Sermon Reflections from Redefining A Hero | Damon Hopkins | June 18, 2023
Last Sunday we were privileged to hear from Damon Hopkins as he compared Spiderman and his situations to Daniel from the Old Testament. Damon knew a lot about Spiderman, way more than I do, even though I have seen the latest Spiderman in the U-verse. Spiderman is uniquely heroic in whatever universe he is in and always stands for justice and goodness. Not all those who surround Spiderman, in whichever universe he appears, agree with Spiderman and many would like to see him destroyed or discredited. They would like to see him ruined before their eyes so they can rejoice in his defeat and claim victory. Surprisingly, the situations where Spiderman constantly finds himself entangled do resemble the situation in which Daniel of the Old Testament found himself. Unlike Spiderman, Daniel had no super power of his own but he did trust in the most sovereign superman of all, God.
Daniel was a Jew who was deported as a young man to serve a foreign king in Babylon. We know from Chapter 1 of Daniel, he was a young righteous man who was a good practicing Jew and sought to keep God’s laws even in Babylon. God prospered Daniel and he became learned and was employed by the king. As an advisor Daniel had power which he sought to use justly for the king and his kingdom. There were others that were jealous of Daniel’s knowledge and success and sought to ‘bring him down.’ Scripture tells us they looked for ways to trip him up or find fault in his work or behavior and could not find any. Chapter 6:4-5 “Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. 5 Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”
His opponents got desperate and decided to trick King Darius into making a law that would prohibit the worship on any god but himself for 30 days. They knew that Daniel was faithful to his God and would not let this deter him. They were right, Daniel 6:10 “ When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.” The trap was laid and all they needed to do was wait. God allowed this to unfold as His plan would bring honor to Daniel, honor and glory to Himself and justice to the evil doers.
The opponents of Daniel exposed and accused him of worshipping someone other than king as the law had forbidden for 30 days. When exposed, the king had no alternative but to condemn Daniel to death in the lion’s den. (When the king of the Medes and Persians made an edict or law, it could not be revoked even by the king. The opponents of Daniel knew this and used it to their advantage to get rid of Daniel.)
The King was grieved that he had to carry out the order he had foolishly written but he was obligated to do so. He paced and worried all night and when daylight came, he was right there to see if Daniel’s God had saved him. Chapter 6:19-22 “Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. 20 As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.”
As in the Spiderman movies, now all that was left was the clean-up. The hero had won the battle and good had triumphed over evil. Unlike Spiderman, Daniel’s super power which allowed him to survive safely while with the hungry lions came from God. It was all God and Daniel praises His God and so does the unbelieving King Darius. See how Darius praises God and reveals what he has learned about God’s character through Daniel.
Chapter 6:25-27 “Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel,
For he is the living God, (God is living.)
his kingdom shall never be destroyed, (God is eternal.)
and his dominion shall be to the end.
27 He delivers and rescues; (God cares and rescues.)
he works signs and wonders (God preforms wonders)
in heaven and on earth,
he who has saved Daniel (God saves.)
from the power of the lions.”
God calls each of us to be His Super people wherever He has placed us. Be it in your home, church, community, workplace or nation, He wants us standing for Him. I am reminded of Paul’s admonition in Ephesians 6:13 ‘
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” Just like Daniel we are called to take what God gives us- faith, His righteousness, His salvation, the Word of God, the truth of the gospel, and our spiritual gifts and hold on. We are to stand firm, rooted and grounded in Him. God promises to never leave us or forsake us and we need to trust Him in this, just like Daniel did! We are all called to be His Super people, those called are empowered by Almighty God to do His work in this world. He empowers each of us to live and work for Him every day!
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