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Now since Daniel was such a high ranking government official, he learned about this law immediately. He knew that people would be watching him. He could have changed his daily routine. He could have worshiped God secretly instead of openly, just to stay out of trouble. But that’s not what he did. Look at verse 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’m not going to cover up my faith,” Daniel probably thought. “I’m going to keep praying. I’m going to keep serving God. I’m going to worship him openly, just as I have done all my life. I will not hide my faith.” This was Daniel’s routine, to openly spend time with God three times a day, meditating on his Word, and praying.
People were watching. We are told in verse 11 that his enemies “went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.” Then they went and told the king. Now the king liked Daniel because Daniel was his top administrator. He didn’t want him to be killed over some silly law about praying to the king. He realized that he had been deceived by Daniel’s enemies, but he was afraid to do anything about it. And so he had Daniel thrown into the lion’s den, as a form of execution. Look at the words he spoke in verse 16 to Daniel: “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” Everyone knew that Daniel as a man who served his God continually. It was not a secret, and the king acknowledged it.
Would you have done what Daniel did? Would you have continued to openly worship God, honor him, pray to him openly, even when you know that people are watching you? What if you are at a dinner with other people, and normally, you pray before you eat. But tonight you’re eating with people that aren’t Christians, and aren’t interested in becoming Christian. What would you do? Would you pray? You don’t have to stop the meal and make a big spectacle of yourself. But would you pause, fold your hands, look down, close your eyes, and just for a few moments, silently thank God for the food he has given you? Would you do that, even though you know that people will be watching? Or, do you hide your faith? Maybe skip praying, or pray in a real secret way, so that no one can see what you are doing?
This is a sin that we often fall into. God has placed us into a country where we are free to express our religious beliefs, but we are cowards. We hide our beliefs. We make up excuses about not wanting to offend anyone, but in reality, we are just plain cowards. We read the Bible when no one is looking. We pray when no one is looking. We only talk about our beliefs around other church people. “People are watching,” we say to ourselves, “and I’m afraid of what might happen if people notice my faith.”
How good it is, that we have a God who forgives us. Our Savior Jesus Christ, is the same God that Daniel prayed to. He doesn’t punish us for our sins of weaknesses. He doesn’t punish us for our shortcomings. Instead, Jesus Christ forgives us. Jesus Christ is not just a picture on the wall. He is our God, and he proved his love to us when he came down to this world as a man, not to punish
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