Don’t Be a Fool (Daniel 5)

22 “But you his son, O Belshazzar, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. 23 Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. 24 Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.

25 “This is the inscription that was written: mene, mene, tekel, parsin

26 “This is what these words mean:

Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.

27   Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

28   Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

29 Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.

30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, 31 and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.

Learn it:

            King Belshazzar was a very prideful king.  One thing that isn’t made know till the reader till the very end is that Babylon is currently at war and the enemies are right outside their city walls.  Belshazzar has so much faith in his defense that he is having this huge banquet.  His pride is also so overwhelming that he takes items from the Jewish Temple that were made to glorify Yahweh and uses them to honor his gods.  This would be akin to spitting in the face of God.  It is super disrespectful.  Belshazzar does not fear his earthly enemy and does not fear God. 

            At this sign of dishonor God writes a message on the wall in the banquet hall.  Belshazzar has learned nothing from Nebuchadnezzar and gathers his own men who are unable to interpret the message.  The Queen reminds Belshazzar of Daniel, who is about 80 years old at this point, who would be able to interpret it.  When Daniel arrives, he is very blunt with the king and delivers a message condemning him for not learning from his father to respect the One True Mighty God of Israel.  Daniel interprets the message to the king telling him that he is going to lose his kingdom.   God brings his judgment so quickly that within a few hours the king is dead, and the Medes have taken over the kingdom. 

Live it:

            We must learn from King Belshazzar and not let our pride get the best of us.  First, we must respect God because he is in control of all things.  This is a big theme in Daniel!  Second, we should turn to God first when we are seeking wisdom or guidance.  The Babylonian kings kept turning to their own magicians and diviners, but they never could interpret messages from God.  I encourage you to seek God first in all that you do.  We must not think that we know better than Him and humble ourselves before Him.  Spend sometime in prayer with God worshiping Him and asking Him for guidance in your life today. 

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