I was recently reading I Kings chapter 8. Solomon has just finished building the Temple and they ceremoniously brought the crowning piece of furniture into it, the Ark of the Covenant. God’s glory descended upon the Holy of Holies, to which Solomon offered a sermon and a lengthy prayer.
In his prayer, he asks for God to have a ready ear toward His people’s prayers and that forgiveness be extended when divine punishment came due to their sin. Such punishments might include being defeated in battle, withholding of rain, famine, pestilence, etc. Sin truly brings ugly consequences — and all of them unnecessary — into our lives. It’s always right and best to do what God says is right!
In this prayer, Solomon repeatedly asks for God to hear their prayers when they pray “toward this place” This is mentioned in verses 29, 30, 35, 38, 42, 44, and 48. Solomon is emphasizing this point.
Skip forward 300+ years when the time of the kings and Israel’s independence has vanished. The leading world superpower, Babylon, has taken over the nation of Judah and Medo-Persia has taken over Babylon. Daniel has been in a foreign land for over 60 years, employed by various rulers. We are all very familiar with the story of Daniel in the Lions’ Den. He was sentenced to death by lions because he prayed out of habit thrice each day, “his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem” (Dan. 6:10). (Little-known fact: Daniel was approaching or beyond 80 years of age when he entered the lions’ den.)
Notice that Daniel was very much aware of Scripture. We assume that he possessed a copy of the sacred writings in Babylon. He had read when Solomon asked God to hear the Israelite captives’ “prayer and their supplication… and maintain their cause” when they “pray unto Thee toward their land… and the house which I have built for Thy name” (I Kings 8:49, 48).
Daniel read his Bible, studied it, and knew it very well. And most importantly, he acted upon it. We rejoice in his miraculous rescue from the danger of the famished lions and how the instigators of that evil law were devoured before they even hit the bottom of the den. God has great blessings for those who obey His Word. But to obey it, you must read it and meditate on it so you know what He says to do. Let’s dare to be a Daniel!
“Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only” for “a doer of the work… shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:22, 25)!