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. (Dan 6:10 ESV)
The whole world had changed. Daniel had been taken from his homeland 70 years earlier and faithfully served the Babylonian king. But he would never bow to any other gods. His loyalty to the one true God, the creator and sustainer of the earth, was known throughout the world.
But now everything is different. Babylon had fallen. The Medes and Persians took the great city and the kingdom became theirs. Darius was now on the throne and no one knew what he would do. The political situation was in flux and terrifying for everyone throughout the whole world.
For everyone, that is, except Daniel.
Darius recognized Daniel’s gifts, and that made everyone else jealous. Daniel was promoted to the second ruler of the kingdom, and that made everyone jealous. Daniel cared about that about as much as he cared about the promotion. He would serve faithfully wherever God placed him, but his identity was firmly established in heaven, not in prestige or power. God might give; God might take away. But Daniel would be faithful and trust in God no matter what the circumstances were.
And now everything is topsy turvy. To make matters so much worse, the king of Persia succumbs to flattery and issues a decree. For thirty days, no one is to pray or ask any god anything except Darius alone.
The idea was that well-being, security, food, drink, clothing, health, yea, all things – come not by chance but by the hand of Darius the king (For those of you that know the Heidelberg Catechism, QA 27 – do you see what I did there?) Darius was usurping the place of God. God alone is our helper and our rock. God alone is the sustainer of our life and provider of every good thing. How quickly do we forget that!
So anyone who refuses to acknowledge the supreme hand of the king as the only source of life and every good thing was to be immediately thrown into a den of hungry lions. Death would be gruesome, painful and shameful.
And Daniel freaked out. Panicked. Started writing petitions. Ran to his bunker. Fled to Canada….
Woops. Not really….
What did Daniel do? The same thing that he did every day since he was a youth: He opened his window. He prayed towards Jerusalem. He gave thanks to God. Jerusalem signified the place where God’s glory was revealed. We “pray toward Jerusalem” every time we pray in Jesus’ name, because Jesus is the temple of God, the glory of God and the revelation of God.
Daniel did exactly the same thing that he always did. If God truly is the only source of every good thing; if God truly is eternal, all-powerful, good and wise; if God is our Father for the sake of Christ his Son who died for us and reconciled us to God – if all of these things are true, then the most important thing we can do is cast all of our cares on God, seeking good from his hand alone, and make all of our requests and petitions to him alone, trusting his love and care for us.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Phi 4:6 ESV)
Daniel did this from his youth.
From Daniel’s youth, he brought everything to Jehovah in the name of Jesus (praying towards Jerusalem). He went through upheaval after upheaval, had his life threatened over and over again. Now he is well over 80 and it looks like the good old days are over. Everything is different. What about our children? Who will provide for us now that Babylon is fallen?
But that didn’t change anything that Daniel did. It didn’t put him into turmoil It didn’t disrupt his rest in the Lord. He still did what he always did, because the kingdom of God is never rattled or shaken by anything on this earth.
Do we live in such a way that no political ruler, no law, no decree, can change how we live? Or cause us to panic? Or throw us into turmoil?
This is faith. Daniel wasn’t looking for his home in Babylon. He worked there. He was a good citizen. But he never forgot where his true loyalty was. And against all the religion of the day and all the influence of the day, he never forgot that health and sickness, rain and drought, food and drink, or any other thing, don’t come from the Dariuses of the old world, or Supreme Courts and presidents of the new world. They come from the same place they’ve always come. The hand of our almighty Father, who will never leave us or forsake us.
When his whole world was threatened, he opened the window. He knelt before God. He prayed and he gave thanks to God, just as he always did.