Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Late Night Contemplation

Daniel 6:10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.

I loved this part of a Bible study I did on Daniel. This scripture comes right before King Darius' administrators and satraps basically ratted on Daniel for not bowing to them. Keep in mind that Daniel was in a revered position in the King's eyes. He was different than everyone else...in the beginning of chapter 6, verse 3 the Bible says that "he distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities". So much so that King Darius planned to set him over the entire kingdom.

The part that I love about this portion of Daniel was that those men, the administrators and satraps, had to search hard to find something wrong with Daniel. In fact, after much scrutiny, they could find nothing. So they talked the king into issuing a decree that if anyone prayed to anyone other than the king, that they would be thrown into the lion's den.

I want to be like Daniel. What an incredible man of God he was. Never afraid, never scared to be different, he always made sure that everyone around him knew Who he was praying to. He led his own quiet, respectful life, and in the end was revered because he did so. In the same chapter, verse 10 says that with his "windows opened towards Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God..." In the Bible study that I did, Beth Moore did her thing, and told us that part that says "windows opened towards Jerusalem" was translated as meaning that God's face was shining towards him (Daniel). Forgive me for not knowing how she came to that meaning, if you really want to know you can call or email me, and I will pull my book out and find how she got to that. But just imagine God shining His favor upon us...and that's what He does when we serve and love Him.

How many times do we neglect our prayer life? How many times do we let distractions get in our way of communicating with God?? And I ask myself this, because today was the first day in a long time that I had uninterrupted prayer. How easy it is to let things pile up on us, then use our prayer time to play catch up. I heard from a friend that we should find out how we best get one on one with God. Everyone is different, and whether that time is in the car, the shower, on a walk, or in our living rooms, that time is vital. God likes that we set aside a time, and step out of our comfort zone, and get down to business with Him. Whether it's sitting, kneeling, or flat on my face, I know my day is going to be horrible until I take that time to pray. And sometimes it's before the kids get to school, sometimes it's after. If it's after they go to school, I still take the time to pray with them each day, in case you were worried about that. =)

Fast forward to the last part of chapter 6 in Daniel...the king had issued a decree, albeit unknowingly, and when Daniel was found praying to God, King Darius was forced to carry it out. Daniel was thrown into the lion's den, and a rock was placed in front of the entrance so he couldn't get out. In verse 18, the Word says that King Darius returned to his palace and spent the night without eating, sleeping and being entertained. He was worried about his good friend, Daniel. So the next morning, at the first light of dawn, (verse 19), the king hurried and went to the lion's den. He called out to Daniel and asked if his God had been able to save him, to which Daniel replied, " My God sent His angel and he shut the mouths of the lions", verse 22. And the king was overjoyed, because God had saved his friend.

Daniel so inspired King Darius, that the king issued a new decree...one that in every part of his kingdom, the people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel (verse 26). In the same verse the Bible says, "For He is the living God and He endures forever; His kingdom will not be destroyed, His dominion will never end. 27 He rescues and He saves; He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions."

Lord, make me like Daniel, a woman who is unafraid and unhindered of people's opinions of me. I only want to live my life to please You...no one else. Give me the boldness, and the courage to do so. Help me to love people like You did, like Daniel did, and help me not to judge anyone based on appearances. It's not the things that are seen that matter...it's on the unseen. Help me to always live my life for You. Thank You, Father, in Your name I ask this. Amen.

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