Anglican Morning Devotion, 3 June 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. 5Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.” (Daniel 6:4-5)
In our modern society, Marxist propaganda in America has reached such levels in education, religion and politics that the innocent face accusation and punishment for their obedience and loyalty to God and His Commandments. This is not a new thing in the history of nations and peoples. Remember the first prophet, Abel was murdered by his brother, Cain – not for any cause except that of Abel’s righteousness.
Daniel is the focus of this brief devotion today. Daniel was a man whose heart was devoted to God, and that devotion was reflected in the courage he demonstrated in his worship of the Lord. He was an exile of Israel and privileged to serve in the court of the king. The story of Daniel’s night in the lion’s den is a tribute to that courage. In 1976, I had the opportunity to visit the City of Persepolis of ancient Persia. The ruins of that fabulous city of kings of Persia give one a totally awe-inspiring feel for Holy Scripture and those kings mentioned therein. Towering over the city is the Mountain of Mercy in which are carved the stone tombs of King Darius, Xerxes and Artaxerxes. A few miles away is a place called Pasargardae – the home of Cyrus the Great where I stood in the ruins of the very temple from which Daniel once prophesied. The tomb of Cyrus is perhaps fifty yards away from that temple.
Daniel was a true hero of the faith. There are heroes that arise from a momentary flash of courage, and others, such as Daniel, whose lives are ongoing examples of heroism.
The political enemies in the court of Darius conspired against Daniel, whom Darius loved, to have him killed by the lions. “Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.”(v4,5) They convinced Darius to issue an edict that any man who prayed to God for the next thirty days would be cast into the den of lions. It was the royal custom of the kings of Persia to never dispute any royal decree issued by them. The conspirators knew of Daniel’s custom of praying three times daily to his God.
How did Daniel respond once he knew of the decree? “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” (Daniel 6:10) Daniel remembered his God and his heritage in Israel. Nothing would stop him from praying to His Lord. Nothing changed in Daniel’s heart, and nothing should change in the heart of a Christian. He opened his windows facing his homeland, kneeled and prayed three times daily. The culprits were watching and reported to the king. Darius was heart-broken when he realized he had been duped. He could not annul the royal decree he had made, so he had Daniel cast into the lion’s den. These beasts were kept hungry for such occasions. King Darius said to Daniel: “…Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.” (Daniel 6:16) The king fretted all that night of trial and wonder. “Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him. 19Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. 20And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? 21Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. 22My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. 23Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.” (Daniel 6:18-23)
The courage of Daniel swayed an Empire and Darius: “I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. 27He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.” (Daniel 6:26-27)
Perhaps we could learn to stand courageously as Daniel against the wicked rulings of ungodly government!