Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Alone And In The Sight Of Babylon

"All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O King, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it can not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked." Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction. 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. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God.
Daniel 6:7-11
If we practice our religion on the reservation and do not attempt to bring it out into the real world, the world will tolerate us. But if we determine to take a stand on any important issue on the basis of genuine religious principle, the fury of our secular society will break all bounds.


I want you to see two things about Daniel at this point. First, Daniel was the smallest of all possible minorities at this time--a minority of one--but although he was only one man among many hostile enemies, he was the one man who knew the true state of affairs in this struggle. Darius did not know what was going on. He had not even been able to see through the strategy of the administrators and satraps, and he perceived nothing of the spiritual struggle. The conspirators did not understand the situation. They did not know Daniel's God, and they though it would be an easy thing to get Daniel executed.

At this time Daniel probably did not even have the support of his three friends, for they are not mentioned as they were in the incident involving Nebuchadnezzar's dream (cf. Daniel 2:17-18). Either they had been transferred to other parts of the empire or they had die; Daniel was now elderly. Here was one man standing alone in the midst of an utterly pagan culture. All were against him. Any who knew his convictions would have laughed at them. Yet in all this vast empire Daniel was the one man who really had it together. He knew that there was a true God, and he knew who that true God was. He knew that God was powerful. He knew that God could deliver him, if he chose to do so. Above all, he knew that obeying and serving the one true God had to be the supreme goal in his life.

That leads to the second important thing about Daniel, namely, what he knew he practiced openly. Some people maintain their belief in God privately and confess him if asked. But they do not want to offend anyone. They do not want to be seen as religious. So they back off. They retreat. They privatize their convictions. Daniel did not do that, and in this he showed true greatness. Instead of hiding his convictions, he knelt before his window in the sight of Babylon and prayed as he had always done.

We need more Daniels. We need more people who are willing to bring their awareness of God and his laws off reservation, who are willing to open their windows and honor him before a watching world.

--James Montgomery Boice, Daniel, An Expositional Commentary, p. 70-71.

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