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.
Daily Office & SabbathOur culture knows very little about rhythm. In fact the word 24/7 didn’t exist some ten years ago. But now things just go from one thing to the next. Things are crazy, it’s non-stop. Everyone’s in a hurry, everbody’s busy. And instead of being where we are in the present, most people are always on the way to something else. There are so many things around us that cut us off from our relationship with Christ. And if you are shut off from the body of Christ, you become isolated and shut down. If you are cut off, then you won’t have a life that is oriented around God. Daniel, at about the age of 17-20 was carried off from his home in Israel to Babylon. His people were wiped out by the pagan, Babylonian armies. Their temple was destroyed. And so, Daniel finds himself in the University of Babylon, basically. He’s learning Babylonian thinking and ways of living, math, medicine, myths. He’s learning astrology and about their gods. They change his name and they want to make him totally Babylonian. Babylon has one goal for Daniel. They want to cleanse God, the living God, from him. Cleanse it out of him and make him fully Babylonian. They make him an advisor to the king. You see, this provides a great image for us, doesn’t it? Because Babylon in the bible represents the world. Look around – we basically live in a world that wants to make us Babylonian. And any traces of a living God and what’s true inside of you the culture is just out to suck it out of you. Once those traces of God are removed, your thinking, your ways of being, your decisions, your values, your relationships, the way you view the world, is Babylonian and not of God. And that’s what is happening to Daniel. Daniel is under a high amount of pressure and there are people around him that are out to do him harm. They devise a plan to trick Daniel and the king makes a decree that if anyone does not bow to the king and bows to any other god, they’ll be thrown into the lion’s den. And here’s Daniel, it says in verse 10, ‘three times a day’ he disobeys the decree. It says, “Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he’d done before”. “Office” in Latin literally means, ‘work of God’, which is the reason the name “daily office” versus “quiet time or devotions” is used – because it makes a distinctions that ‘in office’ my work is to seek God. It’s to be with God. That is the first work of all of us in this room. And so, here’s the point of the discipline of a daily office – to be aware and present with God all throughout the day, and to be conscious of God when I am active. If we are going to have a spirituality with depth to it, if we are going to be spirit filled men and women, I really believe these two gifts are treasures to us.
We started this morning by making a to-do list for this week. What does your to-do list look like for this week? Does it include quiet time with God? With everything you have going on this week, can you afford not to spend time with God? When I made out my to-do list I didn't include time with God, but then I didn't include meals or bathing either. These are things I do every day so I didn't think they needed to be included.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me!
May God bless you richly this week.