Weighed and Found Wanting
The story of King Belshazzar and the prophetic writing on the wall is a warning about pride, presumption and profanity.
- In Daniel 4 Nebuchadnezzar came to recognize that God is the Lord above all kings. Belshazzar, his son, knew full well how God had humbled his father (v. 22).
- In Daniel 5 Belshazzar does not repent. His life is a warning about pride, presumption and profanity.
- In captivity Daniel demonstrates purity and perseverance, and calls the secular rulers to repentance.
- A generation has passed between chapters 4 and 5.
- Pride had blinded Belshazzar to the peril of his kingdom and his profane attitude before God.
- By bringing in the vessels of gold from the Jewish temple, God’s holy presence was brought into the pagan party.
- We all think we have more time. But God will bring judgment at the set time (cf. Ps. 75).
- In presumption Belshazzar thought his gold kingdom would last forever (cf. Dan. 2:36-38).
- Belshazzar had ignored good counsel for years, but God weighs the heart (cf. Prov. 21:22).
- Belshazzar is profaning the sacred things of God before idols, demonstrating greater pride and profanity than his father.
- Babylonian idolatry imagined gods after their own design. Likewise in Exodus 32, the Israelites created an image of a calf, which represented power and utility.
- Belshazzar saw the people under his rule as objects of power, to be used.
- God created man in His own image, and placed him in the world to work and tend it. God made man able to respond to Him.
- Daniel models the true image of God as a man who serves and responds to God. His purity and perseverance define Daniel’s integrity.
- Daniel made his stand early in his days of captivity by not eating from the king’s table or drinking wine (Dan. 1:8-16). Daniel remained set apart from the feasting and luxury of Babylon.
- Daniel was not concerned about self-promotion or recognition. Because we’re called to be a holy people set apart from sin, we’re not likely to be found in the limelight of the world’s self-promoting parties.
- We’re to be like a tree planted by streams of water; Daniel is a fruit-bearing tree (cf. Ps. 1:3). Belshazzar, by contrast, is a lightweight, and blown away like chaff (cf. Ps. 1:4).
- Belshazzar is told of Daniel’s excellent spirit, but treats him presumptuously, as a captive. He fails to recognize what his father learned, that Daniel and the Israelites were God’s gift to Babylon (Dan. 1:2).
- We should be known for having an excellent spirit like Daniel, who was faithful in his position and duties.
- We’re to press on to attain the goal of our life in Christ. Don’t coast like Belshazzar. (cf. Hosea 6:1-3).
- By this time Daniel had been in Babylon 66 years, faithfully serving God, and keeping godly community with others like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Together as a church we’re to press on to fulfil our Christian duties (Heb. 6:1; 10:25).
- We’re called out of the world in order to be sent back into the world.
- Each Sunday we have a holy feast and a sacred vessel. The Lord Jesus is lifted up and we pledge allegiance to Him as our king.
- Is there presumptuousness in our hearts? Do we assume that whatever we want to do is right?
- Is there someone in your life who is giving you good counsel? Where can you seek good counsel? Ask the Lord to help you repent where your life is in error.
- Do we imagine a god after our own design, rather than receiving the God of Scripture as he reveals himself?
- Leaders, do we use people for “the cause” of ministry?
- Do we make an idol of our own usefulness and service? Can we accept giving our position to another who may be better suited to serve?
- Are you known to neighbours and colleagues for having an excellent spirit like Daniel?