Saturday, March 21, 2009

Why Daniel? Why now?

I am beginning a series on Daniel tomorrow in our morning worship services at OBC. Someone recently emailed me asking me why I chose that book at this point. It was a great question, and if I didn't have an answer, I am not sure that would be a credit to my preaching and pastoring! :-)

Truth be told, I am confident that all Scripture is profitable for use in the lives of believers, but in reply, I jotted down some of the particular reasons as to why we could profit from taking time to look at Daniel at this time.
  1. The first part of the book to me shows a path forward for Christians to engage in their Babylon. It challenges our categories of political and cultural involvement.

  2. Similar to above, every day I believe people at OBC are challenged with living in “exile” in “Babylon.” I am hoping that Daniel will give us courage to see our lives as examples and influences even in a culture that is not distinctly Christian. If we need the culture to be Christian for us to live out our faith, I don’t think that says good things about our faith.

  3. In light of our current economic, moral, and social crises, I believe we need to hang on to something substantial. Daniel and his friends obviously did this well. I believe their ‘secret’ lies in a strong faith in God’s deliverance despite the appearance of things.

  4. The rescue stories of Daniel are familiar, but I think all too often we have made the men into heroes, and I want people to see that God is the hero in the story. He is the Rescuer. However, I think the men in Daniel are ones we can pattern our lives after.

  5. I want our church to grow in their understanding of the major themes of prophecy (Daniel 7-12, I believe, have as many prophetic and apocalyptic themes as you could desire), and realize that these chapters point us to (1) the sovereignty of God, (2) our need to repent before God, (3) an understanding of the eternal conflict that is ongoing between God and evil, (4) an appreciation for the end of that story – the righteous are eternally rewarded, the wicked are eternally punished.

  6. I haven’t preached through a book of the Bible in a couple of months (even though I did highlight some Psalms in January), and it has been a while since we have done a book study from the OT.

  7. I want OBC to see some of the connections that I have seen in 1 Peter with the story of Daniel. I may write these out in an article sometime, but after reading 5-6 commentaries on Daniel, and reading the book 15 times, I was blown away to view 1 and 2 Peter as books written with similar themes to Daniel (plus the cross is in the picture because Jesus had come).
I will say that I have been looking forward to this series for a couple of months, and I can't wait to see what God does with it in the life of our church. I have already been challenged and encouraged by it.