“Then Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and the satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him.” Daniel 6:3a ESV

Because of the work of Jesus Christ we are being restored back to the original plan that God had for each one of us. Because of this we can take on important work in the Kingdom of God. We learn about how to do this by looking at the life of Daniel.

In the book of Daniel we read about one man’s relationship with an earthly king, and through his life we find many amazing principles and lessons about being in service to a king. In the story of Daniel we are mentored about how to be in service to The King of Kings.

First we will look at the history and the context prior to Daniel’s life. Much earlier during King David’s time Israel was a united kingdom and during the reign of King David’s son Solomon, much wealth was accumulated, the temple was built and the land became free from war and strife.

After this, over the course of hundreds of years the nation became rebellious and made many compromises; they worshipped other gods and refused to follow God’s heart or ways. During this time the nation became divided into two kingdoms, Israel to the north with its ten tribes and Judah to the south with its two tribes.

The kingdom of Israel came under the condemnation that is always a result of sin. There had been many prophets warning the people to turn from their sins and to turn back to God but the people refused to listen. As happens when we refuse God’s ways, things continued to deteriorate for the people of Israel and ultimately the Assyrians destroyed and took captive the northern kingdom of Israel.

In the southern Kingdom of Judah we find Jeremiah, God’s prophet, sent to warn those in Judah. We can read much of this context and story in the book of Jeremiah. The Assyrians had already destroyed the kingdom of Israel and we find Jeremiah warning Judah of a similar fate if they did not turn from their wicked ways.

Read Jeremiah’s warning in Jeremiah 19:2-9

We then read Jeremiah 21:4-10

Daniel was a youth at this time and was from the royal and noble families of Judah. Because of this, he was taken captive and was then trained up in service to the royal palace of the Babylonians.
Daniel 1:3-4
This is where we begin our study:

We find through the first eight chapters of Daniel the process of coming into true service of a king.

Reading over the passages and taking in at first glance and with a quick overview, we find the following:

  1. Daniel held his ground

In Daniel 1:8-15 we read about Daniel’s commitment to stay true to his conviction, his determination to advocate for those convictions, and his willingness to be tested. He was not dismayed by the difficulty at hand. He did not become either passive or aggressive but simply held his ground with wisdom and tact. ‘But Daniel resolved’.

This is an amazing thing when we realize that Daniel would have been between thirteen and seventeen years of age at the time of his captivity. Already he was a young man of much integrity before the Lord. He knew his convictions and he remained faithful to them.

He was living out the truth of the verse,

“Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.”
James 4:17 ESV

  1. Daniel sought the Lord

In Daniel 2:17-19 we find Daniel seeking the Lord as a daily habit.

When Daniel heard about the king’s decree that all the wise men were to be killed, Daniel sought the Lord. We notice in the passage that he had a confidence to go before the Lord expecting revelation. This gives us a glimpse into the habits of prayer that must have been going on for some time before this crisis event.

And it is important to note that crisis events will reveal our lack of prayer life before the Lord or will reveal the steadiness of years of prayer before the Lord. We cannot have little prayer and then expect to hear the voice of God when crisis hits; seeking the Lord must be a way of life if we want to be ready spiritually and emotionally ready for crisis.

  1. Daniel honored God

Immediately following this, in Daniel 2:20, we find a third thing about Daniel.

He immediately gave thanks God, ‘Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might.’ Here again we see a habit what was solid within his character and person. He could have rushed immediately to The King to give the information required so that none would be put to death. But even under that pressure he made sure to pause long enough to give God the glory and the honor and the praise and the thanks for the revelation of the dream and it’s meaning.

We want to be people who are quick to give thanks to God. We want to honor the Lord at every turn.

  1. Daniel gave God the glory

In Daniel 2:28 we find Daniel giving testimony to the king about the glory of God.

Daniel was given both the dream and the meaning of the dream and went to the king with the information the king was requiring. Again, because of the great pressure Daniel could have rushed into telling the king what he wanted to know. But we find that before disclosing the dream and the meaning of the dream, Daniel took the time to make it very clear that the revelation came, not from him, but from God. He gave the context right up front. He explicitly and directly stated, ‘there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries’.

Of all the things we can learn from Daniel this is the most important one. We must be people who give ALL of the glory to God and God alone. In ministry it is far too easy to take the glory for ourselves. It is too easy to claim credit for what is of the Lord. We must avoid this.

I have seen pastors removed from ministry over this issue. Where a man or woman takes the glory for him or her self and allows people to think that he or she is the great one, their influence and ministry is slowly yet surely removed. All the glory must go to the Lord at all times for he alone is the one to receive it.

  1. & 6. Influence increases and others exalt God because of Daniel

In Daniel 4:27 we find the results of holding our ground, seeking the Lord, honoring God and giving Him all the glory – out of all this the king himself then gave glory to the one true God, ‘It seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me. How great are his signs, how mighty are his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation.’

Because of Daniel’s influence the king exalts God also. We must recall the context. Daniel was a slave and yet because of his great integrity and character and honouring of the Lord both privately and publicly he was incredibly influential and from what we can tell, impacted an entire nation.

We call this, leading from the middle. Often we long for position to raise us into influence. Yet we see that Daniel was raised to position out of integrity and strength of character. Integrity and character came first, position came last. He remained true to himself and to the Lord and from this he was lifted to great responsibility and authority and others were turned to the Lord because of him.

The stage is well set. Daniel:

  • Lived true to his convictions
  • Sought the Lord
  • Thanked God
  • Gave glory to God alone
  • Influence increased
  • Others follow his lead

As we read the first six chapters of Daniel, we find that through Daniel’s character and through time we find relationships developing between Daniel and the kings that he served. Remember that Daniel was an exile of Judah, had been taken as a captive to Babylon and put into service to the king. Yet as the story of Daniel unfolds we find relationships of mutual respect and honor and even heartfelt compassion and love between Daniel and the kings that he served.

We see that his great influence came about because of these heart characteristics woven through all of who Daniel was. His influence did not so much come about because of position or power but because he chose in humility to enter into true service, his heart unto their hearts, of the kings he served.

For instance, In Daniel Chapter 4 we find King Nebuchadnezzar having another disturbing dream. Let’s pick up the conversation in Daniel 4:19.

When Daniel heard the dream we read that he was, ‘dismayed for awhile, and his thoughts alarmed him’. 4:19a

The king, in turn comforts him, ‘let not the dream or the interpretation alarm you.’ 4:19b
To which Daniel passionately responds, ‘May the dream be for those who hate you and its interpretation for your enemies.’ 4:19c

Can you hear the compassion and heartfelt agony in this exchange?

There is so much compassion here on the part of Daniel for the king, and in the king for Daniel. They were obviously responding out of partnership and deep respect for each other. And later in Chapter 4 we read Daniel’s words of warning and reprimand and plea to the king.

“Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity.” Daniel 4:27 ESV

There was no spirit of condemnation in these words. Rather Daniel spoke out of a heart that loved the king. And notice that these are the kind of words that we speak only to those:

  • With whom we have built deep rapport
  • With whom we’ve established a trusting relationship
  • Who are giving permission and accepting feedback

This conversation gives evidence of a working relationship based on mutual respect, deep trust and an intimacy that could speak frankly and honestly from the heart. Needless to say it takes some time and investment, a consistency of service and of integrity, to come to this point in any relationship.

Not only did Daniel’s love for the king and his compassion drive him to speak words of truth but he also had a track record of faithfulness to the king which enabled this exchange to take place. Years of service and faithfulness gave opportunity for words that could possibly save the king from destruction.

There are a number of things we can learn here. First, it is important that we pause a moment to note that words of difficult truth must always follow a heart of compassion and years of proven faithfulness and service. In the Christian community we often get this wrong and are too keen to ‘speak truth’.
We often bombard truth on others, without any relationship having been built, and in this manner we merely reveal our disrespect for the permission required and rapport that must be built before we have any right to speak into lives.

In all relationships there is a process of building rapport and developing mutual respect, concern, insight, camaraderie, before it is appropriate to be speaking ‘truth’ to others. Hard conversations are only ever successful after trust has been established. Daniel worked within this framework and common sense and we find in Daniel Chapter 5 that, as a result, Daniel is robed in purple with great honor and responsibility given him.

The kings held Daniel in great respect because of the manner of his service and he was honoured and given even more responsibility as a result. Daniel was wise in all that the did. He led from a heart of service, he remained in integrity with himself and the Lord, he was for those he was in service to (in this case a king), and he walked in respect and honor of those he was working with. 

And as we go on there is one other dynamic at work here:

  1. Daniel gave the king pushback

There was real relationship between Daniel and the kings he served and this is marked by the pushback given. This is important to get. For anyone, God included, delights to enter into authentic relationship where others are invested enough to give some pushback. To those we love and value we give pushback, respectful, honoring, and kind pushback.

In Daniel 4:27 we read, “let my counsel be acceptable to you”

Daniel revealed his love and concern in the pushback he gave. Because of love Daniel risked his life to speak boldly to the king, in this he became incredibly valuable to the kings he served because he wasn’t just a yes-man. The king had come to trust Daniel to tell him even the hard things. Daniel had made himself of great value to the king, truly in service to him, and was promoted within the kingdom.

“And Daniel was clothed with purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made about him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.” Daniel 5:29b ESV

And then we find even more honor in Daniel Chapter 6 with the well-known story of the lion’s den and the saving of Daniel in a mighty way. Here we read of another king, King Darius, fretting and anxious that Daniel should be spared and saved. Followed by more honor being bestowed on him.

It is safe to say that Daniel was a mighty force within the kingdom of Babylon. He had direct influence on kings and due to his integrity, his service, his love, compassion, and his courage to speak bravely and in true service to the king he was promoted within the kingdom again and again.

Kings could trust Daniel. He was responsible with the work of the King and with the heart of the king and this led to great authority within that kingdom. It is a simple rule of how life works: if people can trust us with themselves they trust us with their domains.

It is the same with God and throughout the remainder of Daniel we find that The King of Kings, God himself, did in fact trust Daniel with his domain as he gave him visions of what was to come.
In summary, Daniel was faithful with the hearts of kings and he was therefore given opportunity in the same way to be faithful with the heart of The King of Kings. Daniel chapter 9 is really the epitome of the story of his life.

Here we find Daniel:

  • studying the word of God (9:2)
  • declaring the goodness of God (9:4)
  • repenting for his sins (9:5)
  • taking responsibility for the sins of his people (9:7-14)
  • crying out to God for mercy (9:17) 31

Let me say it again: because of Daniel’s humble heart, his ability to understand God’s perspective, his repentance and brokenness over their rebellion, we find that God shares with Daniel many things about the future. For instance, read Daniel 9:20-27.

Because Daniel was trustworthy to The King, he was given authority and the secrets of The Kings Kingdom as well. This is the way it works with God and us.

On an earthly level Daniel was a catalyst within the kingdom of Babylon. Even though he was taken into captivity and put into service, he proved himself in this service and became a valuable ally to the kings he served. Much influence and power was given him as a result.

Kings trusted Daniel. Then, because of the integrity and character of Daniel through all of this we find that The King of Kings, God himself, also trusted Daniel.

  • Can the King of Kings trust you?
  • Are you an ally of The King?
  • Are you orienting your life unto The King of Kings, our God most high?

You see, like all human rulers and leaders God is looking for those he can trust. God is searching for those that will make themselves intimately aware of his kingdom and who put their lives in service to Him. He is looking for those who will allow His heartbeat to flow through them. He is looking for those whose manner represents Him in all things.

He is looking for those who will use God’s name, not for their own success, rather those who will remain in truth and word and deed, living out the pure heart and name of God on this earth.

God is looking for those he can trust with his heart and subsequently entrust with his Kingdom.

We must ask ourselves:

  • Are we trustworthy in our integrity?
  • Do we honor God and God alone?
  • Do our hearts and words reflect compassion and are we able to walk in greater authority?
  • Can we be trusted with The King’s heart and kingdom?
  • Do we walk in a kind of intimacy that gives respectful pushback? Are we honest?

It is as we can live and answer ‘yes’ to these things that the keys of the kingdom of God are given to us.
God is simply looking for those he can trust. Will you be one of them?

“Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.” Exodus 18:21 ESV

“As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” Luke 8:15 ESV

“He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity.” Proverbs 2:7 ESV

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” Psalm 24:3-5 ESV

APPLICATION

To become a trusted and respected leader we must be straight-up with others. This means that we don’t play games with our words, we don’t lie or cover over things, and we don’t manipulate to get what we want. This means that our yes is yes, and our no is no. James 5:12

To deal dishonestly with people may seem a solution to some problems but it is short-term thinking. Dishonesty of our words and intentions will always come back in a bad way. We want to make decisions out of integrity with others and ourselves.

Integrity is a word we use to indicate the strength of something through and through. For instance, imagine a board, a piece of wood made from a tree. Imagine that you want to use this board to make a stage to stand on. Now, to stand on a stage the stage must be made from good boards.

If the board has any crack in it we say it has lost its integrity, its strength. We can no longer count on the board to support any weight.

This is the same as leaders who do not lead out of integrity. It is as though they have a crack in their mind and words and actions. We realize after time that we cannot count on these kinds of leaders. They do not have integral strength for leading.

Now cracks in integrity show up in a lot of different ways, but one of the most critical ways it shows up is in this matter of letting our yes be yes and our no be no. Matthew 5:37

We want people to understand us and to trust us. This trust is hard to obtain if we are saying ‘yes’ but then doing a ‘no’ action, or if we are saying ‘no’ but making a ‘yes’ choice.

It is therefore very important to learn to speak only what we can speak. We must stand on truth and in integrity. We do not make promises we cannot keep. We do not cover over our inability with big words. We do not avoid confrontation with false words.

We speak what is and what is not. In this we become more honest. And others can begin to trust us. They may not like everything we have to say, but at least we are saying what is accurate and they will come to respect this. They will realize they can count on us to speak to them what is real.

Here are some Bible Verses to study and pray over:

Before you begin ask God to show you where you have not been in integrity with your words. Remember that conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit is a gift from God. It is the only way that we can see clearly to make things right. So we invite God to tell us where we have been out of integrity, where the cracks are in our minds and hearts.

“God I invite you to show me my integrity. Where are the cracks and how might I make them right? Please grow me in integrity today. Amen”

Verses to Study:

“But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.” James 5:12 ESV

“Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” Matthew 5:37 ESV

“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.” Proverbs 10:9 ESV

“Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.” Proverbs 28:6 ESV

“Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.” Proverbs 19:1 ESV

“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.” Proverbs 12:22 ESV

“For we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man.” 2 Corinthians 8:21 ESV

“A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.”
Proverbs 29:11 ESV


Accountability – Two Things to Do:

  1. When we have been out of integrity with our words there are two things going on. First we have established a habit of dishonesty with our words. This has set a spiritual battle in place within our life. The only way to break the stronghold of this battle is by praying it through in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We do that this way:

“God I come to you today in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ confessing to dishonesty and lack of integrity with my words. I see that I have caused much damage and have hurt others because of this. I realize that the cracks in my thinking and my words are sin to you and to others. I am sorry.

Today I say ‘No more’ to dishonesty with my words, to lack of integrity as a leader. Today I say ‘Yes’ to strength and letting my yes be yes and my no be no. I also confess that I need your help in this. Please make me into a person of integrity and truthfulness.

I cast off today all curses of the enemy over my words because of my sin. I say ‘No more’ in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, and I trust you God to make me a new person in you. I give you all the glory Lord and I stand covered this day in the name and the blood of my Lord Jesus Christ. Continue to teach me Father God, Amen.”

  1. The second thing is to commit in your heart and mind each day to changing the habit of your words. Integrity is a habit that strengthens and grows each day and over time. Every day you must commit to truthfulness with your words.

This will take some practice and that is okay. When you find yourself saying something, maybe promising something that you cannot do, just confess this to the person you are speaking with, “Oh, I just said something I shouldn’t have said. I am learning new habits of truthfulness in my speech but I just said something that I cannot promise. I’m sorry, I take back those words.”

Allow the humility of having to do this change you and grow you. You will begin to take your own words much more seriously when you commit to integrity and following through with others in each thing that comes out of your mouth.

Prayer

“Lord we so need you to create in us this pure heart you speak of. We acknowledge today that we cannot do this on our own. We need you and we invite you into the inner parts of our hearts and minds. Purify us, heal us, where we have been negligent please cover our sin. Where we have taken bribes show us a better way. Where we have compromised integrity teach us to walk straight and true.

Lead us into the fear of you God, where we live according to your heart. We love you and we thank you Jesus for dying for us, thank-You for carrying the burden of our sin and for removing from us the stain of our sorrows. We give all of this to you God.

Teach us your love; plant it deep into our hearts. May your love change the way we think and the way we see the world. May we understand the depths of your compassion over us, and may we have this same compassion for those around us. Help us to love others as you love us. We welcome your deep work in all parts of our lives. Thank-You and with many blessings to you God, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, this we pray. Amen”

SUMMARY – IN SERVICE TO THE KING

To be advanced in service to the King we must be proven trustworthy. 1 Corinthians 4:2

All things advance in order. We grow in influence and in spiritual authority bit by bit. Romans 15:4-6

God trusts his domain with us. Luke 10:19

Integrity, truthfulness, faithfulness are key for all ministers in the Kingdom of God. Luke 16:10

These character qualities and more are the backbone of our service to The King. 2 Peter 1:3-10

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31 The spiritual authority / responsibility to confess and repent of the sins of the people remains a privilege and invitation to the body of Christ today. We will look at this in greater depth in the lessons to come – it is an expression of sulha and integral to revival.

=> Now we are going to look at Three Keys to Revival

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