Four Great Battles in Babylon (continued)
4. A Battle for the Lord's Purpose
As we turn to Daniel's conflict as described in chapter 6, we should note that, chronologically this chapter follows the prayer of chapter 9. The two chapters seem to set forth two aspects of the same great battle, the battle for the realization of the purposes of God. This battle differs from the other three in that it was not forced on Daniel, or at least only partially so. If he had not prayed through to assurance about Jerusalem's recovery he would have had no need to have his windows open toward Jerusalem. And if he had been content to walk quietly with the Lord, praying in secret, watching his own personal spiritual interests, and abandoning - at least for the time - this concentration on Divine purposes, he need ever have been thrown to the lions. The kind of prayer Daniel prayed in chapter 9 is the kind that roused hell - it always does; but the kind of vision which came to him from that prayer inspired him to go on without wavering.
The remarkable thing is not the fact that he prayed, but the nature of his prayer. He was so mastered by the vision that he forgot himself, even in prayer. Though he knew of the danger, not only did he still leave the windows open but "prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime." satan could not even divert his prayers, so that he should pray for his own safety. Ignoring all the decrees and threats of men and devils, he kept pressing the great issue of the kingdom in his prayers and praises. "The righteous shall hold on his way." It is most cheering to find that the Lord was not deprived of a single one of the 'open-window' prayers. Daniel made a habit of so praying three times a day. After the accusation the king "labored till the going down of the sun to rescue him". So Daniel was cast into the den after sundown. The king had such a bad night that he "arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions", and immediately had Daniel released. We may be sure that Daniel went straight back to his prayer chamber, and as the new day dawned was able to take up his prayer ministry just where he left it off. He was not so fresh as usual - for, after all, he had spent the night in the lions' den! - but the prayer had not been hindered, and there must have been a new note in the giving of thanks. What a battle! And what a victory!
We should take special note of the difference between Daniel and the majority of the Jews in Babylon. It was not that they had no faith or did not pray. Not that at all. But they were accepting things as they found them, accommodating themselves to the unhappy present order. In a vague sort of way they may have been hoping for a better day, but there was nothing practical about their hope. The Lord's testament among His people was not as it ought to be, not as it used to be, but they felt that they had to do their best to hold things together in their present poor state, accepting all the contradictions and limitations because they could do nothing about it. That is surely not an unfair statement of the position held by many Christians today. Is there any other position? In all humility we say that there is. And Daniel seems to illustrate it for us.
(continued with # 13)