The God of Renown – Daniel 9:15

 
If you had all the resources available to any human being, and you could become world famous through one of those means, what would you choose as your avenue toward fame? Just about everyone knows the name Al Capone. His name is famous, or perhaps we should say “infamous.” He is famous for crime. I suppose that there are hundreds of people famous for their sins and their crimes – Nero, Caligula, Stalin, Hitler. All of those just mentioned were politicians – as were Lincoln, Washington and Churchill. Daniel is now famous – as a Godly statesman. A handful of scientists have earned spots in history and various virtual halls-of-fame. Everyone knows the names Shakespeare & Dickens whether or not they have ever read any their works. And for what is Bill Gates best known? His computer genius, or for the money that he has earned? There are hundreds of people whose names are well-known in sports. There have been hundreds of musicians and other entertainers who have become famous. One thing about most sports and entertainment stars is that their fame is even more particularly fleeting. They have their place in the record book until someone else does what they did – better. Music preferences change, styles change, even rules change, and the famous today, become the forgotten of tomorrow. We could go on for an hour, pointing out why shouldn’t really be interested in joining our names to theirs.

But again, if you were as smart, strong, rich and powerful as some of these, for what would you choose to be best known? The fact that you are here tonight indicates that you probably know that you should say, “I want to be known for something spiritual.” “I hope that some day, I’ll be known for my faith in Christ, or my doctrinal purity.” “Maybe, I’ll become know for the my fight in the defense of the truth.” “Perhaps I’ll become known as a martyr.” Just keep in mind that religious fame is not necessarily any better than sports fame. Perhaps you know the names of John Calvin and J.R. Graves, but do you know what they believed? Spurgeon is a name known to Baptists, but very few have ever read any of his sermons. And who is Mother Theresa?

For most of us our reputations will not outlive the lives of our grandchildren, or perhaps even our children. May our names be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and the Chronicles of the King of Heaven. To be known and loved by the Lord is infinitely more important than to be known by thousands of men.

It’s not in OUR fame or name that I’m interested tonight – current, past or future. Daniel mentions in prayer that the Lord had won to Himself a certain degree of “renown.” It is Jehovah whom I would like us to consider. But, even though my desire is a good one, and my theme is commendable, I’m afraid that this message is not going to make me rich and famous. I believe that every point that I plan to make tonight is Biblically accurate. Sadly, I don’t have a lot of powerful arguments, illustrations and scriptures to support each of these points.

Most of the world would disagree with me, but I believe that CREATION has made the Lord famous.
Before I get to that point, let me address the word “renown” that Daniel uses here. It is interesting, and even a bit humorous. For example, according to Strong’s Concordance the Hebrew word is pronounced “shame.” In our language “shame” is the complete antithesis of “fame.” But that is just a funny coincidence. The Hebrew word is very common, but this translation – “renown” – is very rare. The word is usually translated “name” – a whopping 832 times. The rest of the time – 32 times – it is translated “fame,” “famous,” “renown” and a couple of other words. Daniel was saying that the Lord had made a name for himself.

Despite the natural man’s desire to rid himself of the Creator, creation is something which refuses to go away. A couple of weeks ago, Judy forwarded an article to me, but I haven’t figured out what to do with it yet, so it’s just sitting there in my in-box. It’s about the camel – the dromedary, the single humped camel. That creature – as ugly as it is – is an engineering marvel. Its hump is special and important – filled with fat, which is used up and flops over on long, dry journeys. Its red blood cells are unique; it’s feet are especially designed for desert travel. Its stomach responds to water differently than most animals. Its ugly nose was created differently than most and with special purposes for the desert. Its legs are different than most animals, and it walks differently. On and on that little article goes. There is no other animal in the world quite like either of the two camels. We say the same thing with the giraffe, the bumble bee, the elephant, and a hundred other animals – even before we get to plants and to the creatures of Australia. And as that little article suggested, “design demands a Designer.” We might add that intricate design demands an omniscient and omnipotent Designer.”

The Lord has made a name for Himself in creation. And as the Apostle Paul tells us, it is a dangerous thing to ignore the Lord’s renown in creation. “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

Doesn’t Paul say that creation testifies to the Creator? The Lord has made Himself famous in the constant cycle of water and weather. He has given Himself a renown through the diamond, the emerald and the ruby. God has made a name for himself in the creation of the eye, the brain and the nervous system. Only unthankful fools willingly deny that renown. And they do so to their peril.

Daniel’s reference was to the SALVATION with which God provided Israel.
“And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day.” This specific salvation took place about 3,500 years ago, so maybe the impact is not as great today as it was 2,500 years ago. But for a very long time, this was a very powerful aspect of the Lord’s fame.

Israel had been intrenched in Egypt for 400 years, almost twice the length of the history of the United States. And yet amazingly, Israel had not been assimilated into Egypt. Israel and the Egyptians were like oil and water. And yet, most of Israel was reluctant to leave the only home that generation had ever known. Israel had to be convinced to leave, and Egypt had to be convinced to let them leave. But such things are nothing to the Almighty, so that the people of Egypt even financed Israel’s departure.

Exodus 9 – “The LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth. For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth. And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.” Later “the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.” Later still we hear the great prayer of Nehemiah 9 – “Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee. Thou art the LORD the God, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham; And foundest his heart faithful before thee, and madest a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, to give it, I say, to his seed, and hast performed thy words; for thou art righteous: And didst see the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, and heardest their cry by the Red sea; And shewedst signs and wonders upon Pharaoh, and on all his servants, and on all the people of his land: for thou knewest that they dealt proudly against them. So didst thou get thee a name, as it is this day.”

In order to understand the fame that the Lord brought upon Himself in this, all we need to do is listen to the nightmares of Jericho. As Joshua’s spies talked with Rahab of Jericho … “she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.”

As Rahab tells us, part of the salvation of Israel is to be seen in GOD’S MIRACLES.
The phenomenon of God’s miracles has added to the Lord’s fame throughout the centuries. Has there ever been a greater miracle than Israel’s crossing of the Red Sea. The unbeliever has been arguing against that miracle for thousands of years, but he’s been unsuccessful. Because not only did Israel cross, but the Egyptians didn’t. The door was open, and then, boom, it was shut.

How many miracles did the Omnipotent One perform during Israel’s forty years in the wilderness? Since the people numbered in the millions, then I would have to say that God ordained millions of miracles. Six days a week for about forty years, several million meals were prepared. For over 14,000 hot, dry, desert days millions of people were given water to drink. These were the ordinary mundane miracles, then came the more spectacular, which had made Rahab and her neighbors so fearful.

Moving on throughout the Bible, the miracles of God have made the Lord famous and maintained His fame. Those who knew what Jehovah did for Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah couldn’t deny His power. Then skipping over hundreds of the miracles of God, such as those in the days Elijah and Elisha, and moving on to the ministry and miracles of Christ, again, they created a stir and a fame. “Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”

Time doesn’t permit us to explore this point very deeply, but you should know enough to develop it yourself.

Another very important aspect of the Lord’s renown is His judgment – His CASTIGATION of the wicked.
Psalm 9 makes a very powerful statement – “Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings. When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them: he forgetteth not the cry of the humble. Have mercy upon me, O LORD; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death: That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation. The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken. The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”

Part of Jericho’s fear of Israel and her God, were the plagues with which the Lord judged the Egyptians. “And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.” Couldn’t we skip through the Bible and point out to other judgments, which increase the fame of the Lord? Hasn’t what happened to Lot’s wife become famous and proverbial? Almost everyone knows about Sodom and Gomorrah. How about the earth opening up under the feet some wicked souls and lightening coming down on others? Small armies were struck with blindness; important people were struck with leprosy or eaten by worms. Ah, yes, “the Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth.”

But here is another – the INCARNATION.
There were several very famous and powerful men in the world at the time that the Lord Jesus was here. But I would venture a guess that not one in a thousand could tell you who was the Emperor in Rome. In fact I doubt that one in ten Christians could tell you. Augustus was Caesar in Rome when Jesus was born. Claudius Caesar was in power when the Lord Jesus died. But it’s the name of Jesus of Nazareth who is the most famous. I hope that it’s obvious to everyone here why Jesus should be better known that Augustus, Claudius or the Han Emperor of China. But let me change direction for the sake of this message.

The incarnation of Christ not only made Jesus famous, but also God the Father. During the entertainment award shows, when the actress gets up to receive her statue, she often talks about all the people who helped to make her famous. I’m not sure that anyone ever listens to what she says – most people just don’t care. Was anyone listening to the Lord Jesus?

In John 14 where Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself.” In John 14 Thomas and Philip began a conversation with the saviour, and in it the Lord said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” As he continued to teach them, the Lord pointed out that His renown was really the Father’s renown. “He that seeth me seeth him that sent me.” And Paul said, that Christ is “the image of the invisible God.” He is “the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person.” In several ways, the renown of God has never been more greatly enhanced than in the incarnation and in the person of the Lord Jesus.

As I first began to think about this theme, meditating and doodling, I jotted down twelve alliterated points. God is known by his constitution and disposition, by creation, by salvation, by the incarnation, by the saints’ acclamation, by His castigation of the wicked, by his miraculous phenomenon and even by the conclusion of all things. But after a bit of thought it occurred to me that not these points quite fit this message. For example, at the conclusion of the Millennium, when the final wicked will be judged, and all creation will be made pure, there will be an unsurpassed glory brought to the Lord, but then all creation will be united in its attitude toward Him. It won’t be the same thing as the renown of the Lord today or in Daniel’s day.

My last point, I will leave undeveloped – the CRUCIFIXION.
Nothing has made the Lord more famous than the infamous crucifixion of Christ. In the lifting up of Christ, all humanity has been drawn unto him in one fashion or another. And when the hard-hearted rebel, suddenly melts before that cross, the Lord’s renown is enhanced in ways that no other aspect of His fame can complete.

The Lord is known by His judgments, His miracles and by His grace.