Know You God and Worship Him (Daniel 6:1-16)
I.) God Deserves, Demands, and Defines Worship
We will begin this morning with a quote from Knowing God by J.I. Packer. Packer says:
“Those who know their God have great energy for God…those who know their God are sensitive to situations in which God’s truth and honor are being directly or tacitly jeopardized, and rather than let the matter go by default will force the issue on men’s attention and seek thereby to compel a change of heart about it – even at personal risk.”
We know our God! We know that the God of heaven and earth desires and demands to be worshipped! As the Creator, He has the right to require the adoration of His creation. The Scripture tells us that He alone is worthy of all honor, glory, and praise. He does not allow His creatures to determine how they will worship Him. He defines what the worship of Him is to look like, and desire and demands we give Him the glory He deserves.
II.) Moses and Pharaoh
In the book of Exodus, God appears to Moses and says to Him:
“10 And now come, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?” 12 And He said, “Assuredly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain.”
He further speaks to Moses and says in verse 16-18 of Exodus 3:
“Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has appeared to me, saying, “I am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 So I said, I will bring you up out of the oppression of Egypt to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, to a land flowing with milk and honey.”’ 18 Then they will pay attention to what you say; and you with the elders of Israel will come to the king of Egypt, and you will say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. So now, please let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, so that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’”
God is going to save Israel from the bondage of the Egyptians, and make them His people so that they might worship Him for who He is, and for what He has done in saving them.
In this portion of Exodus, we do not see only a desire and demand from the Creator to be worshipped by His creatures. We see a definition of what is required of the people of God to worship their God:
1.) All the people of Israel need to be there, “When you have brought the people out of Egypt…”
2.) It needed to be at Mount Sinai, “…you shall worship God at this mountain.”
3.) The sacrifice of animals needed to occur, “let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, so that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’”
That is what God defined, desired, demanded, and how He deserved to be worshipped.
The Scripture tells us in Exodus 5:1-2:
“Moses and Aaron came and said to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘Let My people go so that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness.’” 2But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and besides, I will not let Israel go.”
We see the governing authority whom God had appointed says, no! He does not know God, so he will not obey God. Something we need to understand is that Christ is not only King of the church. He is King of all the earth! He is King of kings and Lord of lords even to those who do not acknowledge Him as such. He is still their Lord and they are accountable to Him. Pharaoh’s response does not at all change the fact that God aims to be adored by His people. In other words, just because Pharaoh says “no”, does not change the fact that the God of heaven and earth still demands to be worshipped.
We see that Moses and Aaron understand this and say to him:
“3The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness so that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God, otherwise He will strike us with plague or with the sword.” 4 But the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you let the people neglect theirwork? Get back to your labors!”
Their request to worship God actually made it harder for God’s people. We know that God will then go on to judge the nation of Egypt with ten plagues that Pharaoh may know His power, and that His name will be proclaimed throughout all of the earth.
During the pouring out of these plagues, there were five times that Pharaoh said he would let God’s people worship Him. Two of those times he said he would let them go and worship exactly how God demanded and defined; if God would just stop the plagues that were coming upon them in judgment. God did so, but Pharaoh would immediately harden his heart and refuse to let them go. The other three times Pharaoh agrees to let them go and worship God, but only on his terms:
1.) After God sends a swarm of insects upon the land, Exodus 8:25-27 says,
“25 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God within the land.” 26 But Moses said, “It is not permissible for us to do so, because we will sacrifice to the Lord our God that which is an abomination to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice that which is an abomination to the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not stone us? 27 We must go a three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God, just as He commands us.”
Pharaoh says, “Worship your God here.” Moses says, “No, that is not how God demanded to be worshipped.”
2.) After God declared He would send a plague of locusts, Exodus 10:8-11 says:
“8 Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh, and he said to them, “Go, serve the Lord your God! Who specifically are the ones who are going?” 9 Moses said, “We shall go with our young and our old; with our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we shall go, for we must hold a feast to the Lord.” 10 Then he said to them, “So may the Lord be with you, when I let you and your little ones go! Watch out, for evil is on your mind! 11 Not so! Go now, but only the men among you, and serve the Lord, since that is what you desire.” So they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.”
Pharaoh says, “Worship your God without the women and children.” God answers Pharaoh by saying “to Moses, ‘Reach out with your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, so that they may come up on the land of Egypt and eat every plant of the land, everything that the hail has left.” That is a resounding “no” from God, because God demanded that all the people be at the mountain to worship.
3.) After God covered the land for three days in a thick darkness that was able to be felt, Exodus 10:24-26 says:
“Pharaoh called for Moses, and said, “Go, serve the Lord; only let your flocks and your herds be left behind. Even your little ones may go with you.”
Turns out a plague of locusts turned Pharaoh into a family man. He tells them, “Your kids can go, but leave your animals. Figure something out when you get there.” The text goes on to say:
“25 But Moses said, “You must also let us have sacrifices and burnt offerings, so that we may sacrifice them to the Lord our God. 26 Therefore, our livestock too shall go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind, for we shall take some of them to serve the Lord our God. And until we arrive there, we ourselves do not know with what we shall serve the Lord.”
Moses’ answer is simple, respectful, and reasonable, “No, we will do what we are commanded to do, and we will do it in its fullest capacity.” God is all about Himself, and He will not give His glory to another. God desires worship. God demands worship. God defines worship. God deserves to be worshipped in the way He defines the worship of Himself to be done.
This is demonstrated in the book of Leviticus when Aaron’s two sons offer a strange fire to the Lord which He did not command to be used in the temple worship where He dwelt among His people. Leviticus 10:1-3 says:
“Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on the fire and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. 2 And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. 3 Then Moses said to Aaron, “It is what the Lord spoke, saying, ‘By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, and before all the people I will be honored.’ So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.”
Man cannot worship God how man chooses. God defines how He is to be worshipped, and man is to humbly obey in adoration.
III.) Daniel and Darius
Consider the account of Daniel defying Darius. Darius differs from Pharaoh in that he gave no thought to the fact that his edict would run contrary to how Daniel was to worship God. The men who sought to establish the mandate had ill intentions towards Daniel, but Darius did not. In other words, Darius was not intentionally trying to disrupt Daniel’s worship of God. In fact, the evil men who wanted the statute established knew that Daniel would defy it even though the king decreed it, because they understood that Daniel was a man who knew His God, and that his God was One who demanded worship, and defined how that worship was to be done. We read in Daniel 6:1-16:
“It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps over the kingdom, to be in charge of the whole kingdom, 2 and over them, three commissioners (of whom Daniel was one), so that these satraps would be accountable to them, and that the king would not suffer loss. 3 Then this Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps because he possessed an extraordinary spirit, and the king intended to appoint him over the entire kingdom. 4 Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel regarding government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, because he was trustworthy, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him. 5 Then these men said, “We will not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him regarding the law of his God.” 6 Then these commissioners and satraps came by agreement to the king and spoke to him as follows: “King Darius, live forever! 7 All the commissioners of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors, have consulted together that the king should establish a statute and enforce an injunction that anyone who offers a prayer to any god or person besides you, O king, for thirty days, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. 8 Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document so that it will not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.” 9 Thereupon, King Darius signed the document, that is, the injunction.10 Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (and in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and offering praise before his God, just as he had been doing previously. 11 Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel offering a prayer and imploring favor before his God.12 Then they approached and spoke before the king about the king’s injunction: “Did you not sign an injunction that any person who offers a prayer to any god or person besides you, O king, for thirty days, is to be thrown into the lions’ den?” The king replied, “The statement is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.” 13 Then they responded and spoke before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the injunction which you signed, but keeps offering his prayer three times a day.14 Then, as soon as the king heard this statement, he was deeply distressed, and set his mind on rescuing Daniel; and until sunset he kept exerting himself to save him. 15 Then these men cameby agreement to the king and said to the king, “Recognize, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or statute which the king establishes may be changed.” 16 Then the king gave orders, and Daniel was brought in and thrown into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “Your God whom you continually serve will Himself rescue you.”
There were three things Daniel could have done to avoid controversy:
1.) He could have closed his window and been more secretive with his prayer.
2.) He could have even prayed without opening his mouth.
3.) Many Christians today would argue that he could have waited thirty days for the edict to expire.
He did not do any of these things. He knew the edict, but he also knew His God. Darius acknowledged this when he said, “Your God whom you continually serve will Himself rescue you.” To serve here means to worship. Darius knew that Daniel was a man who constantly set himself apart for the worship of His God, even if it meant injury to his person. God desires, demands, and deserves to be worshiped, and defines how we are to do it. Daniel knew the edict, and he knew his God.
Darius acknowledged this when he said, “Your God whom you continually serve will Himself rescue you.” To serve here means to worship. Daniel’s defiance drew Darius to see that Daniel was a man who constantly set himself apart for the worship of His God, even if it meant injury to his person. Daniel’s defiance drew Darius to see that God is worthy of all honor, glory, and praise. Daniel’s defiance drew Darius to believe, that since Daniel continually served His God regardless of the consequences, His God must truly be alive and able to save Him, “Your God whom you continually serve will Himself rescue you.” Had Daniel obeyed the edict, what would that say of the God he continually worshipped? He is not realty worthy of all honor, glory, and praise. God desires, demands, and deserves to be worshiped, and defines how we are to do it. Daniel knew the edict, and he knew his God.
IV.) The Church of Gray and Governor Mills
We know the mandates which have been established by Governor Mills. We understand that the mandate puts a limit on our gathering, establishes that social distancing is to be practiced, and declares that facemasks are to be worn at all times regardless of social distancing. Let us be clear, Governor Mills is not persecuting us. She is not even intentionally redefining the worship of God. It is safe to say that the Governor has no idea what the worship of our God entails. We know the mandates, and we know our God.
We know that our God commands us to worship Himself as one corporate body of believers. He purchased us with His blood, and placed in His church; in His body where He is the head, not Caesar. We, therefore, will not enforce a mandate which tells us that we are to restrict our gathering to a certain number, thus preventing all the people who Christ has purchased for Himself and placed in His church, from gathering together at one time as that church.
Church means an assembly. It literally means a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place. We corporately gather together on Sundays to worship the God who saved us sinners by His grace, and made us His saints set apart for His glory.
He commands us to worship Him together through the study and application of His Word.
He commands us to worship Him together through prayer.
He commands us to worship Him together through the ordinance of baptism; the act of somebody publically identifying with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; the One who took on flesh, to take on our sin, to suffer our penalty, and to give us His righteousness.
He commands us to worship Him together by taking communion, and remembering what He has done for us in Christ on the cross.
He commands us to worship Him together through fellowship with one another.
It is because of God’s command for us to worship Him through fellowship with one another that we will not enforce social distancing, or the facemask mandate. We certainly will not discourage anyone from wearing a mask that wants to, and we will respect anybody that desires to practice social distancing, but we will not be enforcing the Governor’s mandate.
In the Scripture there are at least 47 commands on how we worship God through our fellowship with each other. I will give you three:
1.) Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “Let’s consider how to encourage one another in love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some people, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
2.) Romans 16:16 says, “Greet one another with a holy kiss.”
3.) Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
We should understand that genuine fellowship requires intimacy; a close togetherness which revolves around the truth of Christ. It cannot be done at a distance, and it cannot be fully experienced with a mask. A mask strips you of your identity. It truly removes your individuality. Our faces express the state of our spirit. When our spirit is lifted up our faces show it. When our spirit is downcast, our faces show it. When our spirit is angry, our faces show it. Our faces tell one another how we can best minster to each other with the word of Christ, and thus fulfill our worship of God. Proverbs 15:13 says, “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.”
If your understanding of the worship of God is just singing songs, you will never understand why we do not enforce the Governor’s mandates among us. We know our God, and we want to worship Him with the totality of our being as He demands, defines, and deserves.
V.) Behold Your Pandemic
You may say, “Jared, people are sick and dying! Do you not love people?” Nobody denies the existence of COVID-19. Nobody denies that people have and are continuing to get sick. Nobody denies that people have died and people will continue to die by the virus; but there is reason to question its potency. Can we talk about the figures for a moment? It was projected that 2 million people were going to die by the coronavirus. The most recent data tells us that 10.6 million people in America have contracted it, but only 243,000 have died from it. COVID-19 has a 2% death rate. This means if you contract COVID-19 you have a 98% chance of surviving. There is something else to consider on the national level, which is that the CDC revealed that of those 243,000 deaths, only 6% were strictly COVID-19 related deaths. This means that in all of America, only 14,580 people have died of COVID-19. The other 228,420 people died with COVID-19, not necessarily of it. That means they either died of other serious underlying health conditions, or some other way which was not connected to COVID. For instance there have been people who have been counted as COVID deaths though they were killed during a car accident which collapsed their lungs. If you consider just the 14,580 who have died, understand that you have a 99% chance of surviving COVID-19 if you do not have underlying symptoms.
Let us talk about our wonderful state. Maine has a population of 1.344 million people. Of the population, 8,395 people have contracted COVID-19. That is .6%. Not even one percent of the state has contracted it. Of the 8,395 people who have, only 159 have died. In the state of Maine, COVID-19 has a 1.89% chance of killing you if contracted, which means you have a 98.11% chance of recovery. I was unable to find how many of the deaths were actually of COVID-19 and not with it; however, given the CDC’s report, it is reasonable to assume that a majority of the 159, who have died, have not died of COVID, but with it.
Let me just give you some local figures directly from the Maine CDC. Throughout the duration of this supposed pandemic the town of gray, with a population of 8,123 people, has had 20-49 (.2%-.6%) people contract COVID-19. New Gloucester, with a population of 5,974, has had 6-19 (.1%-.3%) get it. Raymond, with a population of 5,263, has had 20-49 (.3%-.9%) get it. Windham, with a population of 18,327, has had 50-99 (.3%-.5%) get it.
All the while in Maine people are losing their jobs. People are losing their homes. People have been unable to be with those closest to them when they are in the hospital. People are losing their loved ones and have been unable to visit them or burry them. Domestic abuse is running rampant. Drug abuse has exploded. Depression is through the roof. Suicide is at an all-time high. Please tell me what the real pandemic is.
VI.) Know Your God and Worship Him
The world has no claim to the word “Love”. Every time a non-believer speaks of love they steal from the Christian worldview. Our God does not simply show love, He is love. He epitomizes it. He demonstrates and defines true love.
The world will try to manipulate people with its love, which is generally superficial and revolves around external matters. God, however, says that if you love people, you will care for far more than just their physical well-being; you will care for their spiritual well-being above all. If we love people we will acknowledge that there is much more to us than flesh and bone. We are made in the image of God. We each have a mind, emotions, and a spirit to be ministered to. Jesus Christ physically saved many people, but He has spiritually ministered to and eternally saved far more.
We are the people of God and His church is to be the pillar and support of the truth. He calls to worship Him as one body through the study of His word, prayer to Him, the observing baptism, the partaking of communion, and genuinely fellowshipping with one another in Christ.
Let us be a people who know our God and who have great zeal for Him, for:
“Those who know their God are sensitive to situations in which God’s truth and honor are being directly or tacitly jeopardized, and rather than let the matter go by default will force the issue on men’s attention and seek thereby to compel a change of heart about it – even at personal risk.”
 Knowing God, J.I. Packer; Page 23-24
 Exodus 3:10-12
 Exodus 5:5-22
 Exodus 9:16
 Exodus 8:8-9; 9:27-28
 Exodus 8:25-27
 Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance; NT Number: G1577