Robert Morris - The Deception of Pride
We're talking about that when we as believers are going through a difficult time, even an adjusting or correcting time from the Lord, the enemy is always trying to take us into captivity or into bondage. And even though the Jewish people were in physical captivity, we know through Daniel, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and some others, they weren't in spiritual captivity. And so, how did they stay free, even though they were going through correction and always being attacked? And what we've also seen is that they were being attacked by the spirit of pride. Through these kings we talked about The Seduction of Pride, and The Stubbornness of Pride. This week, we're gonna talk about The Deception of Pride and we're gonna talk about Darius.
So, Daniel 6, I'm gonna read out of the New Living Translation this week, rather than the New King James, simply because I was reading it in this version and it just seemed to be easier to understand, and it is a translation, which means it comes from the original language, all right? So, Daniel 6:1. "Darius the Mede", see, the Bible always refers to this Darius as Darius the Mede, "decided to divide the kingdom into 120 provinces, and he appointed a high officer to rule over each province". So, he's got 120 leaders, provinces. "The king also chose Daniel and two others as administrators to supervise the high officers and protect the king's interests". So, Daniel's one of the top three leaders in the country. "Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel's great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire".
Just wanted you to notice, he's about to even promote him above the other two guys. Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn't find anything to criticize or condemn. Now, watch this next statement. "He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy". How would you like for that to be written on your end of the year job review? She's faithful, she's always responsible, and she's completely trustworthy. So they concluded, "'Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion.'"
So the administrators and high officers went to the king and said, "'Long live King Darius! We are all in agreement.'" I want to come back to that statement in a moment, We're all in agreement. "'We are all in agreement - we administrators, officials, high officers, advisors, and governors - that the king should make a law that will be strictly enforced. Give orders that for the next 30 days, any person who prays to anyone, divine or human - except to you, Your Majesty - will be thrown into the den of lions.'" And obviously, Daniel 6 is when Daniel is thrown into the lion's den. But I want you to notice the statement, "We are all in agreement". I hope it just jumps out at you, that was a lie. Daniel wasn't in agreement, and he was one of the high officers.
The reason I want to say that is, is the only way Satan can take you into bondage, the only way, is to get you to believe a lie. That's it. If it's gonna happen in your marriage, he's gonna tell you a lie that you're not right for each other, you're not meant for each other, you rushed into it. I had one guy say to me, "We're opposites". I said, "Uh-huh. Have you ever heard the term, opposite sex? Of course, you're opposites! Because if you marry someone who's like you, you'll kill each other. That's what attracted you to that other person". So, what Satan will do... please hear me. If he's going to take you into bondage, he's going to deceive you, and the way he deceives is he lies, and that's what he did with Darius.
Please hear me. Pride was the original sin by which Satan fell. I'm gonna make a pretty strong statement here. You are the most like Satan when you walk in pride. You're the most like God when you walk in humility. The King of Kings, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, was born in a stable. So, Darius goes into deception because of pride. So, let me show you some things about pride, all right, and deception. Number one, pride opens the door to deception. See, if he hadn't have been prideful, he wouldn't have been deceived, because they said you can be a god. You know, we'll have people pray only to you.
Daniel 6:8-9, "And now, Your Majesty, issue and sign this law so it cannot be changed, an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked. So King Darius signed the law". Okay, so he had pride. But, I haven't talked to you about this yet, so we talk about pride, but where does pride come from? And, I don't have time to build this. This could be an entire message, so just believe me and study it for yourself, but there is a root of pride, and the root is insecurity. Every person I've ever met, including me, who's had a difficulty with pride, has a root of insecurity. "Darius the Mede". Darius the Mede, he was not a Persian. Cyrus, which we're gonna see next, is actually the conqueror of Babylon, but he's the real king, but he makes Darius the king, because Darius is the general of his army, and Darius is the one that conquered it.
Here's what I think, though. He was always insecure because he was a Mede, not a Persian. And the Medes had joined the Persians so they wouldn't be destroyed by the Persians. So because of his insecurity, he was open to deception. Are you all following me? Okay. But, let me show you something about Daniel. So, they make this law, and then look at Verse 10. "When Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual". So, he's not doing it to make a point. He's just doing what he normally does, it's usual. "In his upstairs room with his windows open toward Jerusalem". I'll tell you why he did that in a moment. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.
Notice, three times a day. Okay, so why did he pray toward Jerusalem? Because in the Dedication Prayer of Solomon, when Solomon prayed when he dedicated the temple, in 1 Kings 8 he makes this statement. "If the skies are shut up and there is no rain because Your people have sinned against You, and if they pray toward this Temple and acknowledge Your name and turn from their sins because You have punished them, then hear from heaven and forgive them". So, that's one of the reasons the Jews prayed toward Jerusalem, because of that prayer. He prayed three times a day because in Psalm, David said - Psalm 55:17, "Morning, noon, and night, I cry out in my distress and the Lord hears my voice". Morning, noon, and night.
Okay, so why am I telling you that? Because the burden of this series for me is that even when we're being corrected by God, Satan is still on the attack and he's trying to take us into bondage. So, how did Daniel keep from going into bondage to pride? Because remember, Daniel's the one that read the handwriting on the wall. Daniel's the one who interpreted the king's dream. Daniel was about to be made number two in the entire kingdom. Daniel had favor with all four kings, and I can show you that verse. I had so many verses in my notes that I just couldn't get through them all, but you can read the verse that he had favor with all four kings. Okay, how come then Daniel didn't have pride? Here's why, because he knew the word of God. He stayed in the word of God. The reason he prayed toward Jerusalem was he'd read 1 Kings. The reason he prayed three times a day, because he'd read the Psalms. He knew the word of God.
So that's the first thing I want to share with you. Here's the second point. Number two, pride always brings regret. It always brings regret. Now, when they came to him and said, "hey, Daniel's broken the law", it says he did everything he could to try to change it and get Daniel out of it. In other words, he regretted doing what he had done. And then in Verse 16, "So at last the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions". By the way, this is the same day. It's the same day. The king said to him, "May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you". Verse 18, "Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night fasting. He refused his usual entertainment and couldn't sleep at all that night".
When we make decisions based on pride or insecurity instead of principle, we're gonna regret it. Decisions should never be based on pride, they should always be based on principle, and principle comes from the word of God. I've done this many, many, many, many times, and I try to help young pastors with this, because what happens is when you have this root of insecurity and rejection in your life, and whatever industry you go into, when you start getting opportunities, sometimes you accept some opportunities that you shouldn't have accepted, or some responsibilities or some new things, because it's like meeting a need in you instead of whether God tells you to, and then you get your plate too full. Do you all understand what I'm saying?
So, I used to accept a lot of speaking invitations, and I can remember going sometimes and thinking, "why did I do this?", but it was fulfilling this need that I had, instead of going to God and saying, "God do you want me to do it"? I did lots of things because of pride. One of the things I did I remember, in the 80s, Suburbans became real popular. Before that, some of you will remember this, Suburbans were used for, like flower delivery trucks and carried caskets. That's about what they were used for, okay? But in the 80s, all of the sudden Suburbans started getting real nice and people started buying Suburbans, and all of my friends started buying Suburbans.
And so, I said to the Lord, "Can I buy a Suburban"? And the Lord was just like this, He said, "Nope". And I said, "Well, it's in the budget. I'm okay financially. I can do this. So, can I buy a Suburban"? "Nope". "Well, is there a reason"? "'Cause I said". You know, He's just like your parents sometime, "cause I said". Okay. So, I went for months, and finally I thought, you know, everyone's getting Suburbans. A Suburban is not a sin. I must have misheard the Lord. So obviously, being a godly man, you know what I did. I bought the Suburban anyway. Don't look at me with judgmental eyes!
The gas gauge broke on that Suburban. We ran out of gas on the side of the road, our whole family, three kids. Every tire went flat at a different time. A tire would go flat, and then when I went to put the spare on the first time, it was flat. See, I didn't buy new cars back then. I bought used cars. That's just all the budget would allow, you know. Everything - the air conditioner went out in June, and I couldn't afford to fix it till, like October. We spent the summer without air conditioning. Then, you ready for this one? The engine had a small oil leak, ran out of oil, and blew up. I'm thinking about all of this and the Lord says to me, "Are you getting the message"? I said, "I'm getting the message". I sold it, lost thousands of dollars. A week later - a week later, a friend of mine calls me and said, "Hey, my wife and I bought a new Suburban. Ours is only about three years old and we want to donate it to your ministry". And then he says to me, "We were going to donate it last spring, but the Lord told me to wait till the fall".
Point three. Everyone understand point two? Always causes regret. Point three, pride causes spiritual blindness. This is how you get deceived, because you're spiritually blind. You can't see in the Spirit anymore. So, he puts him in the lion's den. The king can't sleep all night. The next morning, he comes to the lion's den and he says, "Daniel, are you okay"? Daniel says, "I'm okay, God protected me". They pull him up. Look what happens, Verse 23. "The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God. Then the king gave orders to arrest the men who had maliciously accused Daniel, and he had them thrown into the lion's den, along with their wives and children".
It shows that sin affects other people in your life, too. The lions leaped on them and tore them apart before they even hit the floor of the den. The reason I say that is there are some people today trying to discredit the Bible, which is just amazing to me, and they're giving all these earthly explanations for miraculous events. "Here's what I can't believe". Why would it surprise you that God can do miracles? God shut the mouths of lions. So, some say that the lions were fed that day. That's why the king did it, and then that's why they didn't eat that night. Okay, if they'd been fed that day, they would not have eaten these people before they even hit the floor. They'd have still been full, because when a lion eats, he's full for several days. It takes a while to digest it.
So, this was a miracle that God did. I just wanted to say that, all right? But, here's the point. The spell was broken because Darius saw God. He humbled himself. The deception was gone, because he knew immediately then I've been deceived, and he brought swift judgment.
Now, the reason I want to say, where I want to go where I'm about to go is I'm talking about spiritual blindness. In John 9, there's a story of a blind man being healed, and Jesus addresses spiritual blindness better in that chapter than any chapter I've ever seen in the Bible. And I want to show it to you, but I want to read you a little bit of the story because it's extremely funny, and some of you have never seen as much humor in the Bible as there is humor. There is a lot of humor in the Bible, a lot of humor. So, John 9, they're walking along, there's a blind man. He doesn't call out. This is not the one that said, "Have mercy on me, Son of David". He doesn't call out, nothing. He's been blind since birth and Jesus just heals him.
But the way he heals him - Well, let's just pick it up right there. First of all, "The disciples said, 'Is he blind because of his sin or his parents' sin'"? Let me just say something. That's pride right there. If you ever look at a weakness or a disability of another person and believe it's because of his sin or parents' sin, that is judgmental, legalistic criticism. It's because of sin in the world that we have the difficulties that we have, and so, please don't be judgmental. But what's amazing is that the disciples didn't say, look, there's a blind man, would you heal him? Instead, they said is it his sin or his parents' sin?
I think sometimes Jesus wanted to just punch them in the mouth, you know? So he heals this guy, so let's pick it up when He said Neither. By the way, "He said, 'Neither, neither one'". But then, here's where we're gonna pick it up, Verse 6. "When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay". Now, I like this that Jesus spat, then the Bible gets a little bit more spiritual and says, and made clay. He rubs His spit in the ground. And then it says, anointed. He rubbed mud on the guy's face.
See, again we don't have this image of Jesus in our mind. When we think of Jesus, we don't think of Jesus going... But He did! Okay, "And anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, 'Go wash in the pool of Siloam'", which I think the blind man could have said, "I didn't need to wash before you rubbed mud on my face", (which is translated Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing. Now, this is a man born blind - born blind. Now, watch all of the talking that goes on. This kind of reminds me... this is the social internet of that day. I can't believe all of the comments people make about stuff, but it's just, you know, and some of them are great comments, but some - you know, you've seen the weird comments.
So, watch the talking that goes on. People have been talking even before the internet. Okay, Verse 8. "Therefore the neighbors and those who had previously seen that he was blind said, 'Is not this he who sat and begged'? Some said, 'This is he'. Others said, 'He is like him'. He said, 'I'm him'. Therefore they said to him, 'How were your eyes opened'? He answered and said, 'A man called Jesus made clay He left out the part. And anointed my eyes and said to me, "Go to the pool of Siloam and wash". So I went and washed, and I received sight'. Just simple. Then they said to him, 'Where is He'? He said, 'I don't know'".
They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. Now he's in trouble. And he didn't even ask to be healed, but he's in trouble with the religious crowd now. It was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay. Can you imagine that, When Jesus made the clay? So, He had to work, apparently, and open his eyes. Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. Now, watch what he says now. "He said to them, 'He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see'". He's just trying to tell, that's all that happened, guys. I didn't do anything wrong, okay? Then Verse 18, "But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. Now they call his parents in. And they asked them, saying, 'Is this your son, whom you say was born blind? How then does he now see?'"
Isn't that amazing, religion's mad about this? A guy gets healed and they're upset? His parents answered them and said, We know this is our son and that he was born blind, but by what means he now sees we don't know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. Watch this. "He is of age; ask him. He'll speak for himself". They didn't want to ask him, but watch what happens, Verse 24. "So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, 'Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.' He answered and said", this is one of my favorite verses in the Bible, "'Whether He is a sinner or not I don't know. One thing I know: though I was blind, now I see'". That's pretty good. Here's something I know.
So, here's what I want to say to you. Even if you haven't studied theology, and even if you're a new believer, you can say to people, "I don't know about the dinosaurs, I know this. I was lost and now I'm found. That's what I know. That's it". Then, watch. "Then they said to him again, 'What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?' He answered them, 'I told you already, but you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?' That made them really mad. They kicked him out then". So, they kick him out of the temple. They literally kick him out. But it says Jesus went and found him. Just want you to know, when religion kicks you out, Jesus will come find you.
Now this is what I want to get to, the whole thing about pride and spiritual blindness, because next week it's gonna take a turn when Cyrus... when we talk about Cyrus, all right? Three weeks we've been talking about pride. This is where I wanted to get to, right here. Here is the cure to pride. Verse 39, "And Jesus said, 'For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see.'" He's talking about spiritual eyesight here. "'And that those who see may be made blind.' Then some of the Pharisees who were with him heard these words and said to Him, 'Are we blind also?' Jesus said, 'Bingo'!" Now, listen to what He said. "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now,'" or since, 'you say, "We see, therefore your sin remains."'"
All right, here's what He's saying. "If you would just admit to Me that you can't see without Me, if you'd just admit that you're blind without Me, I would take away your sin. You would have no sin. I would remove your sin as far as the east is from the west". What an amazing statement! You would have no sin. All of your sin would be removed if you'd just admit to Me that you need Me. But since you say that you can see without Me, your sin remains. Here's what He's saying. Because you're prideful, I'm not gonna forgive you. But if you'd humble yourself and ask for My help, I would take away all of your sin, and I'd be your Savior. So, the key, the key to forgiveness of sin is to admit we need a Savior.
I know that I'm preaching a series where we're talking about pride, but I want to say this in a good way, I am so proud of you. I'm proud of the fact that you love God and that you love being taught the Word of God. But in this area of pride, it tries to sneak up on all of us; it's very very deceptive. So let's us take a moment right now and just turn our hearts toward God, and say, God, I don't want to be deceived by pride. I trust you, Lord. And just every morning, let's get on our knees and tell the Lord, Lord, we need you to make it through today. If we'll do that, if we just continue to walk in humility, God can use us in ways that we can't even imagine.