10-14. David told us there that God,

"does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust."

God does not treat us as our sins deserve. He is a God of love and mercy. Daily we should marvel at God's goodness to us and thank Him for it.

Daniel knew that God treated people better than they deserved. Remember what he admonished King Nebuchadnezzar after he interpreted the dream that he was going to lose his kingdom and be driven among animals. He said to the king, (Daniel 4:27)

"Therefore, O king, be pleased to accept my advice:
Renounce your sins by doing what is right,
and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed.
It may be that then your prosperity will continue."

Daniel knew that even if King Nebuchadnezzar started to do what was right, that God wasn't obligated to keep him on his throne. God was treating King Nebuchadnezzar better than he deserved and Daniel told him that.

God always treats you better than you deserve. You should be constantly thanking Him for that.

The second reason it's always appropriate for us to thank God, even when we're in danger and suffering, is because

we are children of the King and even in suffering it's an inestimable privilege to serve Him and to do His will.

What an honor our Savior has bestowed on us in giving us the privilege of doing work in His kingdom. His will is perfect. What a joy it should be for us to do it.

Daniel knew that he was on earth to serve God. He was going to stand up for what was right even if it cost him his life.

It's very interesting that Daniel didn't really try to hide the fact that he was praying to God. Why didn't Daniel just keep his prayers to himself? Why did he have to get down on his knees? Why did he have to go in the room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem? Why did he have to do it three times a day? John Calvin writes,

"many think he ran great risks without sufficient reason, since he increased the chance of death when only outward profession was prohibited."

But Daniel was not going to hide the fact that he was devoted to the true God. What does that tell you? One of the things it teaches us is that Daniel was proud to serve God even if he was going to suffer for it. Giving thanks to God was not something that was dispensable. Daniel was going to give God thanks even if it was going to cost him his life. He considered it the greatest privilege to serve His great God. He knew His will was perfect. Whatever God's will for him was he was going to take that cup and give God thanks for it.

We are also taught this by the example of Jesus.

What did Jesus do just before His great hour of suffering came? I'll read from Mark's gospel. (Mark 14:22–24)

"While they were eating, Jesus took bread,
gave thanks and broke it,
and gave it to his disciples, saying,
'Take it; this is my body.'
Then he took the cup,
gave thanks and offered it to them,
and they all drank from it.
'This is my blood of the covenant,
which is poured out for many,'
he said to them."

Isn't that incredible? Jesus, in instituting the Lord's Supper, gave thanks for the very things that were the symbols of His suffering and death. When He took the bread He gave thanks and then broke it. That represented His broken body. When He took the cup in His hands, which represented His shed blood, He gave thanks for it. How could He give thanks for the very things that were the symbol of His suffering and death? Yet that's what He did.

If you are called to do something for the Lord that was very difficult and painful—and you go to do it—what would you be thinking as you were doing it? I believe that many of us would be thinking things like,

"Why me, Lord? I had other plans and this is really messing them up." "Ok, Lord. I'm doing this and I need your help." "I'm not happy about this and I wish you'd get me out of it."

But how many of us would be giving thanks in the midst of something very difficult and painful? Yet that's what Jesus did. He was getting ready to go to the cross. Before He went to such suffering, He gave thanks for the very things that were the symbols of His suffering and death. He willingly took the cup of suffering that the Father gave Him. He gave thanks for it!

What a lesson for us! Is a student above His Master? No. If Jesus gave thanks when He was about to drink the cup of suffering on our behalf—we should give thanks when we are suffering or called to do difficult things for the Lord.

Indeed, in such a time we should give God great praise and thanks for His grace—for we know that He will reward us for such faithfulness. In Matthew 10:42 Jesus said,

"And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones because he is my disciple,
I tell you the truth,
he will certainly not lose his reward."

Or as we read in Revelation 14:13

"Then I heard a voice from heaven say,
'Write: Blessed are the dead
who die in the Lord from now on.
'Yes,' says the Spirit, 'they will rest from their labor,
for their deeds will follow them.'"

The third reason we should always give thanks to God even when things are difficult is due to the fact that

everything is working out for good.

Daniel knew this. He had seen it before. In chapter 2 we saw that King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and he wanted the dream interpreted. But he wouldn't tell anyone what the dream was. I suspect it was to be absolutely sure that the interpretation would be correct. When no one could tell him what the dream was he was going to put all the wise men of Babylon, including Daniel, to death. But Daniel asked the king for some time and he got Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to pray for him. Then God revealed the dream to Daniel. So instead of being killed, he was placed in a high position and lavished with gifts. King Nebuchadnezzar made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men. (Daniel 2:48f)

The same thing happened in chapter 3. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were threatened with death if they did not worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar set up. They didn't worship it. They were thrown into the fiery furnace. But God rescued them and Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged their God. He also promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to higher positions. God worked things out for His glory. His will is perfect.

In our chapter God also worked out things for good. Daniel was thrown into the lion's den. But God sent and angel and closed the mouths of the lions. Daniel was saved and then those that conspired against him were killed. King Darius learned that Daniel's God was the true God. Because of all these things Daniel prospered. (Daniel 6:25f)

God controls all things. Nothing can thwart His plans to glorify His Son and save His people. We can thank God in even the most dangerous situation because, (Romans 8:28)

"we know that in all things God works for the good
of those who love him, who have been called
according to his purpose."

Fourthly, and most importantly,

we should give thanks to God always because He is intrinsically worthy.

We see this in Psalm 7:17 where David said,

"I will give thanks to the LORD
because of his righteousness and will sing praise
to the name of the LORD Most High."

And in 1 Chronicles 16:34 David said,

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever."

God is so wonderful, so glorious, so good—that we are to thank Him for being like that. There is no one like Him. His being and attributes always call out for praise and thanks. You should thank and praise Him even if it appears there will be no benefit to you. He is intrinsically worthy of praise and thanks.

Lastly, for those of you who are not Christians, this passage should show you that

you're missing out on the greatest thing in life.

Christians have Jesus and having Him they can give thanks in all circumstances. This is because Jesus is going to take care of them. He has saved them and He is leading them to glory.

Even though the devil hates them and goes about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour them—they are safe. So they can give thanks even when he seems about to destroy them—because they know he never can.

But he can destroy you. You're not safe. You need to go to Jesus, for salvation, for safety, for eternal life. Go to Him today. In Jesus find the greatest gift in the world and give God thanks for Him!