"Windows Open Toward Jerusalem" (continued)
The Delivering Power of the Heavenly Vision
But the message of this verse to my own heart lies here - in such conditions, in the midst of that bitter assault and antagonism, how did Daniel behave? What a lesson for us all! When he knew, he just went on praying toward Jerusalem. It did not make the slightest difference to him. It was not that he suddenly opened the windows - the windows were open; not that he suddenly began to pray - he had been praying and giving thanks three times a day toward Jerusalem. All the threats and fury of the adversary made not the slightest difference to him. Without any sense of strain: without any twisting of himself up and suddenly getting into a tense condition over it all: in quiet, noble dignity, he went on with the Lord. How important for us to be ready for the assault when it comes! I think one of the reasons why Daniel was so steady and calm under it all was that his revelation was something so much bigger than himself that it carried him through. What I mean is that if Daniel had seen Jerusalem being rebuilt and himself a kind of Nehemiah or Zerubbabel taking the lead: if his vision, while being of Divine things, had brought himself into prominence: well, the lions' den would have been a first-class problem. How could the vision be realized if he went into the lions' den? And that is the disturbing feature in our spiritual lives - that so often, when God reveals Divine things to us, we somehow manage to introduce ourselves into the picture. A certain thing is going to happen, and we are going to have a part! and all too subtly we begin to see ourselves having a prominent place in the realization of it. Then, when the assault comes upon the revelation, and upon us because of it, we are disturbed, we are worried. But Daniel was not going back to Jerusalem, though, as we find, he was told that he should have his place in the end (Daniel 12:13); so far as he was concerned, he forgot himself, he was nothing. The people of God and the city of God, and the purpose of God in that people and city - they were what he saw when he opened the windows. Excuse me putting it this way - it was not a mirror he went to pray in front of, it was an open window. He did not see himself as the chief feature; he saw - though no human eye could see it at that distance - the city of God, he saw the Divine purposes. What did the lions' den matter to them? What did it matter what men did to Daniel so long as that end was realized? In the light of what God had shown him, he could not stop praying for Jerusalem, and, what is more important, he could not stop giving thanks for Jerusalem.
We need a little imagination to put ourselves in his place. When he knew that the writing was signed, what did he do? Begin to pray for Daniel? No, that is what Darius did. Daniel gave thanks that Jerusalem was going to be rebuilt. Oh, the delivering power of a vision big enough, heavenly enough, Divine enough to swallow up all our little petty and personal interests! That is the secret - the open windows. Dear brother, dear sister, look out to God's purpose! Of course, if you do, it will involve the lions' den. What did Daniel care for the lions' den? When he had heard all about it, he just went home, went on praying, went on thanking God.
(continued with # 8 - (The Futility of Earthly Endeavor)