Australian Bible Church (Presbyterian) March 24, 2013 p.m.
JONAH, DANIEL, CHRIST AND SALVATION... Three Lives, One Lord
In Daniel 6:3, we find that the persevering, patient and enduring Daniel, after many a vicissitude in the adventure of a godly life in a pagan environment, one in which he sought valiantly to keep himself pure like the ocean wave, gleaming in whiteness despite every evil deposit sent to it, is actively being considered by the King, for the CEO position over the nation.
WHY is he given such thought, being a captive Jew from stricken Israel ? It is because in him was found "an excellent spirit." What a testimony! If there is need of the humanly impossible (as in the case of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, and the challenge is set), he is enabled to deliver (Daniel 2:14ff.). He is called, and so calls upon the name of the Eternal and all-wise God. That is one beauty of being SENT spiritually on what you are doing! One way of being ready for such choices, is to abide in Christ, and His words in you, not in fruitless dreams, let alone humanist fiascos, strangling lions of contempt for man.
excellent spirit was not a compromise model to gain favour, but the reverse; it
was not a concoction, to achieve peace, but the purpose in purity to serve God
consistently first of all, this a filter to every plan and procedure. There was
a contribution to admire, in which to seek to find inspiration, a life which
A BROADER COMPARISON
We now increase our intake. Consider Jonah, especially as in Jonah 1:12-13. HE has been assigned a mission to Nineveh, potentially an intimidating city, centre of power to the arrogantly expansive and self-glorying nation, seemingly supreme in specious majesty. Taking a hopefully restful cruise instead, Jonah inherits a storm, sleeps while others toil, is awakened and having revealed all, asks to be tossed overboard that they might have peace. In so doing, in one element, He became a type of Christ, who however came sinless to earth, and stayed so, being willing to be cast out that we might be brought in (I Peter 3:18).
Jonah's sin is open and acknowledged, and as to the sailors, their compassionate and manly efforts to deliver him from being a castaway, are wonderful. Yet the Lord will not let it be so, and Jonah, at last cast out as he requested, into the ocean, yet was delivered by the God who made nature and maritime elements, as well as the terrestrial; and thus became a testimony of DIVINE MERCY. Rescue led to relief and restoration of mission.
Now consider Daniel. He has been trapped by his own eminence, jealous schemers having induced the King to throw to the lions, any not conforming to the period of time set aside for worship of none but himself. Daniel was blatantly brave, continuing unchanged before the unchanged God, so becoming a testimony of integrity and reality of worship of that same God. The King, realising the folly of his permission for the law re worship to be made at all, and that in a kingdom where laws stood firm, like the sailors in Jonah's case, sought really hard to deliver his favourite young statesman. However, he could not, and so fasted all night, when Daniel had been duly cast to the lions. He was so impressed with the God of Daniel already, that he declared that "Your God whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.". In the morning he asked, DID HE! Daniel's reply is staunch, self-controlled and clear as crystal.
HE had been rescued: the king had interceded, but GOD HAD ACTED. The power of God is NOT another name for our comfort, nor is it for the power of man. There is absolutely no limit to it, but His heart, which uses it with fidelity to His promises. The result in this case was rescue.
Now consider The Lord. His bearing for all believers of their breach of Royal Command was for millenia predicted (as in Isaiah 49-55, from Genesis 3:15). This time it was not mariners, nor yet a king, but Peter, a disciple who vainly tried to protect Him, and to deliver Him (Matthew 16). His particular substitute wisdom, to make the most of the life of Christ on earth for as long as might be in procedures so blessed, and for Him not thus to die, let alone in the stark manner predicted (as in John 1:29, Matthew 16:21), was characterised by Christ as being of the devil. Indeed, Christ set His face like a flint (Isaiah 50, Luke 9:51), to go to Jerusalem, with the notation, that it would be strange indeed for a prophet not to be put there to death! (Luke 13:33). Indeed, for the crux, that was the place for the cross! HIS deliverance was by the DIVINE intercession (Psalm 22:24, 118:4).
Jonah for his sins, was cast into the ocean; Daniel for the sins of conspirators and of the king, was cast to the lions; and Christ, for the sins of all, to cover those of believers once and for all, was cast upon the cross, for the purpose of redemption, such was the love of God to this world (Titus 2-3).
Note as to Daniel, that not only were the conspirators thrown to the lions, their plotting exposed, but their families as well. Thus while the Lord knows the way of His own, when you play with fire, the house may be burnt down. Jonah for his part DID proceed to preach to Nineveh with results perhaps helped by his own deliverance in the mercy of God, when death might well have been, and nearly was - as in Jonah 2 - his own lot! Christ was indeed delivered, by the extreme method of having His stricken, grossly abused body, raised to its natural state, in the format of flesh and bones (Luke 24:38-42). There was nothing ephemeral about it: God made human bodies, man misused them, Christ bore the penalty, and breaking its judicial power, presented freedom not in poetry but in protoplasm, with flesh and bones, raised from that very death in all its gruesome horror.
Daniel 6 has the account, the report as above. Daniel 7 proceeds to unleash the planned scope of history, moving through successive empires, as in Daniel 2 also, to the time when these having all perished, Christ's splendour and rule follows. Just as Christ as noted in Daniel 9:24-27, had NOTHING (literally, there is nothing for Him), being neither recognised by Israel's authorities as the Son of God, nor as Messiah, nor as leader, nor as sin-bearer - so it is very much as the Arab nations treated Him, when the false prophet, Muhammad adopted a similar rejection in unbelief, some 6 centuries later, amid their wars. In fact, however, now in the predicted end of prophecies already abundantly verified, it is the reverse of the case that is shown. Everything becomes His, as is fitting, since He is eternal and has purchased what He leads, an eternal ransom for those who believe and receive Him (Matthew 20:28), alive for evermore (Revelation 1:18, Hebrews 7:16, 9:26-28). Daniel 7:14 declares:
"I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which will not be destroyed."
In that it is unique! Though the bold above is added, the emphasis is inherently clear, the trinitarian wonder of depth and amazing kindness. .
This is the divine sacrifice with the unequalled result, deity in direct rule over man, at length, when all is purged. Moreover, He leads those who are freely redeemed, who freely love (as in Revelation 21-22), and comes in judgment of this world (Acts 17:31, Psalm 2, 110). Such is the triumph of God with love in liberty. Consider how Daniel 7 follows the particular events noted, in Daniel 6. Daniel 7 races on to the thrust to the end of thraldom of empires, the whole procedure ordered with organised and prepared links, leading to the singularity of the evil to come, to match the good, and finally on a larger scale than that of vignette of Daniel 6, to the final overthrow of evil, the Son of man receiving uninhibited glory as the only begotten of the Father, encased in splendour, covered with praise (7:13-14). God is a God of sacrifice, and has made man free, the ground of evil his polluted preference in wilful sin: Deity Himself the central love. He is not other: source of liberty, not evil, hope, not obliterative fate. To God, man matters. Consider now.
a) Jonah was himself fallacious, not the law, which is infallible. The resulting rescue was granted by divine mercy. Coughed up from his potential piscine tomb, he is freed to perform the assigned task, and after that, is shown the ways of mercy to others!
b) Daniel bore wrongly the law, for the law in that case was itself fallacious, schemed by many, in envy, and it was made through the king, in a non-sublime thoughtlessness. In this it was a paradigm for many a misalliance and totalitarian exploit, right to our present century!
c) Jesus Christ bore voluntarily, with the hunger of love and the horror of realism (Luke 22, John 3), the law's due wrath (a transference to Himself vicariously); and yet was delivered, and made final payment for many! (cf. Matthew 26:28 cf. Isaiah 53:1-6, the "we" being those healed).
The evils against Daniel were typical for sin. The evils against Jesus the Christ were topical for salvation.