“In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.” (Daniel 5:5)
King Belshazzar of Babylon took the sacred vessels of God, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, and used them to drink wine at their feast. It says “They drank wine and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.” Judgement from the Lord came quickly. King Belshazzer was slain that very night.
Belshazzer had not only used the sacred vessels from the temple of God, but had used them to praise his idol gods. If we look at the list of “gods” we see they were supposed gods of the elements. They were worshiping the creation instead of the Creator.
Today we see this and say how foolish, but is modern man not worshiping at a similar altar.We are to humble ouselves before the Lord and put Him first in our lives. Man’s pride gets in the way of this. Anything in our lives that we place ahead of the Lord is an idol.
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)
The southern kingdom of Judah had been taken captive by Babylon. They were held captive for 70 years – all prophesied by the Lord right down to the exact number of years. Babylon fell in one night. A hand appeared suspended in the air and wrote ” MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHAR-SIN.” Belshazzar was greatly troubled, actually terrified, by this and called in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, the soothsayers and ” The wise men of Babylon” to interpret. He offered them great rewards, but they could not interpret the words.
Finally, the queen suggested that Belshazzar seek the help of Daniel. So, Daniel was brought before the king. He offered Daniel the same great rewards if he could interrupt the words for him. Danial turned down the rewards, but agreed to interpret the message. Daniel interpreted it as follows:
“This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; You are weighed in the balance and found wanting. PERES (UPHAR-SIN is the plural and means division); Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
The king treated Daniel kindly and rewarded him, but there is no evidence that he repented. As previously mentioned, that very night Belshazzar was slain and Babylon fell..
Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar’s grandfather was disciplined by the Lord for his pride and great ego. The Word says, “He was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with dew from heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagle feathers, and his nails like bird claws.” Nebuchadnezzar lost his mind and his kingdom and lived among the wild animals for a period of time. The Bible goes on to say, “And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up my eyes to Heaven, and my understanding returned to me.” Nebuchadnezzar repented and humbled himself before the Lord, and the Lord restored his sanity and his kingdom. The Lord showed great mercy to him when he repented.
Belshazzar knew the history of the Lord’s dealing with his grandfather. And yet, he challenged the Lord by using the sacred vessels to praise heathen gods. Even seeing a hand suspended in the air with the Lord’s judgment on him and his kingdom did not cause Belshazzer to repent. This is an example and a warning to all that would read this account. The pride of life can be very powerful and will keep us from the Lord if we let it. Nebuchadnezzar humbled himself before the Lord. This is the only answer.
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.” (James 4:10)
Unfortunately, most will not humble themselves before the Lord and admit their need for forgiveness. Pride is deadly. Our first parents succumbed to it and lost their way. Satan told them that “You shall be as Gods (pride)” if they ate the fruit of the tree. They did eat of the tree and it resulted in them being cast out of the garden and losing their fellowship with God.
The Babylonian Kingdom was the most powerful kindom at the time; yet, it fell in one night. The Bible says pride goes before the fall and the pride of man brings destruction. For those that refuse the Lord’s gracious offer of forgiveness and eternal life “the handwriting is on the wall.” The hour is late. We are promised no more than today. The Bible makes it clear that judgment is coming upon all those that have not humbled themselves before the Lord and accepted His forgiveness. If we will humble ourselves before the Lord for both salvation and sanctification; He has promised us much.
“According to His divine power has given us all things (the goodness of God) that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him Who has called us to glory and virtue (attained only through the cross). Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises (in the Bible): that by these (promises) you might be partakers of the divine nature (the source of newness of life)……” (2 Peter 1:3,4)
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