“When Daniel learned that the decree had been signed and posted, he continued to pray just as he had always done. His house had windows in the upstairs that opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he knelt there in prayer, thanking and praising his God.” Daniel 6:10 – Message
Imagine the moment the word was delivered. Your love for God cannot be displayed in public any more. Not only can it not be publicly displayed, but it cannot be given at all. You must give your allegiance to the man king, instead of the One True King. To do anything less will come at the cost of your life.
The truth is, we cannot even begin to comprehend this. What has our faith in God really cost us, in the comforts of our society of the free world? Can we even relate in a small sense to Daniel? True, that each day, we are provided with the opportunity to give our allegiance to things that will pass away, but have we ever really known the cost of allegiance to the Lamb? Daniel did and he was willing to throw away all of the comforts he had known, all the prestige of kingdom life, all the favour of man, for just a moment to offer his heart of gratitude to a God who is worthy.
Daniel refused to be a secret worshipper. He would not hide his gratitude. He was grateful to the God who was with him and Daniel counted no price too high for the One who walked with him. He offered his private life on a public altar to be given to the God he was grateful to. The cost for Daniel was to become live meat for a den of hungry lions. However, nothing deterred him from expressing thanks to God. Yet, how often do we find pathetic excuses of why we can’t be grateful when it really doesn’t cost us anything?
Our natural thinking might say, “Why be public, Daniel?”, “Why not close the window and hide your faith?” Maybe Daniel understood something that we miss? Can true gratitude be hidden? Does true gratitude not find a place to overflow?
Daniel woke up one day, and the laws had changed, but nothing changed in his heart. Only his external circumstances were different. His Great God was the same. So, if God was worthy and deserving of thanks when the laws were in Daniel’s favour, was He still not worthy when the lot was rolled against him? Daniel understood, true gratitude is not secret, true gratitude cannot be kept behind a closed curtain, true gratitude is not circumstantial. It is a fire burning in the heart that has known that love does overcome. Not a love offered by the world which is fickle and fades, but a love that conquers, prevails, and will hold shut the mouths of hungry lions to reveal itself to a kingdom full of idolatry.
Daniel wasn’t displaying his thankfulness and prayers publicly for attention, but because this love had ignited in him. It was a gratitude that could not be hidden. He knew that if today his life were to end because of his expression of thankfulness to God, that his present suffering would not compare to the glory that would be revealed.
God chose to rescue the life of this man and shift the kingdom from idolatry to that of God seeking. Can you imagine gratitude having that kind of impact? Is it any wonder why the enemy want to keep us in a perpetual state of ingratitude? Could a thankful heart really be this powerful?
Today I am grateful for the freedoms I know in this life. However, I ask God that He would shake up my heart so that I do not allow these freedoms to rock me to sleep with apathy. I am thankful that I have never been in a position where I have had to choose between my faith and my life, but may God give me the grace to honour Him, so that in the day that I am called upon to pay this kind of price, like Daniel, I will offer on a public altar my private life to God who is worthy.