~ Week Five ~
July 7, 2020
Daniel ~ Chapter Five
"MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
This is the interpretation of each word.
MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it;
TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting;
PERES: Your kingdom has been divided,
and given to the Medes and Persians."
Read Daniel 5:1-12
For many years, King Nebuchadnezzar was the privileged occupant of a front row seat to an extraordinary display of power from the sovereign hand of God Most High in the affairs of individuals and nations. He had personally received from the hand of God
"a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor"
(Daniel 5:18). Tragically, however,
"...when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him...till he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses"
(vv. 20, 21b). The Lord gave the arrogant usurper of His throne an entire year to repent of his pride. For
"The Lord is not slack concerning His promises, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance"
(2 Peter 3:9). But even with Daniel's urging, Nebuchadnezzar refused to yield; so the proud tyrant was transformed outwardly into the brute beast that reigned within his heart. For seven years, the king lived in the valley of humiliation grazing among the grass with the other beasts of the field, until he learned the all-important lesson the Lord desires for all men to learn:
"That they may know that You, whose name alone is the LORD, are the Most High over all the earth"
(Psalm 83:18). Nebuchadnezzar learned God's lesson in divine sovereignty the hard way, but he was finally delivered from living like a beast, returned to his right mind, and lived more like a man than he ever had before, with a renewed heart and a new lease on life, giving praise and honor to the King of heaven.
Sadly, Belshazzar ignored the history lessons of the Babylonian Empire and forgot the words of Nebuchadnezzar, who had issued a decree calling for the people to give respect to the God of the Jews.
"Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this"
(3:29). Belshazzar was an irresponsible monarch who arrogantly proclaimed a season of feasting while the enemy lay at the gate of his kingdom waiting to invade. Aware of their presence, yet disdaining the danger, Belshazzar led his people into reckless defiance of the God of Israel.
"For the wicked boasts of his heart's desire; he blesses the greedy and renounces the LORD. The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts...He has said in his heart, "I shall not be moved; I shall never be in adversity
" (Psalm 10:3-4, 6). Undeterred by the enemy at the gate, Belshazzar called for the sacred vessels that had been taken from the house of God in Jerusalem, and proceeded to use them in a blatant blasphemous act of sacrilege.
"Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone"
"In the same hour the fingers of a man's hand appeared
and wrote opposite the lampstand
on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace;
and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote."
The hand of the enemy on the door handle of the city was not enough to move the careless king to cease from his feasting and proclaim a fast, so the Lord bypassed the fortified walls and delivered him a personalized message engraved by the finger of God on the palace walls.
"Then the king's countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other"
(v. 6). The hour of judgment had come, but there was no need for a vast army with their swords drawn, for all that was required to bring forth Heaven's verdict upon the king was the sword of the Spirit.
"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account"
(Hebrews 4:12-13). Notably shaken, the troubled king called for all the wise men to come and interpret the message, but none could, except the one who was skilled in the Scriptures, Daniel; only he could interpret what God was saying and explain the will of God in the matter.
"There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him..."
(Daniel 5:11a). All the power, authority, wealth, and worldly wisdom of his kingdom could not afford the king the answer he desperately wanted to hear. His counselors were powerless, lacking necessary divine inspiration needed to interpret the handwriting on the wall. But Daniel had something in him more than human, by which he was enabled to unravel the mysteries of dreams and visions.
"Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel...now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation"
(v. 12). Let us praise our Father in heaven for the gift of the divine light of Scripture, which exposes man's ignorance, provides believer's with the key to deciphering the difficult problems in this life, and enables us to unlock the door of understanding to others who are seeking the mind and will of God.
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path"
(Psalm 119:105). May we be found faithful in handling the holy things of God with care and seriousness, and not neglect or trifle with God's Holy Word.
"Therefore I also,
after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus
and your love for all the saints,
do not cease to give thanks for you,
making mention of you in my prayers:
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of glory,
may give to you the spirit of wisdom
and revelation in the knowledge of Him,
the eyes of your understanding being enlightened;
that you may know what is the hope of His calling,
what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance
in the saints..."
: Read Daniel 5:13-31
Daniel was about eighty-two years old when he was summoned by the foolish king, who, up to this point in his reign, had no need for the wise old sage's counsel. Sadly, it was too little, too late.
"The king spoke, and said to Daniel, "Are you that Daniel who is one of the captives from Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah? I have heard of you, that the Spirit of God is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you
" (vv. 13b, 14). Daniel, though late in years, performed the duty for which God had sent him to Babylon - to interpret the things which God wanted the king to know. Daniel was not motivated by money or reward; he had no interest in wealth or political power.
"Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another; yet I will read the writing to the king, and make known to him the interpretation"
(v. 17). Daniel's concern was for those entrusted to him to live according to God's Word. He began by giving Belshazzar a history lesson and reminding him of the sins which Nebuchadnezzar had been guilty of, and the judgments that God brought upon him for his pride. Then Daniel presented the charges that the Lord had brought against the king himself. Belshazzar was found guilty of blasphemy and idolatry. He desecrated the sacred vessels from God's sanctuary, and praised idols rather than worshiping God.
"But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this. And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven..."
(vv. 22, 23a).
"...and the God who holds your breath in His hand
and owns all your ways, you have not glorified."
The handwriting was on the wall and Daniel was able to interpret its meaning for the king.
"And this is the inscription that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN"
(v. 25). God had numbered the days of Belshazzar's kingdom and its time was up; God had weighed Belshazzar in the balances and found he didn't measure up to His standard of righteousness; and Babylon would soon be divided among the Medes and Persians. In fact, the armies were waiting at the gates that very night. Nebuchadnezzar had been give a year to repent, but Belshazzar was given no such grace period. Belshazzar's stubborn rejection of God was met with a swift and final judgment.
"He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy"
(Proverbs 29:1). That very night, Belshazzar was slain, and Darius the Mede received the kingdom (Daniel 5:30, 31). The head of gold from Nebuchadnezzar's dream in chapter 2 was finally cut off, and the second kingdom - "the chest and arms of silver," representing the Medo-Persian Empire - rose to power. The succession of kingdoms continued; and although ancient Babylon is no more,
"Mystery, Babylon the Great"
is still a part of future prophecy (Revelation 17:5). Ancient Babylon was founded by Nimrod, who rebelled against God (Genesis 10:8-10). The city, Babel, was the site of ancient paganism; it was there that the Lord
"confused the language of all the earth"
(Genesis 11:9). Throughout the Scriptures, Babylon serves as a name and symbol for activities directed against God (i.e. spiritual adultery and evil acts), and the world in rebellion against God. In the end times, "mystery Babylon" will arise as the satanic system that seduces the people of earth to reject God; and out of it the Antichrist will rise to power, but his kingdom will be destroyed by Jesus Christ when He returns to reign (Revelation 19:11-21). All around us are people seeking to rewrite history, while others would just as soon forget the painful past and rid every symbolic reminder from the landscape. But Daniel has shown us the deadly consequences of a younger generation that focuses only on themselves and the present, and fails to review the past - they are destined to repeat it! May we remain diligent students of the Scriptures and faithful pupils in the Lord's school of prayer as we pray for the present generation to come to the knowledge of the truth of God and live according to His Word.
"Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek Your name, O LORD. Let them be confounded and dismayed forever; yes, let them be put to shame and perish, that they may know that You, whose name alone is the LORD, are the Most High over all the earth"
"After these things I heard a loud voice
of a great multitude in heaven, saying,
"Alleluia! Salvation and glory
and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!
For true and righteous are His judgments,
because He has judged the great harlot
who corrupted the earth with her fornication;
and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her...
Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!
Let us be glad and give Him glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and His wife has made herself ready."
(Revelation 19:1-2, 6b, 7)
"Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times a day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days."
Just click or tap the You Tube image below
As we travel through the Book of Daniel
we want to focus on following the example of his faith,
but as we do, let us prayerfully consider setting aside
Tuesdays as "fast" days,
as we feast upon the goodness and grace of our Lord this summer
(consider a full day fast, a partial fast, or a Daniel fast (1:12))
Scripture Meditations for the Week:
1 Thessalonians 5:3-8
Memory Verse for the Week:
"But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart,
although you knew all this.
And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven.
They have brought the vessels of His house before you,
and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines,
have drunk wine from them.
And you have praised the gods of silver and gold,
bronze and iron, wood and stone,
which do not see or hear or know;
and the God who holds your breath in His hand
and owns all your ways, you have not glorified."
Read about 2020 The Year of Divine Government
A Proclamation of Prayer for the Pandemic
(with links to the YouTube ANOINTING prayers through the Psalms)
to provide peace and to encourage faith in times of crisis
when fear, doubt, and uncertainty try to rob us of our joy!
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"Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
and your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
and let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me, hear, and your soul shall live."
(Isaiah 55:2, 3a)
TESTIFY to the gospel of the grace of God
a 12-week devotional prayer and fasting journey through the Book of Daniel
copyright (c) 2020 Traci A. Alexander. All Rights Reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright (c) 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc., and the Holy Bible, New International Version, copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.
But none of these things move me;
nor do I count my life dear to myself,
so that I may finish my race with joy,
and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus,
to testify to the gospel of the grace of God"