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Sep 13, 2020

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

Passage: Daniel

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: Of Kings and Kingdoms - Daniel

Keywords: test, favor, gave

What sustains our faithfulness in seasons of calm and of unrest? What fosters a “long obedience in the same direction”? The account of Daniel’s life spans nearly 80 years. What had he come to believe about God to enable his faithfulness?

9.13.20 GMR Online Service from Grace Mills River on Vimeo.

Order of Worship

PRE SERVICE: Daniel 1:19
OPENING PRAYER: The Lord’s Prayer
CALL TO WORSHIP: ​Psalm 118:24, 26, 28-29
NT READING: Romans 8:28-33, 35, 37
MESSAGE TITLE: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction
CENTRAL TEXT: Daniel 1:1-21
RESPONSE: Communion
Confession of Sin & Assurance of Pardon (—based on 1 Timothy 1:15, 17, see below)
BENEDICTION: Numbers 6:24-26
POST SERVICE: Daniel 1:17

Children's LessonsChildren's Activity Packet

Readings & Scripture

PRE SERVICE: Daniel 1:19
19 And the king spoke with them, and among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore they stood before the king.

The Lord’s Prayer
ALL: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

For Thine is the Kingdom
and the power and the glory
forever and ever Amen.

CALL TO WORSHIP: ​Psalm 118:24,26,28-29
LEADER: 2​4​ ​This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

26​ ​Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.

28​ ​You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you.

ALL: 29​ ​Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

NT READING: Romans 8:28-33,35,37
LEADER: The bible is one complete story all pointing to the finished work of Christ and the hope of the gospel. Our Central Text for today is found in the Old Testament and so our New Testament Reading related to this week's message and themes is found in Romans 8.

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

CENTRAL TEXT: Daniel 1:1-21
1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god. 3 Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, 4 youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. 5 The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king. 6 Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah. 7 And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego. 8 But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. 9 And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, 10 and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.” 11 Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.” 14 So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king’s food. 16 So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. 17 As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. 18 At the end of the time, when the king had commanded that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 And the king spoke with them, and among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore they stood before the king. 20 And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom. 21 And Daniel was there until the first year of King Cyrus.

Confession of Sin
ALL: Almighty God, we confess how hard it is to be your people.
You have called us to be the church,
to continue the mission of Jesus Christ to our lonely and confused world.

Yet we acknowledge we are more apathetic than active,
isolated than involved, callous than compassionate,
obstinate than obedient, legalistic than loving.
Gracious Lord, have mercy upon us and forgive our sins.
Remove the obstacles preventing us
from being your representatives to a broken world.
Awaken our hearts to the promised gift of your indwelling Spirit.
In humility and faith we confess our sin to You.
This we pray in Jesus’ powerful name. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon
LEADER: Here are words you may trust,
words that merit full acceptance:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
To all who confess their sins and resolve to lead a new life,
He says, “Your sins are forgiven.”
He also says, “Follow me.”
Now to the one who rules all worlds,
immortal, invisible, the only God,
be honor and glory forever and ever.
I declare to you in the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.

All: Thanks be to God.
—based on 1 Timothy 1:15, 17

BENEDICTION: Numbers 6:24-26
24 The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

POST SERVICE: Daniel 1:17
17 As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.


  • Exodus 35:30-33
  • Isaiah 40:23-24
  • Matthew 1:17
  • Luke 12:6-7
  • John 17:11-15
  • Ephesians 4:9-16
  • Philippians 3:20
  • 2 Timothy 2:7; 3:16-17
  • 1 Peter 1:1
  • 1 Peter 5:12-14
  • 2 Peter 3:15


9.13.20 InView Media Album Album


  1. What’s your longest running habit you are glad you were able to cultivate? What did it take to establish it? Why do you think it “took”? How has that served you? When are you most likely to forego it?
  2. Take note of the three times in chapter 1 in which it is said God “gave.” What do just those three comments teach us--about God, or about faith in God, or about faithfulness to God?
  3. How might an Israelite react just to their hearing of Daniel’s claim that it is the Lord who gave the king of Israel into the hands of a Babylonian king?
  4. Have you ever sensed God being “with” you in times of deep darkness and distress? If so, how so?
  5. What’s your greatest struggle in following Jesus in these days? Why that one?


  • Interrogate the writings of the wise, Asking them to tell you how you can / Get through your life in a peaceable tranquil way. Horace
  • God is dead. . . .And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? - Friedrich Nietzsche
  • The essential thing in heaven and earth. . . is that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted, in the long run something which has made life living. - Friedrich Nietzsche
  • The awareness that God acts in history in ways that we can only know in the context of our culturally determined experience should be central to a Christian understanding of history. Yet the Christian must not lose sight of the fact that, just as in the Incarnation Christ's humanity does not compromise His divinity, so the reality of God's other work in history, going well beyond what we might explain as natural phenomena, is not compromised by the fact that it is culturally defined. - George M. Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture
  • All cultures throw certain stumbling blocks in the way of those who pursue gospel realities. - Eugene Peterson




  • Daniel 1, a sermon by Sinclair Ferguson