“With His Windows
Open Toward Jerusalem”
“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” Dan.6:10. What makes the action of Daniel at this time so special? He is doing it, in spite of the fact that he might be killed for doing it.
Note the context, Dan.6:1-9. King Darius had determined to seat Daniel above all the governors and satraps in his kingdom. This doesn’t set well with them. So, they conspire to bring charges against him, but could find none. (They wouldn’t have much trouble finding such with our modern day officials). They realize the only way they might be able to unseat him would be because of his character, conduct and religious convictions. So, they trick the king into writing a decree, saying that anyone praying to anyone other than the king for the next 30 days was to cast into the lion’s den.
His enemies were right about one thing. Daniel had strong religious convictions, and he would remain faithful to them in spite of any danger. Daniel knows of the decree, but pays no attention to it. He continues to do ”as was his custom since early days” v.10. What happens afterward is recorded in 6:11-28. You can read it for yourself, but you probably learned if it in a Bible class as a child.
What gave Daniel such conviction to defy the king? It goes back to his early training, first seen by us when he was brought to Babylon. After Babylon conquered Judah, Daniel was one of the young men brought from Judah to Babylon ca. 606 BC. Dan.1:3-4. At that time he was probably a teenage prince, ca.14-15 years old, good-looking and intelligent. Even as a captive in a foreign land at an early age he was determined to not defile himself with the king’s dainties 1:8 (this he purposed it in his heart). What gave him this purpose? It certainly didn’t come from his teaching in the Babylonian culture, literature, science and religion. Their teachings were pagan, godless idolatry. Even though not stated I believe his faith started in his home life before he was ever brought to Babylon. According to God’s law a child was to be taught the things of God at home Deut.6:4-9. Think about where Timothy’s faith began 2.Tim. 3:14-15. Even though he is now in a foreign land Daniel’s heart was still in his homeland. This was the place where the temple, the ark, the holy of holies had been. It was the source of the word of God where he had learned of the God to whom he really belonged and whom he served even though he was now a captive in Babylon.
So, from early age onward, we see the development of a man of strong character, one with purpose, principle, purity, power and prayer. Even though he was compelled to study pagan Babylonian culture, literature, science and religion and was trained to serve in the king’s court, surrounded by luxury, sensuality, lust, idolatry and cruelty, his faith and religious convictions never wavered. He never compromised his God-instilled principles or sacrificed his faith for the sake of convenience, popularity, fame or security. He was so well respected by his captors that he rose to great prominence in the land.
Now, as an older man, we see Daniel’s faith and conviction played out in the situation of our text. Here, with the eye of faith, we see a man, kneeling in prayer, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, not fearing the consequence that his action might bring him death. What can we learn from the open windows?
Daniel was sending a message of faith to his enemies. He was walking by the faith he had always professed to live 2.Cor.5:7; Hab.2:4. Faith sees the invisible. He could not see the city of God, over 500 miles to the west, nor the God to whom he prayed. Yet he knew that God was still on His throne above, even if he couldn’t see Him.
He did not change his practice because of the situation. Notice he was in his upper room, “as was his custom since early days.” He was not flaunting his faith out in the yard in an ostentatious display Matt.5:16. (Think how people today suddenly do things they hadn’t been doing when told not to do it – ex. flying the confederate flag as an act of defiance, rather than custom). There is a difference between “making your light shine” and “letting your light shine.” His action was not some new thing, devised for the occasion, but one consistent with the way he has always lived, a practice started long ago. Jesus had such a custom Lk.4:16. So did Paul Acts 17:2. What is your custom? What do people see? Is your assembling for worship a custom, or just when convenient?
Windows (plural) were open, not just one window. His faith was in full view of all people. He was not ashamed of his faith. He didn’t try to hide it with a partial view. His life was an open book for all to see 2.Cor.3:2-3. Daniel was fully committed to God. The open windows also showed Daniel kneeling in prayer. It was his custom to pray 3 times daily. His prayers were regular, consistent, constant, not just once in a while. Is such your custom. Notice the windows were open toward Jerusalem, the city of God Col.3:1-3. They were not open to the things of this world.
What about you today? Are your windows open? What do people see?
By Tommy Thornhill
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