Daniel's Vision of a Heavenly Warrior (Daniel Sermon 15 of 17)
April 01, 2001 | Andy Davis
I. The Man the King Delights to Honor
This morning, we're going to continue our series in Daniel by looking at Daniel Chapter 10. And one of the delights of just preaching through a book is you come to chapters that ordinarily you probably wouldn't preach on. But in Daniel Chapter 10, there's some amazing things. The closer you study, the more you see, and I think it's going to be well worth our time. The story is told of a Persian King, who lived a long time ago, who wished to honor a man, who had saved his life. He clothed him in one of his royal robes and had him sit on his best Royal horse, adorned with the Royal Crest on the horse's head and he was led through the streets of the city with one of the noble Princes of the King, holding the bridle of the horse and walking before him proclaiming "This is what is done for the man the King delights to honor."
Now this of course is from Esther. And it was Mordecai who was honored in this way but it got me to thinking, it got me to thinking about who the King delights to honor. In doing that, there's a two-fold strategy. One of them is a reward for the man who had saved the King's life, but the other is a motivation for everyone standing by the road watching as that person is led by, isn't it? Doesn't that create inside you a desire to be one of those honored and esteemed by the King? I would think so. In a kingdom, the esteem of the King is more precious than gold, more costly than Rubies. In a kingdom, the esteem of the King is more valuable than the praise of any other citizen. In a kingdom, the esteem of the King promises good things for the future. Position, wealth and honor and other ways. The esteem of the King means everything. Brothers and sisters in Christ, you live in a kingdom. The kingdom of God.
And therefore the esteem of the King should mean more to you than anything in this world. Are you living now, day by day for the esteem of your King? Does His esteem of you mean more to you than anything else? More to you than the esteem of the world? More to you even than your own self-esteem? What the King thinks about you is more important than anything else?
Our world has many ways to show its esteem, doesn't it? Perhaps a Nobel Prize winner, makes it on the cover of Time magazine. Skilled athlete holds high the Champions Trophy and photographers gather around and take pictures, who knows what, periodical or what newspaper that photo is going to be in. Famous actor is interviewed on The Today Show about his recent movie. Maybe a politician, chosen by millions to be the head of his state. An author listed for 20 weeks on the New York Times Best-Seller list. There's lots of ways that the world just pours it's esteem down on those it seeks to honor. Perhaps a mother is chosen to be Parent Of The Year by the PTA or the student chosen to be Student of the Year by the school. Even a bumper sticker saying "My student is a high honor student at such and such Elementary School." That's ways that the world shows its esteem. There's nothing wrong with all of these things. A good name is more precious than rubies, it's valuable, but all I want you to do is lift your eyes above the esteem of the world to the esteem of your King. The esteem of God Himself. Christians should not therefore ultimately be living for this kind of esteem but rather for what God thinks about you. And in order to do that, you have to have a spiritual view of the world, don't you?
You have to have a sense that there's an invisible spiritual realm around us at all times that there's a King in that invisible world and that what He thinks, matters. And the beauty about Daniel 10 is that both of these issues, the esteem of the King and the surrounding spiritual world, are paramount. They're both very clear. We're going to see in this chapter, as we look at it, a glimpse into the invisible spiritual realm that you won't find anywhere else in the Scripture. Of a spiritual struggle going on in the heavenly realms, and of hierarchies of angels and demons that wrestle it out all the time. The only way we would know about these things is if the scripture tells us, and thankfully scripture has told us. Today, I want to set before you the esteem of the King, and as a part of that or larger than that, the invisible spiritual world in which that King lives.
II. Chapter Overview
Now what we're going to do is we're going to go through the chapter briefly and I'm just going to give you an overview and then we're going to spend time talking about this issue of the spiritual world, the invisible spiritual world that surrounds us at all times, and then we're going to zero in on what kind of person is esteemed by God. I'm going to bring out certain principles from Scripture, so that you can measure yourself against them, and see in reference to the esteem of the King, are you esteemed by the King? Now the context here is laid out in verses 1-3. Look with me, if you will.
It says in the third year of Cyrus, King of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel who was called Belteshazzar, its message was true and it concerned a great war, the understanding of the message came to him in a vision. Verse 2. "At that time I Daniel mourned for three weeks, I ate no choice food. No meat or wine touched my lips and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over." So it's a third-year of Cyrus, King of Persia. We've understood the sequence of empires from the Book of Daniel, first with the Babylonian Empire with King Nebuchadnezzar, and it's ruled for about 70 years and at the end of that time, Medo-Persia came in, Darius the Mede, the local King, I believe over Babylon, but Cyrus the Great, the great King over the Medo-Persian Empire. This is pretty much the end of Daniel's life, in the Book of Daniel. This is the extent that we have, we don't know that he goes much beyond this third year of Cyrus.
So Daniel's an old man at this point, maybe in his 80s perhaps even his 90s, we don't really know. And yet here he is so active, spiritually, kneeling, praying fervently, fasting and seeking the presence of God, the face of God. I think this sets a challenge before all of us to understand that we never retire from spiritual service, do we? Right to the very end of our lives we are to be faithful, active in the service of God and that's what Daniel was. It says again, look at it, Verse 2. "At that time I Daniel mourned for three weeks, I ate no choice food, no meat or wine touched my lips and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over." This is a kind of a limited fast. He wasn't completely fasting for the three weeks but rather held himself back from luxury items. So that he might concentrate fully on the issues at hand. Now, what were those issues? What caused him to fast in this way? What caused him to dedicate himself in prayer? Well, it was a vision that he had. And that vision I believe, extends right to the end of the book. It's a vision in Chapter 11 of armies traveling over the surface of the Promised Land, an incredible detailed chapter we're going to get into next week God willing, of the trampling of the Promised land. Armies going one side to the other. And then on to the very end of time, the end of history, the general resurrection of the dead in chapter 12 and the final judgment.
All of these visions given to Daniel at the end of his life, God wasn't through with Daniel yet, He still had work for him to do, and so He gave him this vision. And it began in verse 4-9, with a vision of a man. Now, we believe that this was an angelic figure. Look with me at verse 4. "On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, I looked up, and there before me was a man dressed in linen with a belt of the finest gold around his waist, his body was like crystallite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze and his voice like the sound of a multitude." So he has a vision of a man but it really is an angel, it's got to be an angelic being. He used the word "man", for Gabriel earlier, the man standing by the Euphrates river, when he had the vision of Alexander the Great, you remember from Chapter 8.
So this is definitely an angelic figure, he's an angel. Some commentators believe this may be a pre-incarnate vision of Christ but I don't think so because as you read through, it seems that this is the same one who's speaking to Daniel and who later on in the chapter expresses his need for help as he wrestled with the Prince of Persia. Now, Jesus doesn't need any help, does He? He's the Son of God, but angels might need some help. And so I think that this is an angelic figure. Now, as Daniel is looking at this vision, he's got some men with him, there's an entourage with him, and verse 70 describes what happened. "I Daniel was the only one who saw the vision. The men with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them, that they fled and hid themselves. So I was left alone gazing at this great vision, I had no strength left and my face turned deathly-pale and I was helpless. Then I heard him speaking and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground."
So here's Daniel with an entourage of men and they are overwhelmed with terror but they can't see anything. Now how can that be? There's just a spiritual presence there, and they can feel it concerning the terror in their minds, but they can't see anything. And this is very much similar to what happened with Saul of Tarsus, you remember? On the road to Damascus, he fell to the ground and he had a vision of the resurrected Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, in full glory, but the men with him couldn't see anything and they couldn't understand the words that were being spoken. This was a selective revelation to Saul of Tarsus, and so also a selective revelation here to Daniel. So the men are running and hiding. Let me tell you something, God has ways of making us afraid. And this is just an angel, this is just an angel. But these were men around Daniel and they're running and looking for a place to hide. Daniel himself overwhelmed by the vision, he's weakened, he's on his face on the ground before this angelic being.
And so the theme of weakness and strengthening becomes major in the rest of the chapter. Look at verse 10-19. "A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. And he said, 'Daniel, you who are highly esteemed consider carefully the words I'm about to speak to you and stand up for I've now been sent to you.' And when He said this to me, I stood up trembling. And then, he continued 'Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard. And I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me 21 days. Then Michael, one of the chief Princes came to help me because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now, I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.' While he was saying this to me, I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless, then one who looked like a man touched my lips and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing before me 'I am overcome with anguish because of this vision my Lord. And I am helpless. How can I your servant talk with you, my Lord, my strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.' Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. 'Do not be afraid O man, highly esteemed' he said. 'Peace, be strong now, be strong.' And while he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, 'Speak my Lord, since you have given me strength.'"
So we see the weakness of Daniel physically, he's overwhelmed physically. He can't get off the ground, he's on his face, actually like in a deep sleep and he's speechless and he's weakened, his human frailty cannot stand the sight of this angelic being. How can we see the face of God and live? Think about that. This is just an angel, not even a ruler angel mind you, just an angel. How can we see the face of God and live? Remember what God said to Moses? "No one can see My face and live," flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. Daniel in his human frailty, could not have stood seeing a full vision, even of the angelic glory, but this was a glorious vision, wasn't it? The brilliance and the brightness shining and Daniel was overwhelmed.
And what was the purpose of this visitation? Look in verse 20. Why did the angel come? He says, "So he said 'Do you know why I've come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the Prince of Persia, and when I go, the Prince of Greece will come. But first, I will tell you what is written in the book of truth. No one supports me against them except Michael, your Prince. And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him.'" The point of this whole mission is to give Daniel, of course, the vision of the glory of this angelic being, to show the power and the strength, and also to give an insight into spiritual warfare and struggle, but all the more that he might have insight into the future of his own people.
There was a vision given to him about his own people. Look at verse 14, we've already read it but look at it again. "Now, I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future. For the vision concerns a time yet to come." So there's a vision about the future of Israel. And it's not in this chapter, we'll get to it over the next number of weeks. Chapter 11 and 12. But it's a vision about the future of Israel. And he's come to give him this vision, but he did it in glory, didn't he? He did it with a shining radiance and quite a display, he was making an impression on Daniel. And there was warfare in the heavens and there will be warfare on the Earth. That's the message, all of chapter 11, one battle after another, in the promised land, and chapter 12 concluding with the tribulations of the people of God, right up to the end of the world.
So that's an overview of chapter 10. It's a vision of an angel who came to give Daniel a message. A vision of the future, we'll look at the vision over the next several weeks.
III. A Glimpse Into the Spiritual World
But what's left here is a sense of the impression of the surrounding spiritual world, in which we live. A glimpse into that spiritual world. Now, all of us sitting in here feel on our bodies at this present time about 15 pounds per square inch of air. Do you feel it? No? Well, you're used to it, aren't you? But when you get in an airplane and you take off and you start ascending 10,000 feet, 20,000 feet, 30,000 feet, do you feel something then? Well, sometimes. The cabin pressure is stabilizing and your ears start to pop, why? Because you're used to a certain pressure, and when you get up higher and there's not as much pressure around it, you feel it. And you say "Why in the world are you talk... And why would you think we'd be interested in this?" Well, this is what you survive in all the time, this is the air that surrounds you, and Jesus Himself, likened the spiritual world, to wind didn't he? He said in John 3. "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born by the spirit." Now, you might not think much about the power of air, but it's very powerful.
Do you remember the Hurricane Andrew down in Florida, a number of years ago, looked like a nuclear bomb had hit certain parts of Florida? Trees flattened, buildings destroyed. The one thing that I remember about that was a school bus upside down on a two-story building, on the second story of a building. A school bus. Now, I've never thought of school buses being very aerodynamic. They don't fly very well. But this wind just came and picked this bus up and turned it upside down and set it down on top of the building, 25 feet in the air. That's power, and that's the way it is with the spiritual realm around us, incredible power and we don't feel it, we don't know it's there, unless there's certain changes that God permits, then we'll start to feel it. But we have around us right now angelic beings. Did you know that?
And we also have around us demonic beings. Did you know that? And the Bible wants us to know about them. The Bible wants us to be aware of the spiritual realm around us. There was a time when Elisha, the prophet was going to be captured by a Gentile King and he sent his army to capture him, you know the story. And Elisha is there with his servant and the servant gets up in the morning and comes out and he sees the army of the Arameans, and he's terrified and he calls the prophet, the prophet comes out and the servant is terrified and thinks they're going to be hauled off to Aramea. Elisha just looks and he's totally as ease. Don't worry about them at all. But how can you be so cool? What's going on? We're surrounded by an army.
Well, there's more on our side than there are on their side. We're going to win this battle. What are you talking about? And then, what did Elisha do? He prayed. "O Lord, open his eyes." Will you join with me right now in prayer. Heavenly Father, I pray that you would open our eyes to the spiritual realm, that we might see what you want us to see, that we might realize what there is around us and that we might act accordingly. I pray in Jesus' name, amen. O Lord open his eyes, and then the Lord did open the servant's eyes and he looked and saw the hills, full of horses and chariots of fire around Elisha. They were there all along, but Elisha couldn't see them. They were in the spiritual realm.
Well, what is this spiritual realm? What does the Scripture teach us about the spiritual realm? First of all, the Scripture teaches us that it was here first, it was here before all this stuff that we're so accustomed to, the physical world. How do we know that? Well Hebrews 11:3 tells us, "By faith, we understand that the universe was formed at God's word so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible." There was a time when none of this stuff was here and God spoke a spiritual word, because God is Spirit, He spoke and everything that is around us, all the stuff, the wood you're sitting on and the walls and the glass and the clothes and the people and all of that were created. There was a time they didn't exist, but the spiritual world has always existed. It was here first. And it will be here last, it will be here last. When all of this stuff is gone, the spiritual world will still be here. 2 Corinthians 4:18 says "We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, for what is seen is temporary. But what is unseen is eternal." You are living physically in a temporary world. But the eternal world, the spiritual world is eternal. And that spiritual world can only be perceived by faith. If you don't have faith, you won't see it. If God doesn't reveal it to you through His Word, you won't perceive it. Hebrews 11:1 says "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things what not seen." You can't see the spiritual realm except by faith, and that spiritual realm is full of spiritual beings, not just God but spiritual beings. There are good spiritual beings, and there are evil spiritual beings. They weren't created evil, but they have become evil. Good spiritual being Cherubim, Seraphim living creatures in the Book of Revelation, so strange they defy description. When you read about those living creatures do you feel a little weird? What are they? Well, God created them. There are things up there, you don't know about. And God made them. And so also, there are evil spiritual beings around us at all times. Satan and rulers, and authorities, and powers in the heavenly realms it says, they're all there. And then finally, the spiritual world is the home of God, Himself.
John 4:24, Jesus said "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." There's a spiritual realm, and that's where His throne is. You want to be esteemed by God, you have to believe that He's there. And that He rules and that He approves or disapproves of everything, everything either meets with His approval or disapproval. The key is the surrounding spiritual realm and God is there. Along with that comes the sense of spiritual warfare. It's not just that there is a spiritual world, but the spiritual world is at conflict with itself. There's a war going on. Look at verse 12 and 13, in our chapter here. "Then he continued. 'Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.'"
Never think that a delay in an answer to prayer means God hasn't heard your prayer, He heard it as soon as you uttered it, as soon as the prayer went up, God heard it. Okay, but then He sent, He dispatched an angel with a message for him and that angel took 21 days to get there. Now, think about yourself, would you have lasted the 21 days, waiting and waiting for God to answer? Daniel was a man of faith. He kept praying and praying, until he got his answer. But look what it says in verse 13, very interesting. "The Prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me 21 days." Now, who in the world is this? The Prince of the Persian kingdom. Well, it could be just a human king, but do you really think so? You've already seen the vision of the angel, he's terrified. And every time an angel appears in scripture what do they need to say? "Fear not", right? Every time. You remember the Roman centurion, the Roman centurions, the Roman guards around Jesus' tomb and the angel comes down from heaven. His appearance is like lightning, he rolls back the stone. We're going to talk about that in a couple of weeks. Resurrection day.
And then the angel's, his appearance is like lightning, his clothes as white as snow, just like this one. And what are those mighty Roman soldiers doing at that moment? Trembling with fear and on the ground like dead men. These world-conquering Roman soldiers, they can't handle even the appearance. He didn't even say anything mean to them. He just appeared, and moved the stone, He didn't even say anything to them, they're dealt with, they're paralyzed on the ground. Do you think any human Prince could restrain this angel 21 days? No way. Well, who's got that much power? Well, maybe an evil angel does. And there's a wrestling going on in the spiritual realm, and for 21 days they wrestled and he needed help, didn't he? And he needed help from Michael, and Michael comes and helps him. And the two of them overcome. And finally, this angel can come to Daniel. And then he says in verse 20, look at it with me. "Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia."
It's kind of like he's on furlough from the battle, World War I, he's been given a three-day pass to Paris and now he's going to go back to the front lines and begin to fight again. And that's what it is, a little furlough from the spiritual warfare to come and give a message to Daniel and then he's going to go back and fight the prince of Persia again. And this fight goes on and on and on. The angel Gabriel appeared to Daniel and the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary 500 years later. They never die. And so they're struggling and they're fighting generation after generation the struggle goes on.
"Soon, I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go the prince of Greece will come." Who is this? Well, another perhaps demonic being in charge of the Greek Empire that soon to come. But first I must tell you what is written in the book of truth. No one supports them, supports me against them except Michael, your priest, your Prince. And then verse 1, Chapter 11, it says, "And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him." So there's a warfare going on in the Heavenly realms. This is reflected in Revelation 12:7-9, this is the original pre-historic battle Revelation 12:7-9, "And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was not strong enough and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down, that ancient serpent called the devil or Satan, who leads the whole world astray, he was hurled to the Earth and his angels with him."
So there's a warfare going on, and there's mighty warrior angels in heaven. Have you ever been to one of those Christian book stores with the little books and smelly things? You know what I'm talking about? Little smelly, frilly pink things with lace and things like that. And there are may be about 20 books in the back, if you look hard you can find them. And in the back, you go to the back and you'll see angels there, like Precious Moments angels. I'm not trying to put any... You may like Precious Moments angels and there may be beings like that in the spiritual realms, but this is not a sissy angel, okay? This is a warrior angel, alright? A warrior angel, this is not a Precious Moments angel. This is a warrior angel and he's there to fight. I could say more about artistic angels at this point, but I won't. I'm just going to move on, alright? Just going to move on. You do research on angels and see if they line up. That's up to you what you want to do.
But this is a powerful warrior angel and he's there with body like crystallite, it's like crystal, and his face like lightning, and his eyes like flaming torches, and his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice sounding like a multitude. What an angel. What a powerful being. And he is stood off for 21 days by a counterpart. Does that scare you? Whoa, what is going on in the heavenly realms? What is going on? And then, there are these ruler angels, of which this angel is not one, apparently. Michael is called one of the chief princes. Verse 13, "Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help." We've got the term archangel, and the Greek Archon means ruler. Ruler angel. So we've got this archangel coming to help. And the two of them together can overcome this demonic being, whoever it is. There are mighty demonic powers and forces in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:10 and following says, "Finally be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Well, there it is. Scripture is consistent about this. And there are rulers and there are authorities and there are powers. There's a hierarchy, I believe, on both sides. I think Satan has a kingdom the way that God has a kingdom, but nowhere near as powerful. We're not one of these good-evil struggle things, not at all. Satan's a created being and God can pull the plug on him any time he chooses, just hasn't chosen yet. But Jesus Himself spoke of His kingdom, remember? He says in Matthew 12:26, "If Satan drives out Satan, how then can his, kingdom stand?" Colossians 1:13 says, "We have been rescued from the dominion of darkness." So there's a kingdom and there's an order and structure to that kingdom.
Now, this text brings up the idea of territorial spirits. I don't want to get into that very much. The idea is that demons are assigned certain places in geography, et cetera, like the Prince of Persia, Prince of Greece and all that. I find some of that a little overly speculative. All I know is what I'm reading here, but there's a whole vocabulary and even a whole prayer strategy now, in reference to territorial spirits. I would advise you to be careful about some of those things. Pray as the scripture instructs. But Ephesians 6 says we must put on our spiritual armor because there's spiritual warfare going on around us.
Now, what are our weapons? Well, we've got defensive weapons, the whole armor of God. You can read about that in Ephesians 6. We've got offensive weapons. And what are they? Well, there are two. We have the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. And we have all prayer. Pray in the spirit with all, at all occasions with all kinds of prayers and petitions. Those are our offensive weapons. And Daniel is on his face, taking advantage of his prayer weapon.
And the beauty of it is, that we, all of us, are involved in that struggle, are we not? We are all of us in the warfare. We were rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought into the kingdom of the Son He loves. And then, what does He do? He trains us, prepares us and send us back to the evil kingdom to rescue people out of that kingdom. "I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." We're going to go over those gates with our spiritual armor and we're going to rescue the perishing. That's a whole struggle here. We have a spiritual struggle and is Satan going to give up his kingdom easily? Don't you believe it. That's the struggle, the spiritual warfare.
Now, let me ask you a question. Just imagine with me for a minute. We talked about 15 psi on your skin and the feeling you have as you go up 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 feet in a 747. Well, let's talk about some spiritual fluctuation. Suppose just for a minute that God decided to remove from you, for 24 hours, every single demonic influence. Everyone. There would be no attacks on your body, no temptations, no pulls on you in any way, no satanic accusations or insinuations, nothing gets through that day. Nothing. How would you feel? Would it be like heaven on earth? You'd never had a day like that. But you don't know it, because you've never experienced it.
Alright let's turn it around. Let's say, God withdraws all His angelic protection and Satan can just have his way with you for 24 hours. Well, we saw that in the Book of Job, what happened there. He had almost nothing left, ravages at that point. Ravages on his possessions, ravages on his family, ravages on his body. That's what Satan would do to you and his kingdom, if God permitted it. This is the reality of the spiritual realm, and it's here and it's real, and if you don't believe it, you don't have faith. Faith teaches us about these things.
IV. Who Does God Highly Esteem?
Now, in the middle of that is a being, God, who created it all, and He either approves or disapproves of everything in that realm. And it is He who either esteems or does not esteem you and the things you do. You see how it fits? And it is said of Daniel, three times, that he is a man highly esteemed. Daniel 9:23, last week, we saw it, "As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed." Daniel 10:11, "He said, Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I'm about to speak to you and stand up for I have now been sent to you." Daniel 10:19, "Do not be afraid. Oh man, highly esteemed, he said." The Hebrew word implies preciousness. He is precious and desirable to God.
Highly esteemed. Now, when I hear the word esteem what do you think of these days? Self-esteem. Isn't that the first thing that pops in your mind? Where did that come from? Concern over self-esteem? Well, I don't know, but I think it may have come from Abraham Maslow. Abraham Maslow was a psychiatrist who came up with a whole hierarchy of values from the physical, all the way up to the highest what he called Self-Actualization. He wrote about all this stuff and said basically, the healthiest person is totally integrated as a self and self-actualized. All the answers are in one self. Esteem, just a step below that. I think that the educational system in the US bought into this, and they said, "Therefore we want to churn out a series of students that have above all else self-esteem." Can I show you something higher? God esteem is higher. It's more important what God thinks about you, even than what you think about yourself. Now, you can say "Well how do we know what God esteems and what He does not?" Well He told us in scripture. It says in Ephesians 5:10 that we should find out what pleases the Lord. It says in Micah 6:8, "He has shown you O man, what is good. And what does the Lord requires of you?"
He has told us. We just need to read the scripture. If you guess at it, you'll get it wrong, but if you read the scripture, you'll find out. And I've listed out 10 things here in scripture in which God says, "I honor these things, these are the things I esteem."
Number one: Honor God exalting Him above all else, 1 Samuel 2:30. "Those who honor me, I will honor," He says "But those who despise me will be disdained."
Also, God esteems those who tremble at His word. Isaiah 66:2. "This is the one I esteem. He was humble and contrite and who trembles at My word."
Along with that being humble and contrite are those number three, who are broken-hearted over sin, leading to humility. Psalm 51:17 says, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart you will not despise O God."
Number four, God esteems those who love Him, trust Him, and call on Him in a day of trouble. Even for salvation. Psalm 91:14 and following, "'because he loves me,' says the Lord, 'I will rescue him. I will protect him for he acknowledges my name, he will call upon me and I will answer him, I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him, and I will honor him, I will satisfy him with long life, and with salvation.'" "I will honor him."
Number five, knowledge of God, to know God. "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom," it says in Jeremiah 9, "Or the strong man, boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts, boast about this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on the earth for in these I delight." God delights in knowledge about Himself, in us. He also delights in obedience, heartfelt obedience, 1 Samuel 15:22, "Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord?" You want God to esteem you, then obey what He says. Do the things that He's commanded you to do.
Number seven, God esteems those who have compassion on the poor. James 1:27, "Religion that our God and Father accepts as pure and faultless is this, to look after orphans and widows in their distress." God also esteems those who keep themselves from being polluted by the world, James 1:27 says. Pure in heart, not polluted by worldly things.
And number nine, God esteems those who do good works persistently by faith, not for salvation, we've learned that, but just as an outflow of a righteous life, Romans 2:7 and 10, "To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, He will give eternal life. There will be glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good." God will honor that person.
And number ten, just this one alone, John 12:26, Jesus said this, "My father will honor the one who serves me." Ah, didn't that bring goosebumps? My father will honor the one who serves me.
Now, let's not get a big head here folks. We're not going to get honored because we're so wonderful. It's just the mercy and the grace of God. But these are 10 things. Do these things line up with your life? Read them. And then go back to Daniel and see how each one of them, each one of them are found in Daniel's life. I'm not going to go through them right now but look through and you'll find evidence of each of these 10 things in Daniel's life. This is the man, and this is the woman that God highly esteems. Well, what should we say in response to this?
Number one. I want you to understand that there is a spiritual world around us, at all times. You can't be naive about this anymore. I've told you, very plainly and it's in the Scriptures, it's here, it's real. And we have responsibilities to protect ourselves and our families. To put on our spiritual armor, to pray in the Spirit, to be aware of what Satan is doing, to be aware, not unaware of his schemes it says. 1 Peter 5:8-9 says, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy, your enemy, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith because you know that your brothers through out the world are undergoing the same kinds of struggles." I love to talk to Christians who say, and I believe it's true, all of us, we have a personal Savior in Jesus, don't we? We have a personal Savior. You also have a personal enemy. Don't underestimate him, don't underestimate him, be ready for him. Read Ephesians 6. Read it this afternoon and put on the full armor of God, be ready.
And secondly, live for God's praise, live for the esteem of God, go over these 10 things that I've shown you that God has told us he esteems in us, and then don't say "Well I'm going to go out and try to do it on my own." Jesus said, "Apart from me, you can do what?" Nothing. Be a spiritual beggar and take each one and say "God work this in me, work this in me each one O God", pray over it. Take the list and pray. I've given you the scripture references, go home, pray over these 10 things. And don't do it for a day or a week or a month, do it until you see them in you and do it all the more. This is what God esteems, and this is what He will be seeing and looking for in you on Judgment Day.
The final word here is this, there is no human being, no one, who can stand before God on his or her own merits. It doesn't matter how much you see these 10 things in your life, understand you have no hope on Judgment Day, if you're not clothed with the king's robe. Remember how we began? "This is the one I esteem..." And he puts his own robe on the guy and rides him through the city. So it is with justification. By faith in Christ alone, you will be saved. And so who is the one that God truly esteems? One person, Jesus Christ, that's who he esteems. At His baptism and on the Mount of Transfiguration, both, a voice came from heaven saying, "This is my Son whom I love, with Him I am well pleased." If you find yourself in Christ on judgment day, you will be well pleasing to God too. Come to Christ today if you don't know him, give yourself to Him. You can't stand before God on your own, but you can stand in Christ righteousness. Won't you join with me in prayer?