Monday, June 29, 2009

Daniel, chapter 5

The fifth chapter of Daniel jumps ahead on the story a bit. One of the most amazing things about chapter 4 was that King Nebuchadnezzar paid homage to the God of Israel in it. He recognized that that was the one true God and therefore turned away from the gods that Babylon worshipped. In chapter five we have moved on a few years past Nebuchadnezzar’s death. Babylon now has a new king, Belshazzar, who does not recognize God’s authority.

In this chapter, Belshazzar is arrogant. He defiles some of the treasures of the temple that were looted when the Babylonians took over Jerusalem. He almost openly mocks God to the point where God gives him the message via the writing on the wall. He does not understand the message, so he asks Daniel to come forward and translate like Nebuchadnezzar did.

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." – Daniel 5:22-28

Daniel cared very little for the gifts that Belshazzar promised him. Earlier in the chapter he even said they could be given to someone else. Despite the position that he was given, Daniel continued to serve the Lord and even worked to make other know that the Lord was the one true God. This was in the midst of a pagan culture that had numerous gods. Daniel’s life is a lesson on perseverance for us to always keep our focus on God even in the darkest of times when we are oppressed.

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