Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions.
We have all heard the adage "Persistence pays." There is one striking example in Scripture, however, when persistence did more than pay. In the case of Daniel persistence prospered.
The golden years of the Persian Empire were those of Darius the Great. Darius extended the empire from India to the Danube River, even to Greece itself. He also commanded his governors to aid in the rebuilding of the Temple at Jerusalem (Ezra 6:1-12). In his desire to rule well his kingdom, Darius set one hundred twenty princes over the whole kingdom as vice-regents. Over these were three presidents, of whom Daniel was the first. Daniel's prosperity as first president evoked the jealousy of the other presidents, who sought to destroy him. So godly was this man that the only way he could be destroyed was through wretched trickery.
The presidents knew that Daniel would not forsake the law of his God and therefore they proposed an unalterable decree that no one should pray to any person other than the king for a period of thirty days. Unaware of their vicious intent, King Darius signed the decree.
Although Daniel knew that the law had been signed, nonetheless he continued his practice of kneeling before a window opened toward Jerusalem and giving thanks to the Lord three times a day. His envious colleagues laid in wait to catch Daniel forsaking the unalterable law of the Medes and Persians. When they advised the king that Daniel had disregarded his decree, the king was greatly distressed, for he thought highly of Daniel. Nevertheless, he followed through on the punishment for disobeying his decree and cast Daniel into the den of lions. A stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den so Daniel could not escape. His death was inevitable.
Throughout the night the king could not sleep, nor could his mind be soothed with music. He arose very early in the morning and went quickly to the den of lions (Daniel 6:19). Much to his amazement, Jehovah God had spared the life of Daniel and shut the lions' mouths. The king was glad to receive Daniel out of the lions' den safe and sound. After punishing those who had accused Daniel, Darius wrote a decree to all nations that the God of Daniel should be revered and respected as the living God.
The persistent prayer of Daniel may be viewed as a foolish practice, given the law of the Medes and the Persians. But persistence in godliness is never persistence in foolishness. In fact, persistence in doing what is right always leads to prosperity.
A South Carolina man passing out tracts once stopped at a house and rang the bell. He heard noises inside and knew that someone was in there, but no one came to the door. He rang the bell persistently. Finally a man appeared, grabbed the tract from his hand, and rudely slammed the door in his face.
A week later the Christian returned to that door and this time the man received him immediately. After he entered the house, the man took him to the attic to see a rope dangling from the rafters with a box beneath it. The man of the house said, "Friend, when you rang my doorbell last week, my head was in that noose, and I was ready to jump! But you were so persistent that I decided to go down and see who it was. While reading your tract God spoke to me. Instead of jumping off that box, I knelt beside it and gave my heart to the Lord."
Like Daniel of old, who was persistent in doing what is right, this Christian's persistence in ringing that doorbell led to another man's salvation. Regardless of what men may think, persistence in doing what is right always brings the prosperity of God.
MORNING HYMN Truehearted, wholehearted, faithful and loyal, King of our lives, by Thy grace we will be; Under the standard exalted and royal, Strong in Thy strength we will battle for Thee.
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