Tuesday Morning Devotion 1/30/07 (Looking Further Forward)

Even though Daniel knew that the decree had been published, he went up to his house, into an upper room where windows were open facing toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he prayed and thanked his God just as he had done before that. — Daniel 6:10

Couldn’t he have just closed the curtains? I imagine most people have thought of that, if they’re honest. If you were forbidden to pray, would your first thought be that it could be done in private?

Yesterday I was talking about how Belshazzar was sure he was safe, living on the reputation and resources of his ancestors, but he didn’t look far enough forward, and he was stopped by the handwriting on the wall—and the Persian army that was invading his city. Today I’m looking at someone who looked further forward than anyone else.

You see, the sensible thing for Daniel to do would have been to stop praying, or at least to conceal his actions. Surely he could have suspended his thrice daily prayers for just 30 days! But Daniel looked at things differently. He had different priorities. He saw the decrees of human kings, even ones that could not be repealed or altered, as temporary things, and his time with God as eternal.

In the end, he was justified. The folks who played it the sensible way ended up as lion food, while the crazy guy who was praying in front of a window came out on top.

13In faith these all died, not having received the promises, but they saw and reached out to them from afar, and they confessed that they were strangers and wanderers on the earth, 14for those who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15If they had been remembering the land they had gone out from, there might have been opportunity to return. 16But now they aspire to a better place, which is heavenly. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, because he has prepared a city for them. — Hebrews 11:13-16

We face a similar situation in our spiritual lives. The questions are simple: What are we looking for? How far forward are we looking?

The place where we are going may be distant. If we’re looking back, and just considering the past or the very immediate present, we’re going to make all kinds of mistakes on our spiritual journey. If we always take the long view, and look at the destination God has prepared for us, we will do much better.

Look back only long enough to learn the lessons. Look forward and press toward the goal.

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