Despite Daniel's age and position of importance, the other administrators and satraps quickly realised there was no dirt on him so they would need think outside the box – they would create a new law with the knowledge that Daniel’s commitment to God would result in him breaking that law.
In the opening verses of Daniel 6 (take a quick read back over if that’s helpful), we have an excellent example in Daniel of how to honour God in a culture contrary to our beliefs and maintain integrity in the long term. How much do I distinguish myself amongst my non-Christian work colleagues? School mates? Family? How distinctive am I amongst the crowd?
And so we read in verses 6-9 that the King fell hook, line and sinker for the wicked plan of the administrators and satraps. For a month, prayer was to be prohibited to any god or man except Darius (which no doubt appealed to his own pride) and the Lions’ Den would be the fate of all those who disobeyed this decree that had been published and was binding.
Now if you had never read or heard of this story before, what would you expect it to say about Daniel?
“When Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he…” Fill in the blanks!
He what? He went to Darius to protest against this ridiculous law? He expressed his anger and disgust with his close friends? No. Daniel got down on his knees and prayed.
Again, if you’d never read the story before and were guessing how Daniel prayed perhaps your fill-in-the-blank would be something like…
He prayed in the woods? He prayed in the secret inner chamber of his house? He prayed in an not-so-obvious way so that if spotted he could claim he was addressing Darius?
No. He did just as he had done before (v10). He didn’t change anything but carried on with his discipline of prayer, three times a day, in his upstairs room with the windows opened towards Jerusalem.
As he prayed, Daniel was making a public statement by his window, showing everyone that the glory of God mattered more to him than the glory of Darius.
“Daniel would rather pray than save his life. Not praying was a worse prospect to Daniel than being eaten by lions. That is a radical commitment to prayer. Just think of it. Can you say with Daniel: “You will have to take my life before you take my prayer?" - John Piper
A few thoughts to take away from this,
- What is the first thing that you do when you find yourself in a seemingly impossible situation?
- How much are our lives built upon prayer? Is it foundational or on optional extra?
Let’s pray over these things now.