Indwelling Lord, make me expectant of what You will do in me and through me today.
Read Daniel 5:1-31
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Chapters 4 and 5 are like the two thieves on the cross. One was saved that none should despair; one was lost that none should presume.
It all went wrong when they had too much to drink. When self-control goes, watch out for what follows. The temptation to show off was shown, not just in a display of wealth but also in a challenge to the God who had so humbled Nebuchadnezzar. “Do your worst,” Belshazzar seemed to say. God rose to the challenge. The “writing on the wall” has become part of our English language, speaking of doom—and doom there was that night! A diverted river would allow access to impregnable Babylon.
A few hours before reality struck, the king was reduced to a pathetic spectacle—and so were the guests. Bluster sought to save face and cover what he felt. It was left to the queen, his mother, to remember their history and point him to Daniel, who had been left out in the cold. Belshazzar tries to retain control but his baubles have little impact on Daniel, whose value system was quite different. Prophet he was and prophet he would be. God had given a warning once and Nebuchadnezzar had taken his second chance, but though Belshazzar knew the story and its truth he had shut his mind to it as being inconvenient to his plans. Now it was too late.
The writing is spelled out, not just in words but in meaning. The meaning is stark: judgment—judgment at once. There is no future. The kingdom has come to an end. The last rites are being pronounced. The king seeks to have the last word, but the time for words is over. The kingdom passes that night from the Babylonians to Darius the Mede. This is one of the most solemn chapters in the Bible and its message should sober all who try to take God lightly.
Consider the implications of the end of verse 23 for yourself today.
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psa. 139:23,24).