Wednesday Morning Update

Daniel 5 - Pastor Joe Earle, Iowa

Introductory Remarks:

  • Darius is coming and Belshazzar’s soul will soon be required of him.
  • God is seeking vindication for his sovereign might.
  • He is seeking His glory, and Daniel is the proof of it.
  • Belshazzar is a man of pride. 

1. He spurned God’s holiness (vv. 1-4).

  • The situation facing Belshazzar is troubling. The Persians are attacking. At first the battle was out in the fields. Then Babylonians were forced back into the city of Babylon where they felt safe with their big walls and high towers.
  • His pride has led him to believe that he would send the Persians packing.
  • Possibly out of a drunken stupor, he calls for the vessels from the temple of God to be brought for use at his party.
  • The presence of women at the feast probably indicated a sexual nature to the feast as well.
  • They drank to gods of material objects, from gold to stone. What depravity it must have taken to do this before God!
  • Though not having gods of stones or sticks, our people also have many idols. For example, we say that life is not counted unless it is on this side of the womb, etc.

2. Belshazzar discounted God’s sovereignty (vv. 5-24).

  • After the supernatural writing on the wall, no one can help Belshazzar interpret the meaning. 
  • He grows deathly terrified and offers a great position and honor in the kingdom for whoever could help him.
  • The queen suggests Daniel, relaying the history of Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel is brought before the king. Belshazzar appears to Daniel and offers him the same prize.
  • There is great irony in the fact that moments earlier Belshazzar was profaning God and now He is in desperate need of His assistance.
  • Daniel tells the king to keep his gifts.
  • He tells Belshazzar that God gave Nebuchadnezzar his greatness. However, when Nebuchadnezzar became arrogant, the kingdom was taken away (the Lord giveth and Lord taketh away) and he was made like an animal until he acknowledged the sovereignty of God.
  • Belshazzar knew all of this history but had still rejected God’s rule and profaned the temple instruments and worshiped idols.
  • We have pridefully attempted to remove all mentions of God from our public places. We have also discounted God’s sovereignty out of arrogance and darkness. We sadly do not see or acknowledge the beauty of God.

3. Belshazzar incurred God’s judgment. (vv. 25-31).

  • Daniel interprets the writing on the wall. 
  • Belshazzar presumptuously honors Daniel instead of God. 
  • That very night, Belshazzar was killed and Darius became king of Babylon.
  • The Medes dammed the Euphrates and came in under the walls at night to conquer the city.
  • God will not permit His glory to be given to another. All pride will fail. Truth and glory will be seen. 
  • As Belshazzar met his doom, so will all mankind who opposes God.

What does this mean for you and me? I’m Belshazzar and you’re Belshazzar. Like him, we are deserving of God’s judgment for our rebellion and arrogance. But unlike him, we have known the grace of God through the work of Christ.

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