Daniel’s life is rooted in God. One person told me last Sunday how much she appreciates the book of Daniel because of his example of unwavering faith. Any moment of life may not be that dramatic. The river plods on with no obvious impact, but over time, the changes are huge. In a high paced society, the world needs consistent people. In a world full of drama, you need to have a steady spirit, a consistent faith. That’s one reason I am honored to be a member of the Sumas Advent Christian Church…so many people who are faithful, consistent, honor God, love people, a witness for Christ…
Daniel is more like the family mini-van than he is a Lamborghini. I used to sell quite a bit of items on Ebay. I was once given an entire office of items to sell from an engineer that had died, in exchange for the clean-up work. The office was packed with weapons schematics, army tank photographs, scientific calculators. Among the items I found photos of a jeep like vehicle. I did not know what they were. They were original Polaroid’s. I sold them for a few dollars. A few months later as I was unpacking more boxes I found out what the jeep pictures were all about. I came across a brochure of a Lamborghini Jeep like prototype. The photos I had sold were the photos in the pamphlet. Lamborghini enthusiasts have a lot of money. I sold that pamphlet for $50.00. I’ve always wondered what the original photos would have sold for. A Lamborghini is exciting. Daniel is more like the mini-van. Easy to take for granted. Sure and steady. An everyday vehicle. He is not flamboyant, doesn’t make a lot of waves. Daniel doesn’t even get noticed most of the time. We’ll, every 40 years...
As a young parent when one of my children would be out of control I used to take comfort in the idea that maybe, just maybe, someday when they grow up maybe they’ll think I’m not such a dum-dum after all. Daniel bides his time. Waits. He lives consistently with his life centered in God. Daniel can’t control his world, living in the middle of a foreign land his entire adult life. But he can remain faithful, no matter what…and he does. That is all God asks…
Daniel lives up to his name. The name means “God is my judge”. He lived a life that shouted the truth: “God is my judge, not man!” “To God I will have to give an account for how I live my life, not to Nebuchadnezzar, not to Belshazzar, not to Darius.” “God is my judge!”
Daniels life is centered on God. It was built on God. Time and time again there is evidence his world is centered in God!
You can see this life in God from the way Daniel looked at the world. Take a look back at Dan. 1:2, He describes the capture of Jerusalem by the king of Babylon: “And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand.” God does what God determines to do//, and that is the way Daniel sees the world. Whatever happens is God. God gives one king power, and when he pleases he sets another king on the throne. Time and time again Daniel speaks of the transitions of the world in the same terms: READ Dan. 2:21, 37, Dan. 5:18-19. The prism of how Daniel sees the world is that God is in control.
Evidence of Daniel’s life is centered in God can be seen by the way he ate. (I wonder if yesterday the way I ate was god honoring?) Daniel was one of the captives taken to Babylon when Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem 65-70 years earlier. He was chosen with others to be trained for service in the palace and fed with the king’s best food and wine. Daniel saw his food as a God-thing. Daniel 1:8 says, READ. Daniel looked to God to judge his cause, not to the king. The bottom line, Dan. 1:17 READ. Every detail of life was determined by God’s priorities. Daniel answered to God, not pleasing others, not saving his own skin, but what does God want? A life centered in God.
You can see Daniel’s life is centered on God by the way he interpreted dreams. He gives all the credit to God, for example, in 2:28, READ. He accuses the most powerful rulers on earth of turning against God. For example, to Belshazzar in 5:23, READ. Every interpretation Daniel gives has God at the center. (example Dan. 2:39; Dan. 5:28.)
We come to today’s scripture. You can see Daniels life is centered on God by the way he prays. Daniels name means “God is my judge” i.e. “What God thinks and what God does matters more than what anybody else in the world thinks or does.” That’s the way I, Carl Crouse, want to live my life. Steady. Consistent. God fearing. Maybe someday I’ll be an inch closer. That’s the way we as a community of faith must strive to live. Many people have ideas of what should be our priority, but we need to first ask what God wants.
For Daniel that meant a life of daring, disciplined prayer. If what God thinks matters most, then we must consult him most. Todays text fills me with longing to be courageous in prayer. Dare to be a Daniel in a consistent, God honoring life, Dare to be a Daniel in prayer. There is a lesson in considering what Daniel does not do when a law is directed at his prayer life… he does not grumble/complain/file a dismissal motion to the local judge, gather signatures, march against city hall….He prays. He does not grow bitter against the new law, he prays.
Daniel is one of 3 presidents over the kingdom of Medes and Persians. A jealous spirit arose from the other leaders because Daniel was in line for a promotion: READ Dan. 6:3.
Dan. 6:4-9 describe how his enemies persuaded Darius to make a law that said, READ Dan. 6:7. Daniel’s life of prayer was so well known and established as part of his character that his enemies knew he would not change. And they were right.
Dan. 6:10 is amazing. Here is where we get the insight that Daniel’s prayer was daring, defiant and disciplined. READ.
When Daniel knew that the law had been signed, he went to his house to the open window in the upper room, got down on his knees three times a day and gave thanks to God. I imagine this reflected his pattern for close to 70 years. No law of man was going to stop Daniel from talking with God. Sometimes people wonder why Daniel did not close the window for 30 days so he could not be seen. That would not really even have been a compromise. We can guess at his motivations, but I think Daniel knew in his heart that if it wasn’t this, it would be something else, so he just went ahead with his patterns.
Daniel’s Prayer is daring in so many ways…
He did not act in ignorance, he acted in full knowledge of the law and the consequences. Dan. 6:10 stresses Daniel knew the law was in effect, it had been signed… yet he prayed anyway. He knew the penalty. He could have modified his pattern in a thousand ways, but he chose the way of God as was his custom.
Daniel’s prayer is daring because it is in the open. He prayed three times a day. He did not modify his language to be ambiguous, but it says specifically he prayed to God as he had always done. He could have prayed silently in order to be ambiguous.
Daniel lived a consistent, no-nonsense, mini-van life centered in God, the way he saw the world, the details of his life, serving God faithfully when called upon in interpreting dreams, and in his life of prayer. Daniels life was built on prayer. He was known as a man who lived by prayer—who consulted his God in all things and who sought the action of God before he took action. Daniels life was a testimony to others. May our lives be a testimony to others, including our prayer.
One of the admirable qualities about Daniel: no recorded story of Daniel failing or compromising. All of us fall short of such a lofty life. I am sure Daniel did too, its just not written down. Only Jesus Christ is perfect. If you have fallen short, seek forgiveness for the past, draw a line, and make a fresh commitment for today and tomorrow. That is all we can do… today is a new day. Make a commitment to live a life centered in Christ from this day on…, ask for God’s help and guidance.
The details of Daniels patterns are not what we are called to duplicate, but rather the example of his heart and life centered in God. Our patterns will be different… perhaps early morning prayers for some, whatever it is… In everything you do, all the decisions you make, the patterns of your world, ask yourself, is the Lord Jesus Christ honored by my life.
One more point about how Daniel’s prayer is daring: To Daniel, prayer is more precious than life. Think of it. A commitment to know God is more important than life itself. Daniel knew the penalty for praying would be the lion’s den. I doubt Daniel knew he would be delivered any more than Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew it as they stood before the fiery furnace and said, “If God does not deliver us, be it known to you, we will not serve your gods” (Daniel 3:18). I want you to think about something this week that will require a bit of mind acting. Next Sunday we are going to look at what happens when Daniel is thrown into the Lion’s Den. As much as possible, pretend you don’t know how the story ends. Daniel did not. I once went to a house where my friends were not home. Even though I knew their very friendly pitbull was harmless, I am such a wimp, I was a bit fearful in getting out of the car… I cannot imagine the threat of being tossed to the Lions…no matter how much I trust God…
Prayer is more important to Daniel than his life. 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. Can you say with Daniel: “You will have to take my life before you take my prayer”?
Determine to center your life in Jesus Christ even if it means your life, your reputation, what others think, no matter how ridiculous or backwards our society makes you out to be, no matter what your friends think, be committed to life in Christ, the way you see the world, the choices you make, the things you eat and drink, the patterns of your daily life, a life of prayer. Be steady in your commitment. You can’t control your world, but you can remain faithful. Dare to be a Daniel. Dare to live a life centered in God.