Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Leading a Rebellion: Daniel

Leading a Rebellion: Daniel
-A rebel is a person who resists any authority, control, or tradition.

The Story So Far:
-Prophets had been prophesying for years that if Israel didn’t repent of their sins, God would punish them by having a neighboring country conquer them and take them captive for a period of 70 years. Unfortunately, the Israelites did not repent, and God raised the Babylonians up to punish the Israelites. The Babylonians, killed many in the attack. Of the ones that were still alive when they surrendered, most were taken to be used as slave labor, the best and the brightest were trained in all things Babylon, and the derelicts were left in Israel to fend for themselves. I obviously, would have been considered one of the best and the brightest.

The Rebellion #1: Refuse to Eat the King’s Meat:
-Daniel and his three friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were very young men, probably in their early teens. They were singled out has having a high amount of potential.
            Scripture: Daniel 1:3-9
                        -Why did Daniel find favor with the Eunuch? Probably because he was very respectful and made the most of his unpleasant circumstance.
                        -Notice vs. 8 that Daniel purposed in his heart not to defile himself. He made a decision before the situation arrived that he would not defile himself. We all need to do that. You need to decide for yourself that you will not have sex or other inappropriate behavior before marriage before you are put in the situation. If you wait until you are making out with your boyfriend or girlfriend and there are no parents around, it is probably too late to make that decision. You put yourself in bad situations and it is hard to slam on the brakes and put it into reverse. Hard but not impossible.
-There were certain foods that a Jew was not to eat, and there were certain people a Jew was not supposed to eat with. Daniel asks the Eunuch to give him and his friends a diet test. The Eunuch is put in great risk for agreeing to do this.
            Scripture: Daniel 1:10-21

The Rebellion #2: The Plot Against Daniel:
-A few years down the road there is a new king over Babylon, King Darius. The king had established three governors to rule over the land, who were accountable to him. Daniel was so highly esteemed in the king’s eye, because God had blessed him, that he considered putting Daniel in charge of the entire kingdom rather than the three governors. According to Veggie Tales, the three governors got together and sang, “Oh no, what’re we going to do? The king likes Daniel more than me and you. Oh no, what’re we going to do? We got to get him out of here.” So they came up with a plot. They played into Darius’ pride and convinced him to establish a law that they knew Daniel would break. Once he broke that law, he would then have to be put to death.
            Scripture: Daniel 6:4-11
                        -Daniel knew about the law, knew when the law was signed, knew the consequences of breaking the law, and went home and broke it anyways. That is a rebel.
-How did the governors know when to catch Daniel? His faith was no secret. They knew exactly when and how to catch Daniel. How secretive is your faith?
            Scripture: Daniel 6:12-23
                        -The king was tore up about Daniel. It is quite unusual for a king to go without the pleasures of life, like food and entertainment, especially over someone else. Their world revolved around them.
                        -All of this would not have happened if the king wasn’t so prideful that he thought he needed to be worshipped.

God Avenges:
-Similar to Mordecai getting the praise Haman thought was coming to him, and then Haman getting the punishment he wanted to bestow on Mordecai, the governors found themselves in a precarious position. The king still likes Daniel more than them, and now he is really ticked off at the three of them.
            Scripture: Daniel 6:24
                        -Just in case you thought the Lions just weren’t hungry.        

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Leading a Rebellion: Jeremiah

Leading a Rebellion: Jeremiah

Rebel: a person who resists any authority, control, or tradition.

Background: Jeremiah was a prophet and a priest. He was chosen to be a prophet from before he was born (Jer. 1:5). He was the son of Hilkiah, who was also a priest. Prophesied from 627 BC to 580 BC. He was known as the weeping prophet because of how he wept for the coming judgment on the nation that he loved so much.
-Jer 9:1 “Oh that my head were waters,
    and my eyes a fountain of tears,
that I might weep day and night
    for the slain of the daughter of my people!
-Jer 13:17 “But if you will not listen,
    my soul will weep in secret for your pride;
my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears,
    because the Lord's flock has been taken captive.”
-Jer 14:17 “You shall say to them this word:
‘Let my eyes run down with tears night and day,
    and let them not cease,
for the virgin daughter of my people is shattered with a great wound,
    with a very grievous blow.”
He also wrote the book of Lamentations. Lament means to feel sorrow or grieve over.
Jeremiah had an assistant named Baruch who kept all of his writings for him that would make up the book of Jeremiah and Lamentations.
            Jeremiah had to remain unmarried as an object lesson. It symbolized how Israel, who was unfaithful to God, was divorced from Him.

The Rebellion:
Jeremiah remained faithful to prophesy exactly what God had told him to even though everyone hated him for it, and he nearly lost his life because of it. Jeremiah had witnessed the ten northern tribes, collectively known as Israel, or the Northern Kingdom get taken over by the Babylonians. Soon afterwards, the Southern Kingdom, aka Judah’s last God fearing king Josiah died. The next king led Judah into idolatry. God warned them through the prophet Jeremiah to repent or face being taken over themselves.
Jeremiah warned his nation to repent, which didn’t make him very popular. He then told them that the invasion was imminent, and not to bother fighting back. Jeremiah prophesied that the nation of Babylon was going to invade Judah, and take them captive for 70 years, and then they would be free to come back home. Imagine you were the king, trying to rally your troops for battle, and one of the prophets kept telling everyone, “Surrender! If you fight, you will die! If you surrender you will live!” This did not make him popular with the king or the generals. This is why he spent most of his ministry being punished for his message. He was threatened, forced to flee from the king, put in stocks, thrown into a pit and left to starve to death, put on trial for his life, and was publicly humiliated by a false prophet.
Throughout all of his pain, suffering, punishment, and humiliation Jeremiah never doubted God’s goodness and providence. He knew that God would take care of His people. To prove his point that God would keep his word that those who were taken captive would be released in seventy years, he bought a piece of land before the invasion and gave the deed to his assistant to hold for him. He even visited the captives of the Northern Kingdom that Babylon had taken before capturing the Southern Kingdom in order to give them hope of returning home if they repented and turned to God.

Application: Jeremiah, The Weeping Prophet, never saw success in his 40 year prophetic ministry. He preached and people ignored him. He prophesied, and people mocked him. He spoke the truth for God, and was beaten, jailed, left for dead, and publicly humiliated for it. From the outside looking in, his ministry seemed like a failure, but as long as you’re doing what God has told you to do, whether you’re seeing the results or not, your ministry/life is a success.
            -God tells you to share the gospel with someone and they reject it, possibly mock you. Was it a failure or success?
            -God tells you to go on a foreign mission trip and no one gets saved. Was it a failure or a success?
            -God tells you to move to Las Vegas and plant a church. You go and within a year, your church has dissolved into nothing. Was it a failure or success?
            When you do what God tells you to do, it is always a success. What is God telling you to do? Read your Bible? Start a Bible club? Go to a Christian organization’s meeting? Witness to the most popular kid in your school? Witness to the smelliest kid in your school?  Just do it.