Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem…
I. Our first point will be that DANIEL'S PRAYERFULNESS WAS THE SECRET OF HIS POWER. Daniel was always a man of prayer. If you saw him great before the people, the reason was because he was great before his God. He knew how to lay hold of divine strength, and he became strong. He knew how to study divine wisdom, and he became wise. We are told that he went to his house to pray. This showed that he made a business of prayer, and finding it neither convenient to his circumstances nor congenial to his mind to pray in the midst of idolaters, he had chosen to set apart a chamber in his own house for prayer. It is well to have, if we can have, a little room, no matter how humble, where we can shut to the door, and pray to our Father who is in heaven, who will hear and answer. He was in the habit of praying thus three times a day. Perhaps he thought that this was prudent economy, for, if he had so much to do, he must pray the more; as Martin Luther said, "I have got so much to do to-day that I cannot possibly get through it with less than three hours of prayer." So, perhaps, Daniel felt that the extraordinary pressure of his engagements demanded a proportionate measure of prayer to enable him to accomplish the weighty matter he had on hand. A singularity in his manner is noticeable here. He had been in the habit of praying with his windows open towards Jerusalem. Thus openly did he ignore the decree! With such a royal courage did he lift his heart above the fear of man, and raise the conscience above the suspicion of compromise. He loved Jerusalem, and his prayers were for it. Hence he looked that way in his prayer. And I think also he had an eye on the altar. We worship with our eye to Christ. Oh, for Daniel's prayerful spirit!
II. We pass on to DANIEL'S DIFFICULTIES, OR THE PRIVILEGES OF PRAYER. Daniel had always been a man of prayer; but now there is a law passed that he must not pray for thirty days, for a whole calendar month. I think I see Daniel as he reads the writing. Not proud and haughty in his demeanour, for, as a man used to govern, it was not likely that he would needlessly rebel; but as he read it, he must have felt a blush upon his cheek for the foolish king who had become the blind dupe of the wily courtiers who had framed a decree so monstrous. Only one course was open to him. He knew what he meant to do; he should do what he always had done. Still let us face the difficulty with a touch of sympathy. He must not pray. Suppose we were under a like restriction. Why, some people will say, "I will give it up." Ah, and there are some who would boastfully say, "I will not give it up," whose bold resolve would soon falter, for a lions' den is not a comfortable place. Many thought they could burn in Queen Mary's days that did not dare to confront the fire. Now it is a great privilege that we enjoy civil and religious liberty in our favoured land; that we are not under such cruel laws, as in other times or in other countries laid restrictions upon conscience; and that we may pray, according to the conviction of our judgment and the desire of our heart.
III. Having thus dwelt upon Daniel's difficulty, I now want to draw your attention to DANIEL'S DECISION. The king says he must not pray. Daniel did not deliberate for a single minute. When we know our duty, first thoughts are the best. I greatly admire one feature in Daniel's decision. He did not alter his accustomed habit in any single particular. Without disguise and without parade he pursued the even tenor of his way. He does not appear to have taken council of his friends, or to have summoned his servants, and charged them not to let any intruder come in. Neither did he adopt any measure to escape his enemies. Not one jot of anxiety did he betray. His faith was steadfast, his composure unruffled, his conduct simple and artless. Doubtless Daniel felt that he was the greatest man in Persia, if he, a worshipper of Jehovah, the God of the Hebrews, failed in any degree, he would set a bad example to others, and greatly discourage any poor Jew who might have grace enough to stand out, provided his example led the way. Persons who occupy high positions should know that God expects more of them than of other people. It might be asked, perhaps, "Should not Daniel obey the king?" Certainly kings' laws are to be respected; but any law of man that infringes the law of God is, ipso facto, null and void at once. It is the duty of every citizen to disregard every law of earth which is contrary to the law of heaven. So Daniel felt that the risk of being put into a den with lions was nothing to the risk of being put into hell, and he chose the smaller risk, and in the name of God he went straight on. Look at John Bunyan when they bring him up before the magistrates and tell him he must not preach! "But I will preach," said he, "I will preach to-morrow by the help of God." "But you will be put in prison again." Never mind, I will preach as soon as I get out." "But you will be hanged, or kept m prison all your life." "If I lie in prison," said he, "till the moss grows upon my eyelids, I can say nothing more than this, that with God's help, I will preach whenever I get a chance." Do not tell me that these are non-essentials. To men who will follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth, even the opening or the shutting of a window, if need be, is essential. Be jealous over what are called "trifles." They may be mere straws, but they show which way the wind blows.
IV. Our last point is DANIEL'S DELIVERANCE. With that we will conclude. The evil that threatened Daniel did come. He was to be put into a lions' den, and into a lions' den he was put. So, young man, you say, "I will not do wrong." You hope to escape unscathed. Yet it may be that you will be discarded by your friends, and discountenanced by your associates. Expect it, go through it. If you are a tradesman, and by saying you will not submit to an evil custom of the trade you will become a loser, be willing to be a loser; expect that the lions' den will be there, and that you will be put into it. Daniel came there, but there was not a scratch upon him when he came out of it. What a splendid night, he must have spent with those lions! I do not wonder that in after days he saw visions of lions and wild beasts; it seems most natural that it should; and he must have been fitted by that night passed among these grim monsters to see grand sights. Daniel had a smooth time of it afterwards. The counsellors never troubled him again; the lions had taken care of them. There would be no more plotting against him. Now, believe me, to be decided for the right is not only the right thing but the easiest thing. It is wise policy as well as true probity. If you will not yield an inch, then somebody else must move out of the way. If you cannot comply with their proposals, then other people will have to rescind their resolutions. So you will find that, if you suffer, and perhaps suffer severely at first, for decision of character, you will get speedy recompense for all you endure, and a grand immunity in the future. There will be an end to the indignities that are offered you. Give the world an inch, and it will take many an ell. Be resolved, therefore, that no inch you will give, that to the lions' den you would sooner go than there should be equivocation, prevarication, or anything approaching to falsehood.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
WEB: When Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house (now his windows were open in his room toward Jerusalem) and he kneeled on his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did before.