TEACHER: Ken Hicks
SCRIPTURES: Daniel 5:1-31
BOTTOM LINE: Tha Handwriting on the Wall: Don’t Ignore the Work & Calling of God!
QUESTION: Are There Areas of your Life where You Know Better? You know God’s Call or Mission or Leading is 1 Direction, and you are choosing another?
It’s been about 30 years since chapter 4 … when Nebuchadnezzar finally lost his pride, and gave up his worship of False Gods, and committed to praise and serve the One True God.
Unfortuantely, Belshazzar received none of the benefits of his grandfather’s Spiritual Journey and Truth. In fact, he might have picked up and added all the PRIDE that Nebuchadnezzar discarded, because his heart was completely closed to the things of God.
And so we open up here in chapter 5 the empire of the Meds & the Persians, the Silver Empire foretold in Nebuchadnezzar’s 1st dream 6 decades earlier, and their empire was growing in power. Heroditus, the Greek Historian, says that in an attempt to end this threat to his Kingdom once and for all. King Nabonidus took the armies of Babylon out to fight against Darius, the King of the Medes & Persians.
Nabonidus was defeated and fled. So Darius and his army advance, capturing every outpost until the city of Babylon alone remained.
They arrive in preparation to engage in battle, and Belshazzar is thinking Ehh … no reason to be afraid of the Persians! The Euphrates river flows through our town … we’ve got plenty of water! We’ve got enough grain stored up for 20 years. We’re good … we’ll just wait ‘em out.
- The Party
So … Belshazzar decides to throw a party to make sure everyone knew he wasn’t scared, as well as hoping to boost the morale of those in his government. He invited 1,000’s of nobles and even broke the cultural protocol by telling them to bring their wives and concubines too.
Archeologist tell us the party was on the night of October 12, 539 B.C. … and they’ve even unearthed the banquet hall where the party was held.
Clearly they were there to Drink lots of Wine, but that’s not all. In their day, it was considered improper for women to come to banquet, giving us indication that it was a raging party of all sorts of activity. Daniel actually uses some restrained language here, but he’s making it clear that Belshazzar is giving free reign to any appetite his guests wanted to indulge.
- The Pride
And so Belshazzar decides to try to take the party to a new level. Let’s use these Goblets that were the expression of devotion and holiness for an exiled people … and use them to mock their God and His warnings of this coming Silver Kingdom.
Sure, like there’s really ever going to be someone who can conquer Mighty Babylon right?
No other King had ever used these Holy Vessels … not even Evil-Merocah.
- The Handwriting on the Wall
I’m guessing as soon as the Goblets were passed out, Belshazzar probably calls for a toast to his great city. However, check out what happens when they place the HOLY VESSELS to their UN-HOLY LIPS.
The PRIDE in the heart of Belshazzar had hardened his heart against God, and now the spiral led him to make a VERY serious mistake of treating the HOLY as UN-HOLY.
NOTHING can sober us up like a crisis. Imagine having been partying all night long, and all of a sudden, the Hand of God appears … I’m betting we’d all be frightened!
- The Interpretation
Now to be fair, Belshazzar didn’t know Daniel. No doubt he had heard of him, but wanted nothing to do w/ him.
His guys failed, and now they are all crying out and moaning in fear. In fact, the cries were so loud that Nicrotis .[the last surviving wife of Nebuchadnezzar … and Belshazzar’s grandmother] heard them.
Think of her as the Elderly Queen Mother of Babylon, and she would have known of Daniel’s skill. After all, she experienced chapters 1-4 in person. She may have even had a relationship w/ God like her husband, we don’t know.
She had refused to attend this crazy party … but whatever the case … she knew Daniel’s qualifications and told her grandson to call him.
Daniel reminded Belshazzar of what PRIDE had cost his grandfather, He reminded him of Nebuchadnezzar’s Animal Years, and his decision to worship the One True God. Danie also reminded Belshazzar that this was not new information.
Mr. King, you knew all this already … but have chosen to not only ignore it. You’ve gone past that to literally show disrespect and dishonor to the Most High God.
And I’m reading this, and then it hits me … Dude, before you throw too many rocks in Belshazzar’s direction … How Often Do I Do the Same Thing? How often to I avoid the responsibility of KNOWING the Truth of God … because honestly, I want to be able to do what I want to do?
it’s so easy for me to see Belshazzar’s blunder … or someone else’s mess that they are making in their life … and forget … in so many ways, THAT’S ME TOO! Maybe not the same Picture … but the same Story!
Paul said in Romans … all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God!
That Includes Us ALL
And that includes me … that includes our Staff … I Love the blessing of working w/ Abby & Rachael & Josh … I love sharing life together w/ each of them … and our Elders … and those relationships are so special!
But none of us are perfect! Might not be sins like Murder … or Stealing … or Adultery … but perhaps complaining … or negativism?
Our story is the same story … just a different picture.
It’s a journey. When God comes and writes on the walls of our life Tekel … You have been weighed in the scales and found wanting.
First and Foremost … let’s not ignore God’s writing here!
Secondly … we pause … we seek truth in God’s Word … when we see where we’ve ignored His calling. We repent, and we can rest in the finished work of Christ on the Cross to extend Forgiveness and Restoration. AND THEN … we get back up and take another step of Faith.
I’m not perfect … you won’t be perfect … but we can’t just keep Ignoring what We Know God is Doing and Has Called Us to Become!