Neutralized – We are king’s kids and people of destiny. We are exceptional and you are doing exceptional things. The Lord has a plan for your end (Jer). What I feel to tell you is the enemy desires you neutralized and has a plan to make you ordinary.
DANIEL AND TROUBLE
by Delbert Young
Scriptures: Daniel 1:3-7, Matthew 5:13, Luke 14:34-35
Daniel 1:3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility —
4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.
5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.
6 Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.
7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
ENEMY’S PLAN – OR STUMBLING STONE – ORDINARY
Daniel is facing trouble. How will he come out? We are going to be talking about Daniel the next several weeks, but first I want to say a few things. We are king’s kids and people of destiny, and we are exceptional and you are doing some exceptional things. The Lord has a plan for your end (Jer). What I feel to tell you is the enemy has a plan to make you ordinary. When I say the enemy, I am not only speaking about a devil. Actually the devil can do little if anything. I do not think the devil can stop us. I think the only ones who can stop us are us. Our carnal minds are our largest enemies.
There is an enmity (Rom 8) between my carnal mind and the spirit. My carnal mind says be ordinary so I can be exceptional. The enemy of exceptional is ordinary. All I need to do to fail to be exceptional is be ordinary. Ordinary people and churches lead ordinary lives, do ordinary things, and die ordinary deaths – uneventful and unchanged. Ordinary people are boring and they weary those with whom they have to do because the Lord is not interested in ordinary.
God does not do encores. God never duplicated one fingerprint. He wants every person to be an original. He want’s each church to be an original. Whatever is being done in our city, God did not call us to duplicate it. That is not to say what is being done is wrong. It is to say God does not do encores. If it has already been done then why did he send us?
Yet there is a conflict. In all of us, there is this tendency to want to “fit in” and be accepted. And if we fit in we neutralize our potential of being exceptional. We have need to be accepted and if we are accepted we fit in and if we fit in we are not exceptional. If we are not exceptional, we are left ordinary. The kingdom of God is not ordinary. The press does not write about ordinary. They don’t write books about ordinary or make movies about ordinary. God’s people will walk past ordinary to find the exceptional.
The Lord did not call us to be ordinary. He said if we were neutralized we were good for nothing. Jesus said if we were neutralized we were not even worth throwing us on the dunghill. Dung has more usefulness than a neutralized believer. Jesus said ordinary was salt having lost his savour.
Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Luke 14:34 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?
Luke 14:35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
It may help to remember to whom Jesus said this. This was spoken to his disciples – exceptional people – who he had taken upon the mount. This was not a word for ordinary people. I attempt to imagine what was happening when our Lord taught this. I see Jesus in the mountain, taking some salt, and sprinkling it on his meal. Jesus is saying if I sprinkle you in an area or a job or a school and you do not change the flavor of that place you are ineffective. We must be different enough to alter it.
If we are sprinkled on any place and we do not change it then we are ordinary. And Jesus said neutralized salt is good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. The reason so many Believers are walked on and live defeated lives is because they remain ordinary.
Luke refers to the dunghill.
Dung, human and beast, was piled in a heap and used for fertilizer. Salt was spread upon the dunghill to diminish the smell and keep away flies. Jesus says that salt that lost his savor is not even worth putting upon the dunghill.
The worst thing about living and dying is to get to the end of ones days and see you made no difference. Woe be unto us if we do not make a difference.
Each of us has a roll to play and the most lethal thing that can happen to any of us is to be ordinary. Ordinary is our enemy. If we, as a church, or as individuals, worry about fitting in then we have neutralized all hope of being used by God.
WHAT THEN MAKES A CHURCH OR A PERSON EXCEPTIONAL?
We do not become exceptional by simply saying, “I am going to be exceptional.” Neither are people exceptional because they are called of God, and we are not exceptional because we are water baptized, or went to seminary, or finished Bible school. Also, we are not exceptional because we speak in tongues or prophesy. That is not to say these are not good. As we ask this question and look to see what make the Bible characters exceptional, we find one consistent link. They each had trouble, and were able to handle their trouble in a way that affected (salted) their worlds for the kingdom.
NOT BIRTHED OUT OF FRUSTRATION
Being exceptional is not born out of our flesh nor out of our frustrations. In fact, when we become frustrated because we are not exceptional we birth things that come back to haunt us. Abraham became frustrated because he knew down deep that he was called to be exceptional. Sarah was frustrated because she had a prophecy from God that she would have a baby, but had not had the baby yet. In frustration, Ishmael was conceived. Ishmael not only haunted Abraham, but haunted the decedents of Abraham.
TROUBLE IS WHAT MAKES US EXCEPTIONAL
Joseph was exceptional. God has a way of showing us the “high points” of our ministries, but somehow forgets to tell us about how people will want to kill us, sell us into slavery, how Potiphar’s wife will lie and say Joseph tried to rape her, and how we will go to prison.
The person who actually flavored your life is the person you watched go through trouble and keep his or her faith. They did not lose their joy. They walked through hell in perfect peace. The person who tried to get you to pray the sinner’s prayer one day, then went through trouble the next day and lost his or her joy and peace and handled it as does the world, turned you off. You will see them trodden under the feet of men. That is not the relationship you want with the Lord. That is not the church you want to attend. You don’t want that. It’s the person who can take a licking and keep on ticking who flavors your life.
Exceptional people and exceptional churches are formed from conflict and trouble.
No exceptional person and no exceptional church became exceptional without trouble. Joseph was exceptional, but not without trouble. Moses was exceptional, but not without trouble. Joshua, Elijah, Elisha, Deborah, Barak, David, Solomon all had conflict. Paul, Peter, John, and even Jesus were exceptional, but not without conflict and trouble. In fact it was the conflict that made them exceptional. It is what we do with trouble that makes us ordinary or exceptional.
Daniel 1:20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
DANIEL – EXCELLENT SPIRIT, EXCELLENT WISDOM, EXCELLENT TROUBLE
So, Daniel was exceptional. We are told about Daniel from the time of his youth until he was old. All of us can relate to Daniel. Daniel salted his region – his world. However, it was not without conflict and trouble. You remember how Daniel was a young man taken into Babylon captivity. He saw trouble that took most people out, but the trouble taking most people out gave Daniel an excellent spirit and excellent wisdom. Daniel had excellent trouble. Troubles are what makes us excellent and exceptional unless we are neutralized by them.
In Daniel chapter one, Daniel was made a eunuch (actually we are told he was among the eunuchs, so certainly he was made one – Dan 1:9 KJV). That was trouble, but Daniel went on. Daniel caused trouble. He would not eat the food given to him. Exceptional people cause trouble. Daniel refused to be ordinary. He would not bow to the ordinary. Daniel was constantly in deep trouble. I’m not talking about he bounced a check and had to go and straighten it out. I’m not talking about someone was talking about him on the telephone, and I’m not talking about he had a little head cold or he had a kid on drugs. Also, I’m talking about gut wrenching, can’t sleep at night, puking trouble. Daniel got into sealed trouble called the Lions’ den. Daniel was in trouble where nothing was around but hungry lions.
We will begin a look at the book of Daniel.
We are not going to exegete the book of Daniel, and we are going to look at Daniel’s life and how he came through trouble salting everyone as he went. It was the trouble that made Daniel great, wealthy, and powerful. Trouble will make us bitter or better. Trouble will make us ordinary or exceptional, and trouble will cause us to be salty or not fit for the dunghill. We will learn from Daniel how to use our trouble for the good of the kingdom.
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