In Daniel chapter 5, the powerful King of Babylon, Belshazzar is having a huge party for his friends. Everyone enjoys a good party or a get-together. In todays day and age, I see many people gathering for “wine and charcuterie” or special dinner parties. God has put an innate desire in each of us for community. There is laughing and joy when relationships are deepening and hearts are being shared. This is a true gift from God when we can share these times with family and friends.
In this instance from the book of Daniel, the people did not recognize God’s gift of community and were actually insulting God with their words and actions. During the party king Belshazzar instructs his servants to bring in the gold and silver vessels that had been stolen from God’s temple in Jerusalem.
Belshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. (v2) They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.(v4)
The party had taken a turn from community to dishonoring God. God stepped in and judged Belshazzar and his court in a dramatic fashion. Through mysterious and miraculous “handwriting on the wall,” God judged their arrogance. As the people were enjoying themselves fingers of a human had appeared and wrote on the wall. Such a powerful event left the most powerful earthly king at this point in history with a pale face and legs that became weak.
Then the king’s color changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together. (v6)
God used Daniel, who was filled with His spirit to interpret the writing and tell Belshazzar exactly what the hand had written. God made it clear that the king’s reign was coming to an end and his kingdom would be divided. That very night, this king was killed and someone else took over his kingdom.
King Balshazzar blatantly defied the Lord in word and deed. He was puffed up with arrogance and turned to other gods. He did not listen to Daniel’s interpretation of the writing and acknowledge that God was his only God.
Within all of our lives, there are times that we need to recognize and acknowledge God’s “handwriting on the wall.” As we know God better, we gain a greater understanding of how we have used “His vessel” (our bodies, minds, spirits, and people around us) in ways that are unpleasing to Him.
Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. (2 Timothy 2:21)
We need to daily acknowledge the handwriting on the wall in our lives. If we want our lives to be refined and grow in our faith, we must give the Holy Spirit permission to do His most important work of conviction. We need to see and have a willingness to see the areas in our lives that need changing and respond accordingly.
The gift we have received because of Jesus is more than we can ever deserve. Because He died on the cross for each of our sins, there is no judgment. We do not have to face the outcome that Belshazzar had to face. We have the grace and mercy of Jesus on us. We can start new every morning and follow Him. We can ask Him to make us a new vessel every minute of every day.
“Make me a vessel, make me an offering, make me whatever you want me to be….” (New Wine, Hillsong Worship)