Windows Open Toward Heaven

Daniel

Windows Open Toward Heaven

May 9th, 1971 @ 8:15 AM

Daniel 6:10

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
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WITH WINDOWS OPEN TOWARD HEAVEN

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Daniel 6:10

5-9-71    8:15 a.m.

 

On the radio you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  This is the pastor bringing the message entitled With Windows Open Toward Heaven.  In the sixth chapter of the Book of Daniel and verse 10:

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he bowed upon his knees, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

[Daniel 6:10]

Moved by envy and jealousy and ambition, the conspirators against the prime minister, the godly and holy Daniel, sought some way by which they could find fault and accuse him.  But they failed.  He was impeccable in his life, noble in his character.  He was superlative in his governmental administration.  He was above reproach, above bribery, above corruption.  And as his two fellow presidents, of which he was chief, and as the satraps, and princes, and governors of the realm sought cause against him, they could find none.  He was above reproach, noble, steadfast, faithful.

But the devil never runs out of devious devices.  He is full of subtlety.  And he whispered in the ears of these conspirators, “What is the matter with you?  Look at him.  Don’t you see?  Don’t you notice?  He has no reverence for your divinities.  He passes by in silent scorn your idol temples.  He does not share in the worship before those images.  Don’t you see that?”

And the conspirators replied to Satan, “But we can’t find anything in that whereby to accuse him?”

“Oh,” whispered Satan, “Are you so artless that you don’t see in these religious peculiarities an opportunity to accuse him?  Why, look at him.  He prays to his unseen, invisible God three times every day.  He does it openly [Daniel 6:10].  Don’t you see in that a way to destroy him?  Why, the man is sure to pray, and we are sure to entrap him.  I’ve tested him.  I’ve enticed him.  He’d rather die than fail his God!”

And the conspirators replied to the devil, “But how in his devotion to his God could we find fault to accuse him?”

And Satan whispers into their hearts, “Are you thus stupid?  You are looking at Daniel.  That’s looking at strength!  Don’t look at him, look at the king.  Look at the king!  Every man has a chink in his armor; every man has a weakness.  Look at the king!  And the king’s weakness is vanity; he can be flattered.  Make him god for a month, and pass a law, unchangeable, that every man is to pray to him for thirty days [Daniel 6:7-8], and you’ll catch this Daniel as a trap is set for a soaring eagle.”

Then I begin, “And when Daniel knew that the writing was signed” [Daniel 6:10], what did he do?  The devious, subtle devices and designs of Satan to destroy God’s saints, “And when Daniel knew that the writing was signed,” what did he do?  He could have gathered a massive defense and offense against his enemies.  He could have sat down and said, “How shall I circumvent these devils?  I shall meet cunning with cunning, and craft with craft.  I shall concoct a scheme to frustrate their evil designs.  I will go before the king and I will unveil before his very ears the devilry and the murderous spirit of this conspirators.  And I shall call a great assembly of state, and there I shall publicly expose their murderous designs.”

He could have.  He could have sat down in his chair and temporized, argued with his conscience.  He could have said, “I’ll just postpone the prayer meeting for thirty days, it’s a relatively short time.”  He could have said, “You know, I am convinced my life and service is worth something to my captive people; I’m worth more alive to them than dead, and I need to temporize, I need to make arrangements for me to continue to live and serve my people.”  He could have said, “You know, the end justifies the means.  If I turn aside from this prayer and worship, I could keep the king from being embarrassed, and from murder, and I can foil my enemies.”  Or he could have said, “I don’t have to pray openly and publicly.  I can pray in some other room, in the cellar.  I can look like a heathen even though I’m a Christian.  I can look like a worldling even though I’m a born again child of God.”  Isn’t that a strange thing about the Lord?  And I sometimes, as I think through it in the Bible, I sometimes marvel at what God does and expects and asks of us, this public avowal.

For example, the blood of the Passover had to be displayed openly on the front of the house, in the form of a cross—on the lintel and on the door posts—on either side [Exodus 12:7, 22].  Why could it not have been displayed in a closet or on the back door?  Somehow God said, “My house has to be openly and publicly displayed; this is a family that belongs to God.”

And there’s no exception to that in the Bible.  “Who is on the Lord’s side?  let him come and stand by me” [Exodus 32:26].  “Whosoever shall confess Me openly, him will I confess before My Father in heaven.  Whosoever shall deny Me, him will I deny before My Father in heaven” [Matthew 10:32-33].  “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus is Lord, thou shalt be saved” [Romans 10:9].  Isn’t that a strange thing?  Daniel could have temporized, “I’ll pray in the cellar, I’ll pray hidden away; after all, can’t God hear me when I pray in my heart?  Isn’t He the God of the heart?  And doesn’t He search the heart?  I’ll just pray in my heart.  And then they won’t know.”  What did he do?  The great man of God just continued as he was, unperturbed, just kept on [Daniel 6:10].

Just like that sun up there; it shines whether anybody looks or not; it waits not for our approbation.  Just like that roaring sea; it continues in majestic tranquility whether anybody looks at it or not.  Just like those great mountain peaks; they raise their heads into the azure sky, in majestic splendor whether there’s anybody to notice it or not.  Just like those stars in their orbits; they swing through the universe whether anybody plots their course or not.  So with a man of a majestic spirit; whether anybody takes notice or doesn’t take notice, whether anybody comments or doesn’t comment, whatever men say or not say, he continues on just the same.  Honor or reproach are just the same; isn’t that an astonishing thing?

Why, had Darius made the announcement that, “I abdicate the throne, and I give the crown to Daniel,” it would have been just the same.  He would have continued on, no difference.  And I suppose, “And when Daniel knew that the writing was signed he went into his house” [Daniel 6:10].  I suppose as he climbed those steps to his home, it was like climbing the steps to a gallows, no matter.  As the sixth chapter of Nehemiah, when Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem sought to intimidate him, he sent them word, “Should such a man as I flee [Nehemiah 6:11], as though in God’s sight I was but a craven coward?” went right on [working].

Isn’t that what God expects of us?  When the Bible is assailed, just put out a new edition of two million copies!  When our faith is ridiculed, and denounced, and blasphemed, just say it all the more fervently and honestly.  And when there is a floodtide of unbelief, and liberalism, and modernism; just organize you a Bible institute, go right on.  Preach the gospel, pray to the Lord, serve Him with fervor and dedication.

And when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

[Daniel 6:10]

Just continued as he’d always done, unperturbed, dedicated, committed.

Any man that God greatly uses is always a man of prayer, always.  The disciples, looking at Jesus, came to the conclusion that there was some connection between His outward life of miraculous power and His inward secret life of prayer and intercession.  And they came to the Lord, and said, “Lord, teach us how to pray, to pray” [Luke 11:1].  Robert Murray M’Cheyne said, “What a man is—down on his knees alone before God—that he is and nothing more.”

He went into his house; windows open toward Jerusalem, kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks to God, as he did aforetime.

[Daniel 6:10]

So he has a place to pray, a place.  Those houses built by those ancient Jews had flat roofs.  And on top of that flat roof, apparently, he had a little oratory, a little chapel, a little chamber with moveable lattices over the windows.  And up there he opened the windows and prayed.  He had a place.

When I was a young preacher, beginning my first work as a preacher of the gospel, in a revival meeting I held in central West Texas, one of those ranchers took me as a guest in his house.  I was then nineteen years old.  And after the noon meal he asked me to go with him.  Back of his house was a mesa; his ranch house was at the foot of the mesa.  And on top of the mesa there was a clump of trees, small trees.  And in some strange providence, they were covered over; they grew in like their heads were together.  And we went underneath that clump of trees; and there in a little open area in the middle, was a big root coming up, crossing over, going back down in the ground again.

He said to me, “This is my place of prayer.  I come here every day and put my hands on that root, and kneel down and talk to God.”  He said, “I want you to kneel down by my side, and I want to pray for you, and the years of your ministry for God that lie before.”  So I knelt down by his side, and he put his hands on that big root and pled to God for me; a place, a time.  “Three times a day he prayed” [Daniel 6:10].

When I turn to the Psalms, “As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me.  Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud; and God shall hear my voice, and deliver my soul” [Psalm 55:16-18].  A time; morning, in the freshness of the dawn; at noon day, in the splendor of the sun’s meridian strength; evening, in the twilight and shades of the night; he prayed: a time to pray.

And a posture of prayer, “And he kneeled upon his knees” [Daniel 6:10].  Again the psalmist:

O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.  For He is our God; and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.

[Psalm 95:6-7]

Dear people, if I knew how to do it, every one of us that worships in this sanctuary would get down on his knees when we pray.  But I don’t know how to do it.  The pews are so close together.  I don’t know how to do it.  There is a posture in prayer.  “And he kneeled upon his knees” [Daniel 6:10].

That is not unusual.  Solomon, at the dedication of the temple, made a brazen scaffold, and upon it he stood, and he kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel and spread forth his hands toward heaven [2 Chronicles 6:13].  I turn again.  In the life of Ezra:

And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God, and said, O my God.

[Ezra 9:5-6]

In the life of Stephen, in the life, first, of our Lord: “And in Gethsemane, He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed” [Luke 22:41].  And in the life of Stephen, when they beat him with stones, and the life crushed out of him, “He kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord . . . receive my spirit.  And when he had said this, he fell asleep” [Acts 7:59-60].  And in the life of Simon Peter:  “And Peter put them all forth, weeping over the death of Dorcas, and kneeled down, and prayed; and raised Dorcas from the dead” [Acts 9:40-41].  And in the twentieth chapter of the Book of Acts:  “And when Paul had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all” [Acts 20:36].  And in the next chapter, chapter 21, “When they came to [Tyre], those that were in the city came out with their wives and children, and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed” [Acts 21:3-5].

I have a prayer rug by my bed, one that I got in Tehran in Iran.  I have a prayer rug by my bed, and I kneel down on that prayer rug and pray.  Somehow there is a humility, and a submission, and a surrendered yieldedness in kneeling that does something to the soul; a posture in prayer.

Not only did he kneel down and pray, “He prayed and gave thanks before God” [Daniel 6:10].  This hated, and hunted, and badgered, and lied about man, he did not know he would be delivered in that hour of that awesome crisis, to be fed to the lions [Daniel 6:14-16].  He gave thanks to God.  Lord, what do I have to be thankful for?  What did this man have to be thankful for?  Going to be raw meat for those beasts by the eventide, but he knelt down and gave thanks unto God.  You’ve heard that before, haven’t you?  “Be anxious for nothing, be burdened down with care about nothing; but in every thing, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” [Philippians 4:6].

“But, pastor, you don’t realize my estate!  Sickness, and infirmity, and business reverses, and bad investments, and hard times, and disaster, and abysmal grief, and illness, and a thousand other things have overwhelmed me!”  No, “he knelt down and he gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime” [Daniel 6:10].  For however the reverse, or the despair, or the dejection, or however the illness, or the age, or the senility, or the disaster, God still lives and reigns, and “all things are working together for good to them that love God” [Romans 8:28].  And behind that oppressive fortune and that unbelievable providence, “there is some good thing that God hath purposed for thee.  “And he knelt down, and he gave thanks.  And he opened his windows toward Jerusalem” [Daniel 6:10].

There are many areas of life on which he could have opened those windows; on the marketplace of the great city, toward those sparkling and shining domes of the palaces—the political life in which he was enmeshed—and where those conspirators now were exalting over their triumph; for by the evening the lions would have eaten him up.  But he turned his face and knelt with an open window toward Jerusalem, the place where God’s glory was manifest, the place where the voice of God was heard.  He opened his windows toward Jerusalem [Daniel 6:10].

And Solomon prayed on his knees and said, If the people sin against Thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and Thou will be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy so that they are carried away captive;

If in that captive land they come to Thee and pray unto Thee toward this land, toward this city, and toward this house which I have built for Thy name, then look down upon their prayer, and deliver Thy people.

[1 Kings 8:46-50]

But as for me, I will come into Thy house

in the multitude of Thy mercies: and in Thy fear will I worship toward Thy holy temple.

[Psalm 5:7]

The only type of Christ that Daniel had in that dispensation was the temple, and the seven-branched lampstand, and the ark of the covenant [2 Chronicles 3-4].  The city was in ruins, and for seventy years silence had covered Mt. Moriah; but he believed in the promises of God: the people should return [Jeremiah 29:10], and Jerusalem should be rebuilt, and the temple should rise again [Jeremiah 29:11-14]—the only type, he said, of our Lord, that he had of our Lord.  And as that man of God knelt there with his face toward the sanctuary of the Lord, there streamed through that window light for his soul.

Now I’m not only talking about his astute judgments, and his political and wise decisions as he administered the political realm—I’m not only speaking of that—I’m talking about as he knelt there, with his face toward the sanctuary of God [Daniel 6:10], there came to him visions and dreams.  And God spoke to his heart [Daniel 7:1].

Why, my brethren, in the ninth chapter of the Book of Daniel, in one of those revelations––and we shall come to them in God’s time––in one of those revelations of the ninth chapter of the Book of Daniel, he uses language exactly like the apostle Paul, preaching the cross of the Son of God [1 Corinthians 2:2], exactly as though he were standing at the foot of the cross himself [Daniel 9:26].

What Daniel had in type, praying toward Jerusalem and the sanctuary of God [Daniel 6:10], what Daniel had in type, we have in this dispensation, in reality [Hebrews 12:18-24].  We pray with our faces toward the New Jerusalem.  “For we are not come unto Mount Sinai, with its darkening thundering clouds and lightning, whereby even Moses said, ‘I do exceedingly quake and tremble,’ but we are come unto Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the New Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels; and to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven; and to the spirits of just men made perfect; and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant; and to the sprinkling of the blood, the pouring out of the blood that speaketh to us better things than that of Abel” [Hebrews 12:18-24]; with our faces toward the New Jerusalem, and the sanctuary of God in heaven, and our great Mediator and High Priest, who intercedes for us [Hebrews 7:24-25].

Bear me one more brief word:

And when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

[Daniel 6:10]

Wonder where that came from?

Daniel is an old, old man, as old as Mother West.  Daniel is about ninety years of age.  And he had been taken a captive out of the land of his forefathers, and the graves of his people, when he was a boy [Daniel 1:1, 3-6].  But after the passing of the years and the years, the glitter of dazzling Babylon was not able to blot out of his soul the memory of his mother, and his father, and his home—“As he did aforetime” [Daniel 6:10].  And when he prayed—his windows opened toward the memories of those godly parents who taught him the way of the Lord [Daniel 6:10]—oh, what a tribute!  What a tribute is the life of this great prime minister of state, to some unnamed mother, and some unknown father, and to some godly home back in the years that have passed away.

Sweet friends, isn’t it worth it to give your heart, and your life, and your home to God, to rear up your children in the love and nurture of Christ Jesus?  Do it.  Do it.  Do it.

We’re going to stand and sing our hymn of appeal, and while we sing it a family you, a couple you, a husband and wife you, or just somebody one you, while we sing the song, come now, decide for Christ now.  When we stand up in a moment, stand up coming.  Down one of these stairways, into the aisle and down here to the front, “Here I am, pastor, I make it now.”  Do it, on the first note of that first stanza, when you stand up, stand up coming.  God strengthen you and angels attend you in the way as you come, while we stand and sing.

WITH WINDOWS OPEN TOWARD HEAVEN

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Daniel 6:10

5-9-71

I. The devil’s devious devices, designs

A.   Failure of the conspirator moved by envy

B.   Satan never runs short of devious devices

II. Daniel’s decisions

A.   He could have tried to devise a similar plan to thwart his enemies

B.   He could have temporized

C.   He continued to do what he always did

III. Daniel’s strength refuge in prayer

A.   A place

B.   A time

C.   A posture

D.   With thanksgiving

E.   With windows open toward heaven

F.    Our open windows face the heavenly Jerusalem