Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Expose (08/22/13)
- TITLE: What One Night Revealed
By Ernest Yoder
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A commentary on Daniel 5
Belshazzar’s life was a façade. His royal position, his kingly privilege and his place in the historical record were not of his own accomplishments and his deficiencies were of his own ineptitude. What he possessed in the way of wealth was handed to him. His lavish lifestyle was not the result of his own ingenuity or competence. In today’s parlance he was a big spoiled brat trying to be a big shot.
Belshazzar was going to throw a lavish party. In a bubble of false security he obviously was living only for the moment. The enemy was already outside the walls of his city. He displayed his utter stupidity as a king in charge of the safety and security of a city when he decided to throw this party. His acumen as a leader was nonexistent. It is obvious that not all sons of kings (or, as in this case, grandsons) are qualified to be kings. This party was destined to be a catalyst for the exposure of a number of things concerning this king, his place in history, his attitude about God, and Daniel the servant of God.
It had been years since Babylon had risen to the zenith of her existence under King Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar’s grandfather. History indicates that she was stagnating from the inside out like an over ripe tomato. King Belshazzar was ignoring the rot and decay and God was ready to bring judgment to this nation that had out lived its purpose. This was going to be an eye opening night for Belshazzar and the citizens of Babylon. Their sense of security as a nation was about to be shattered forever.
The party was a big bash for a thousand nobles, their wives, and their concubines. For some reason Belshazzar decided it would be more exciting to use the cups and vessels Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple of God at Jerusalem years earlier. Why, I do not know. Was he trying to stick a finger in the eye of Jehovah God? There they were, without a thought of their imminent destruction or of the God of these vessels they so disrespected.
But when the hand suddenly appeared and the undecipherable writing remained on the wall Belshazzar’s bravado evaporated into thin air. Quaking in fear his idiotic arrogance disappeared. The superficiality of his true character was exposed as the immanency of the sovereign God was revealed.
Daniel, by now an elderly man, in contrast to the obviously flustered and fear wracked king, disclosed his own godly character as he walked in to the giant hall, calm and confident, the servant and representative of his sovereign God, Jehovah. He revealed the stupidity of the king, the meaning of the handwriting, the immediate destruction of the Babylonian Kingdom, and that God in whose hand was the breath of the king (v.23 NKJ) was not one to be trifled with. In perhaps the soonest fulfilling of prophecy in scripture Daniel also disclosed the future conquest of Babylon by the Medes and Persians which occurred that very night.
This true story should be a lesson for us today. With godly discretion and with biblical knowledge we can peel back layers of information concerning current events, be they from our personal lives or those of international significance, and reverently discover God at work in the affairs of mankind.
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