Monday Morning Coffee with Mark

The Heart of Obedience

August 28, 2023 Mark Roberts Season 3 Episode 41
Monday Morning Coffee with Mark
The Heart of Obedience
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Welcome to the Westside church’s special Monday Morning Coffee podcast with Mark Roberts. Mark is a disciple, a husband, father and grand dad, as well as a certified coffee geek, fan of CS Lewis’ writings and he loves his big red Jeep. He’s also the preacher for Westside church.

Speaker 1:

Hello, and welcome to the Westside churches special Monday Morning Coffee podcast on this podcast, our preacher Mark Roberts will help you get your week started right. With look back at yesterday's sermon so that we can think through it further and better work the applications into our daily lives . Mark will then look forward into this week's Bible reading so that we can know what to expect and watch for. And, he may have some extra bonus thoughts from time to time. So grab a cup of coffee as we start the week together on Monday Morning Coffee with Mark.

Speaker 3:

Good morning. Good morning. Welcome to the Monday Morning Coffee podcast for Monday, August the 28th. I'm Mark and I'm holding an amazing cup of coffee in an amazing coffee cup. I'm drinking some mojo coffee from some amazing beans that were sent to me by my good friend, brother Darryl, down in Benet , Texas from Mojo Coffee. Wow, great stuff. And I appreciate Darryl so much. And I'm drinking it out of a cup with a big scarlet block o on it because, because college football is back. There were some games over the weekend, but the real season starts this Saturday and that's pretty exciting. The N F L is next. Hunting season is beginning. All the good things that fall is are starting to happen, aren't they? And that's a great way to start the week. Mondays are kind of downers, but oh, so much good stuff to look forward to, including for those of us in Texas. The weather may be breaking. We've had these just scorching triple digit and record high 108 hundred and nine kind of days, and this week it's supposed to, at least today on Monday, we should not even see 100 says something when you think 94 is cool. But so it is summer in Texas this year. Wow. All kinds of good things happening, including starting one of my favorite books of the Bible. Yep . We're gonna start reading in Daniel this week and we'll get to daily Bible reading in just a moment as we start with and think about yesterday's sermon. Whoa , everything is happening. Let's get started. So let's look back to yesterday. I love this part of the podcast because sometimes the stuff that happens on Sunday, it's really important in the moment and we're really praying about it and thinking about it and trying to install that into our lives. And then by the time we get to Monday morning and all the stuff that goes on Sunday afternoon, maybe we got us a big old nap and watch some golf or whatever and then had to get kids ready for school. And we're flying out the door Monday. And somehow Sunday kind of gets lost. Let's go back to Sunday. Sunday. I'm talking in the 10 40 about having a heart for God. We're talking about aligning our core at the very deepest level with God and with God's will. What does it mean to have God at the center of who we are and what we want and what we feel and decide and do, making God the dominant force in our actions, deeds and thoughts. That's what this is about. And yesterday I talked about obedience. You have to talk about obeying God if you're gonna talk about having a heart for God. And I hope a couple of things come out of that sermon for you. Maybe a renewed interest in obedience, a renewed understanding of how central that is to our relationship with God, but maybe some emphasis on, I need to do that from the heart. It's not about checking the boxes. It's not about a perfunctory following of the rules. It's about doing the Lord's will because I want to do the Lord's will. So here's the verse for today, Psalm 34, 8. This is my favorite verse in the Bible. Oh , taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed . It is the man who takes refuge in him. And my challenge to you today is just try it, taste and see that the Lord is good. Try obeying God fully from the heart. Just try it because the more you obey God from the heart, the more you will see how good God is, which will make you want to obey God more from the heart, which will cause you to see even more how good God is. See , just sets up a cycle. It just sets up a cycle. As long as you stand on the outside looking in with your arms crossed, okay, God, I I don't wanna burn in hell . So I I I'm gonna go over there and do those religious chores. You're never gonna get there. You're never gonna get where you want to be in your relationship with God. That's not having a heart for God. And God could make you do everything he wants you to do. So the fact that he lets us choose clearly tells us and clearly shows us God is not interested in compulsory obedience, just being forced to do his will. He wants you to choose him to choose his way. The great thing about that is the Bible assures us that when we do that, we will find God's way is best. God's way is amazing. God's way is the right way to live and provides meaning and purpose in all that we are doing. Try it taste and see that the Lord is good. Obey God from the heart. And maybe the way to end this is just to challenge you. What part of your heart are you not giving to the Lord? Where are you not being obedient to God because you're thinking that's not gonna work, that really doesn't work in today's world. God, I really can't do that. I'm afraid to try. Do it, try it. Try full obedience to God from the heart. And as we do that, we'll be reading about someone who was wonderfully good at doing that. And that is Daniel, get your Bible. Let's turn to Daniel chapter one. It is Monday and today's reading is in Daniel, the first chapter today. We'll read Daniel chapter one. And if I could find my reading schedule, I'd tell you how much of Daniel one we'd read. Daniel one, one to seven. Let me grab some coffee. Daniel one, one to seven. And maybe the thing to do here is to say a couple things in preparation for reading Daniel. And I really don't think I'm gonna have tons and tons to say here on the podcast, at least in these first six chapters. 'cause I think this history lays out pretty clean and pretty clear for us. So I don't anticipate these being long episodes. But there are a couple things to watch out for here as we begin in the book of Daniel, that starts with the problem of turning Daniel into a series of children's stories where we fail to take seriously the deadly problems Daniel and his friend's face. And we failed to see that these are not cute stories to be read in nursery class or in the little kid's class. No, these are adult stories for adults to encourage some specific things as people needed to draw near to the Lord. And I guess I would say secondly, maybe we need to watch out for this business of treating the visions. That's the stuff that begins in chapter seven through the end of the book in chapter 12 as some kind of coded way of reading today's news headlines. I'll have more to say about that when we come to Daniel chapter seven. But if you're expecting that somehow we're gonna read Daniel and it's gonna unravel the mysteries of the Ukrainian war or what the European Union Union is going to do next, forget it. That's not what Daniel is all about. And then maybe the biggest challenge, especially for people who are reading their Bible regularly and who are listening to a podcast about Bible reading, maybe the challenge here is to be certain that we're not just reading this perfunctory. That's kind of the word of the day, I guess. And and thinking of this in kind of a old hat, I've been there, I've done that, I've read this. We want to look at this with as fresh eyes as possible maybe. Maybe you're gonna change translations to read these first six chapters of Daniel so that it has more of that story flavor. This is definitely history. And I'm gonna be using the history reading questions in the first six chapters from the top of our Bible reading schedule question section, what is going on in this history? What is going on in this story that causes us to draw near to God? And I want to emphasize to you that the book of Daniel is about sovereignty. It is about God, rulership, God's power, God's sovereignty. We do well. Well, to remember that Daniel was written during a time when people gauged the power and strength of a God by looking at what was happening to that people, the people of that God. And if those people were defeated, it was just assumed, well, hmm , yes , your god's pretty weak, isn't he? Because we came over here and clobbered, you guys, our gods are better than your gods. And so in some ways the Book of Daniel is a testimony to everyone, the Babylonians and the Jews, that that doesn't work. That equation isn't going to play when it comes to the real God of the Bible. In some ways, maybe Daniel reminds us of the book of Exodus, which I'm teaching on Sundays. You get a lot of miracles, you get some signs. And the heathen, the pagans, they're made to recognize that the Hebrews God is God. And of course, underlying all of that, this is a huge reminder to the Jews that God has not cast them off, that God is still working, they are still the people of God, and their God has not been defeated. This book is very much about the power of God and especially because God is sovereign and so majestic and strong and powerful, prayer is significant. This is the book about the power of prayer. Wow, what a thing to help us draw near to God. I love that. And I know that you are going to love that as well. So in our Bible reading then we are in Daniel chapter one, which begins in the third year of the reign of je. So we're backing up in the timeline a little bit. We read all the way through Jeremiah and through Second Kings and and burned down Jerusalem and sent everybody off into exile. We're backing it up now. Hit rewind a little bit. Let's get focused here. Let's get fixed where we are in the timeline. This is 6 0 5 bc. This is the first invasion of the Babylonians Nebuchadnezzar comms . He will come again in 5 97 and then finally and fully in 5 86. There's destruction in captive taking all along the way. 6 0 5 JE come . That's the guy that burnt the scroll that Jeremiah wrote for him, that God had Jeremiah write for him. And that 6 0 5 date becomes important in light of the 70 year of exile that we read about in Jeremiah chapter 29. So from the first deportation in 6 0 5 to the return in 5 35 is yes. I didn't even have to ask Dina . It's 70 years and the theme of God's sovereignty is made clear immediately. Verse two. And the Lord gave jeh and king of Judah into his hand. It wasn't because Nebu Keezer had the best army on the planet or had brilliant military strategy or great generals. God did this to punish the people coming outta Lamentations. We ought to have that fixed pretty firmly in our mind. But the Bible works to make sure that we see that. And then there's a reference there to shiner , which is just another word for Babylon. Don't get lost there. And what happens is they grab Nebuchadnezzar shows up, you become his vassal puppet state. I I, I like the illustration of when the Soviet Union was in existence in a bunch of those eastern block countries like East Germany and Poland. They were just under the thumb of the Soviets and they had their own premier or prime minister or president or whatever they wanna call that guy. He was totally not in power at all. They just did what Moscow told him to do. So je come is king. But yeah, he's an under king. He's gonna have to do what Nebuchadnezzar tells him to do or there will be significant consequences. And so in 6 0 5, he has made a vassal of the of Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian Empire. And as part of that, they grab the best of the land, the young men, the princes, and take them home to Babylon. They would serve as hostages there and they will be trained in Babylonian government service. This is one of the things that the Babylonian empire did that promoted stability throughout their empire. They used people in leadership positions who understood the people that they were ruling over. And so then in verse five, we get this business about what are we eating here? And that may be food that sacrificed to idols or other kinds of foods that are not kosher. And that's gonna set up a huge conflict here. That's gonna set up a huge problem for Daniel and his Jewish friends. Are we eating what the law of Moses forbids us to eat? Parents, you need to sit down with your kids and talk about the pressure on Daniel and you talk about how difficult this was. His parents wouldn't know they are back in Judah. He could say, we've got to do this. It's part of our job. They could decide this is a small matter. Obeying God is not that important. Yeah, somebody could be saying that, couldn't they? Maybe they would decide the kosher laws, all that that plays back home. But here in Babylon things are different. We're heading to a huge showdown. Is Daniel and his friends going to do wrong in a foreign land? We'll see as we continue in Daniel one on Tuesday, it is Tuesday, and today we read Daniel chapter one verses eight to 21. And after telling you yesterday, these podcast episodes aren't going to be very long. I just went on forever. Let me see if I can do a little bit better today. This is not difficult reading. The key here is that Daniel resolved Daniel one, eight, that he is not going to sin . And then the key thing really the important thing , uh, you need to get ahold of this. Daniel's not really the hero in Daniel. God is the hero in Daniel because verse nine, God gave Daniel favor and then notice verse 17, God gave them learning and skill in all literature. One man fears the king. That's verse 10, the chief of the Euch said, I fear my Lord the king. One man fears God, that man Daniel, he comes out on top because God blesses obedience. God is at work. I wanna talk about that more this Sunday as part of this new series unzipped because sometimes we act like God isn't at work yet the Bible shows us constantly God is working, God is at work in the life of Daniel, Shadrach , Meshach , and Abednego . It's a joy to get to read that and see the sovereignty of God. Last thing Daniel verse 21 was there until the first year of King Cyrus. That's all the way down to 5 38. And lots of people think of Daniel in the lion's den and they think of a little boy being chunked in there with Simba. And that is not it. By the time Daniel gets thrown in the lion's den, he is an old man. How's that for updating your view of Daniel More in Daniel, we're gonna get our first vision in a book full of visions. Daniel chapter two on Wednesday. It is Wednesday and today we begin Daniel chapter two. This is easily one of the most important chapters in the Old Testament because it spans the intertestamental period. This chapter helps us understand the stuff that happens between Malachi and Matthew. We'll break that out and talk about that as we're working down through the chapter today. We began with Nebuchadnezzar having this terrible dream. This would be somewhere 6 0 3, 6 0 2 as best we're able to tell. And he summons the wise men, the Chaldeans, magicians, and c Channelers. And so war wise men here are not the smart guys. These aren't guys that made straight A's in physics and trigonometry. These are men who know astrology. They know the occult, they understand magic, that kind of thing to divine the will of the gods. That's what Nebuchadnezzar is looking for here. And interestingly, verse four, just a little trivial mode here for Daniel in verse four, when the Chaldeans speak, the book switches all the manuscripts we have of the book switch from Hebrew to Arama. No one knows why. It switches back to Hebrew at the start of chapter eight. And if you know why that happens , you can write a doctoral dissertation about that. We'll all pay money to read it and that'll be great. It's a very odd occurrence. All of a sudden we get Aramaic and in verse five, the King James makes it sound like Nebuchadnezzar forgot the dream. That's not actually right. The key thing here is that Nebuchadnezzar are going to tell them the dream because he wants some kind of checkable way to say , are these guys really giving me the goods? If they know so much, if they're able to divine all of this, then hey, just tell me what I dreamed then tell me what the dream is all about. Catch verse 11. You can't do this. There's no way anybody can do this because it could only be done if the Gods dwell among men, who's this is impossible. No one can show it. Verse 11 to the king except the gods who's dwelling is not with flesh. Guess what? Guess what? There is one that God dwells with. Daniel the servant of the Lord. We'll read more of this tomorrow. Let's think through Daniel chapter two. Tomorrow we'll get a look at what Daniel has to do with Nebuchadnezzar's dream. It is Thursday and today we read Daniel chapter two verses 17 to 30 . There's a tremendous prayer here that is often overlooked. We rush to the interpretation of the dream, the statue. Super cool . Gotta talk about that. Make sure that you slow down and notice verse 18, to seek mercy from the God of heaven. Who's doing this? Who's acting? Daniel's not the hero. God's sovereignty is what's on display. And Daniel says, blessed be the name of God forever and ever. What does it mean to bless God when God blesses us? That means he brings good things into our lives. Clearly we cannot bless God in that kind of fashion. We cannot add anything to God. We cannot give God good things that that make him better. That that that's, that's not what that's about. Bless God or bless his holy name, bless him. That's an expression that's used several times in the Old Testament, particularly in the Psalms. For example, Psalm 72 19, Psalm 96 2, Psalm 1 0 3, 1. The idea of blessing, God is the idea to express appreciation and gratitude and honor. It suggests one writer said, an acknowledgement of communion with the one who is named as the object of what he has come to mean to you. So blessing is just a way of praising God. We bless the name of God. We say that God is worthy of praise. He is worthy of honor. He is worthy of our worship. He's worthy of our recognition. You might try to think about incorporating that into your prayer life. That's a different kind of phrase. Can you say that? Bless his name. Blessed be the name of God forever and ever. And I love this prayer of Daniels begins in Daniel chapter two, verse 20. God is acknowledged here and praised. He is blessed for his wisdom and might for his sovereignty and world affairs and for being the source of all wisdom and knowledge for the revealer of secret things. God knows all things. God is the one who holds all things in his hand. Daniel acknowledges this and asks God for wisdom so that he can interpret this dream. And so then Daniel just goes verse 24 and says, I got this och . Verse 25, kind of tries to take some of the credit for some of this. And Daniel then shows up and there would be an enormous temptation, particularly as a foreigner to really show out. Look at me, look at me, look at me. I know this stuff. And Daniel never does that. Daniel says, it's not about me. In fact, the king says, are you able to make known to me the dream? Verse 26. And Daniel says, eh , that's wrong. It's not me. I can't do it. Nope, nope , nope . Can you imagine contradicting the king? King says, you're the guy, right? And Daniel says, no, I'm not. I can't do it. But there is a God. Verse 28 in heaven, who reveals mysteries? God is the one who's going to do this, Nebuchadnezzar. That's where we need to focus our attention. And the revealing of the dream comes in tomorrow's reading. Can't wait to read that. Daniel chapter two continues on Friday. It is Friday and we're completing Daniel the second chapter, and we're beginning a whole new month. It's September the first hope. You're gonna have a great labor day weekend, but I hope you're getting your Bible reading done. This is the heart of the second chapter of Daniel. The vision is revealed. Notice again the emphasis on God's sovereignty. Verse 37, the God of heaven has given the kingdom and into whose hand he has given. Verse 38, the God of heaven, verse 44 will set up a kingdom. Verse 45, God has made known so the king will know about all of these things. It's about God and what God can do. And I'm not gonna make this complicated. The statue and the image here, it's a very straightforward vision. The head of gold represents the Babylonian empire. It's about 6 0 5 to 5 39. You can write these in the margin of your Bible. That's a good thing to have handy there. The silver then represents the Persian Empire, the mito Persian empire. That empire runs about 5 39 to 3 31, somewhere around in there. Then the bronze, that represents Alexander the Great and Greece. Greece runs the show from about 3 31 down to about 1 46. That's that intertestamental time that I was talking about. That's that time in between Malachi and Matthew. We get some Persian stuff in our Old Testament, but we don't get any Greek stuff except what Daniel tells us is going to happen. This book really helps us in that regard. This vision stretches across Malachi to Matthew, what we call the intertestamental period. And then of course, the last part of that vision is Rome. Rome comes on the scene and is the dominant force from about 1 46 BC through AD 300 or even beyond, depending upon how you want to end the Roman Empire. And that's what's going on here. Please don't make too much of the vision. I've seen people talk about the toes. There's 10 toes and that's gonna mean that there's 10 nations in the European Union or no, no, no. Bible doesn't even say the statue has 10 toes. You might as well say, well , the statue has two ankles and that's gonna represent, I don't know, north and South America or any two that you wanna arbitrarily figure out. And that's what happens. People jump into these visions and they find some detail and they make a huge big deal out of it when the vision itself is not making a big deal out of that detail. Visions like this, gonna see this a lot in Daniel. I'm gonna say this a lot in Daniel. They major in large images. They do not have tiny little details. You whip out your magnifying glass and you're gonna notice something that nobody else has ever seen before. And now you know the exact day when Jesus is going to return. Don't do that. It's a giant image. It's a mural. How about that? Stand too close to a Mur mural. Mural . Can't even say it. Mural. Then you can't even see the whole thing. Step back, see these four empires, and then see the stone that destroys them. That's the image of God's kingdom that lasts forever. That's talked about in Luke chapter three. Luke chapter 20, mark chapter 15. This is not an empire. It is something completely different. It replaces all of those. It's the kingdom of Jesus the Christ. There you go. That's Daniel chapter two. What a great start. What a great start book of Daniel is amazing, and it just helps us draw near to the Lord. I hope that if you're traveling this weekend with Labor Day weekend and so forth, and all that goes with all of that, that you'll greet the brethren where you are on Sunday. And if you are not, I look forward to seeing you Sunday at the West Side Church of Christ. Gonna start that special series about unzipped things that we never hear a sermon on. Sometimes it seems like our lips are sealed about these things. Spoiler alert, I'm gonna tell you 'cause you're a podcast listener. Sunday morning, I want to talk about the Holy Spirit, want to talk about what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit. That will be the lesson Sunday morning. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday. Look forward to working through what the text says that we need to know about the work of God, the Spirit. Well, there you go. Thanks for listening. If you love the Monday Morning Coffee podcast, you know what to do. You need to subscribe, you need to follow so that your device is pulling it down automatically for you On Monday morning. Please rate and review the podcast. That helps more people find it. Tell people about the podcast. Use the podcast as an evangelistic conversation starter. Get people listening 'cause that gets people into the Bible. So hope you're having a great Labor Day weekend. I'm gonna start it with bang Hunting season begins today , football season starts tomorrow. It's all happening, and I'll see you on Monday, I pray the Lord will be with you today all day. See you on Monday with a cup of coffee.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to the Westside church of Christ podcast. Monday morning coffee with mark . For more information about west side , you can connect with us through our website, just and our Facebook page. Our music is from that's upbeat with two P'S UPP , B E A T , where creators can get free music. Please share our podcast with others. And we look forward to seeing you again with a company coffee, of course, on next Monday.

Sermon Notes
Monday Daniel 1:1-7
Tuesday Daniel 1:8-21
Wednesday Daniel 2:1-16
Thursday Daniel 2:17-30
Friday Daniel 2:31-49