Not being able to get up when my alarm goes off; children waking up in the night; having too many other things to do that people are expecting of me; the house being a mess; not seeking out the opportunity to connect with people. These are some of the things that have got in the way of me praying or giving God the honour he deserved this week. I predict that if there was the threat of me being torn apart and eaten by lions whilst my enemies rubbed their hands together in gleeful victory, this would also have stopped me.
Daniel knew who God was and lived his life in that knowledge. This wasn’t the first time he had risked his life in order to do what he believed to be right by God. In chapter 1 he refused the king’s food. In chapters 4 & 5 he interpreted dreams and visions of 2 kings that both predicted their demise. The name Daniel means ‘God is my judge’, and Daniel repeatedly acts like he knows this- that God is his only judge and honouring Him is always first and foremost.
We all know that you don’t have to kneel down and look out of a window towards Jerusalem to talk to God. Daniel could have justified to himself praying in secret, praying at a different time and in a different place than usual, praying in his head, closing the window! I imagine that the reason he didn’t was because he did not believe this glorified God and gave him the honour that he deserved. He would have essentially been pretending not to pray, and to put the law of the land above God. For Daniel, it wasn’t a case of weighing up the consequences against what he wanted to do, basing how he acted on what was likely to happen to him. He didn’t worry about whether God would be able to use him more effectively dead or alive. He simply loved God with his whole life, gave Him his best and did what he believed to be right in His eyes.
The result was that God was glorified and the message of his glory spread abroad across the earth, but as far as we’re aware Daniel didn’t know that would happen, or that those angels would be there to shut the lions’ mouths.
It is easy to overcomplicate and overanalyse, worry about who we could offend, who we might shut off, how we will reach people in a certain circle e.t.c. Jesus simplifies it for us when he tells us to love God with all our hearts, souls and minds and to love our neighbour as ourselves. (Matthew 22 v 37-39). Of course this is easier said than done, but let Daniel be a great example to us of how nothing else matters more and how we can live a life holy and set apart. And let God be our strength as we seek to love and honour him.