Suggested Reading: Daniel 5
The Bible uses the language of spiritual light and spiritual darkness to describe the state of humans. It is very clear that without Christ the world lives in darkness without hope.
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. ~John 3:19-20
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. ~Colosians 1:13
As Daniel 4 closes, there were rays of light shining upon Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar
offered up praises and expressed faith in Jehovah God. Daniel was about 50 years old when Nebuchadnezzar had his humbling bovine experience. Whatever the results of that were, they were not long lasting. In Chapter 5 Daniel remains in the same place, but years have passed. Nebuchadnezzar is a memory. Belshazzar his relative is the king. It is evident that Babylon remains in darkness, ignoring Nebuchadnezzar’s lesson.
Daniel 5 begins with a big party with a 1,000+ folks drinking up the king’s wine and celebrating their idols. That’s when God decided to help Johnny Cash have a hit song and proceeded to terrify Belshazzar with a ghostly hand writing on the wall. He can’t read it, his wise men can’t read it. Enter the Queen Mother with the answer. There is someone who can interpret dreams and visions and his name is Daniel.
As Daniel is summoned, it is very likely he is in his 80’s. He agrees to interpret the writing, but not before he gives Belshazzar a sermon reminding of Nebuchadnezzer’s experience when he refused to humble himself before God. The message was a simple one, and a deadly one. We are not told what Belshazzar thought of the message from God. Maybe he thought Babylon could never fall. But that very night the Medes and Persians invade and Belshazzar is killed.
Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales ~Isaiah 40:15
Into the darkness of the Babylonians, beams of light illuminate the path of Daniel and we can learn a lot from him here.
Faith Illuminates Our Character (Daniel 5:11–17). He was a consecrated man (v. 11). The spirit of “holy gods” was in him. That’s the pagan way of noticing the work of God in Daniel’s life. He was an understanding man (v. 12). Filled with God’s Spirit, Daniel understood spiritual things. He was a separated man (v. 13). While hundreds of magicians, astrologers, and soothsayers couldn’t help the king, the king saw Daniel as separate from this class of Magi. He was a liberated man (vv. 16, 17). When offered a third of the kingdom, Daniel refused. Material things didn’t bind him! Daniel was an elderly man. How important is it to consistently live for God … what strength belongs to those who hang on to God never giving up!
Faith Illuminates our Response to God’s Word. Mene, Mene, Tekel Parsin
Mene– Our Days are Numbered. You can ignore that. Belshazzard did – he kept on with his party not remembering God. God’s message to him: you have a limited time to live. So do all of us. We can pretend that this life is all that there is and there is no coming judgment. Or you can acknowledge that truth. We are all mortal and there will come a time when we will die. We all should prepare for that. Every day we are getting ready for that last day.
Tekel – Weighed and found wanting. He didn’t measure up to God’s demands for life. We are being weighed against Jesus Christ and in that weigh in we will always come up short, we will always be found wanting. This is why Christ died for our sins … we are powerless to please God without His intervention.
Parsin – Kingdom is divided and given to others. Belshazzar was to lose his kingdom because of his sins. We may not have a kingdom to lose, but whatever we have in this earthly life will do us no good after we die.
Faith illuminates our way to God.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. ~2 Peter 3:9-12
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. ~Colossians 1:13