The Writing on the Wall

Today’s reading is Daniel 5. There is a new king on the throne – Belshazzar. 66 years have passed since Daniel chapter 1 when Nebuchadnezzar was king. Thankfully, he was able to humble himself before God as an example to those that would follow him. Unfortunately, Belshazzar forgot about the one true God. In Daniel 5 he had a party for 1000 of his nobles and they were eating and drinking together. Belshazzar ordered that the gold and silver cups taken by Nebuchadnezzar from the holy temple in Jerusalem be brought out for them to use. These were sacred cups that did not belong to them. They used the cups filled with wine to “toast” their idols made of gold, iron, silver, bronze, wood, and stone. Had they forgotten after so many years what happened to Nebuchadnezzar when he denied God? How he became like an animal until he humbled himself? God got everyone’s attention at the party by literally  writing a message on the wall where everyone could see. Can you imagine, in the midst of your party and all the enjoyment a hand appears and writes a cryptic message on the wall. I think he may have lost a few party guests after this episode. Belshazzar had no idea what the message meant and he was very afraid. He summoned anyone to help and offered a reward of purple robes, gold chains, and the third highest rank in the kingdom to anyone who could interpret the message. Daniel was summoned to help as his reputation for wisdom and solving “riddles”made him the best candidate for the job.

Daniel had to share the very difficult news that the writing on the wall was not in Belshazzar’s favor. It predicted his death and the destruction of Babylon by the Medes and the Persians.

Belshazzar dressed Daniel in robes of purple and gold necklaces and made him third highest in the kingdom. In spite of the bad news.

Daniel 5:30 “That very night Belshazzar, the Babylonian king, was killed. And Darius the Mede became king.”

Daniel was not afraid to tell the truth.  Even when the truth was difficult to tell. We know Daniel spent time with God. The truth is easier to see and to tell when we spend time with the creator of all truth.

Where am I not telling the truth for fear the truth might be too difficult to tell? Am I spending time with God so I’m able to recognize the truth and speak it in love? Am I known for my truth telling?

What am I taking from God that is sacred and using for my own pleasure? (Like the gold and silver cups taken from the temple).  The Sabbath? Church? My gifts and talents?

Daniel 5:23 “For you have defied the Lord of heaven and have had these cups from his temple brought before you.  You and your nobles and your wives and concubines have been drinking wine from them while praising gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone – gods that neither see nor hear nor know anything at all.  But you have not honored the God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny!”

May we ‘honor the God who gives us the breath of life and controls our destiny!’