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Saturday, September 3, 2016

A Final Party (Daniel 5:1)

 "King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them."

King Belshazzar's final party (though he didn't know it was his last party) was interrupted by God. Like a bucket of cold water sobers a drunk so divine handwriting on the wall got his attention. Daniel was called to interpret the hand writing and the king was informed of immediate judgment.

Daniel reminded King Belshazzar of God's response to Belshazzar's grandfather's foray into pride and subsequent judgment. Like grandfather, like grandson. Belshazzar had not learned from the past. People who party rarely reflect deeply on what has occurred before their time. They only think in the immediate.

The handwriting on the wall informs Belshazzar that life is short, judgment is imminent, and the future is beyond his control. My theologian husband says that the handwriting phrase "weighed on the scales and found wanting" is the same phrase found in Romans 3:23, "for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The phrases "found wanting" and "come short of the glory of God" mean the same. Belshazzar hears the bad news of judgment. He knew the good news of God's grace from His grandfather and, in pride, rejected the good news of God's mercy. Now bad news becomes his reality.

No hand may write on our wall today. No judgment may come at mid-night. But, just because there is no visible hand and no immediate judgment does not mean that we have not been weighed in the balance and found wanting. May we repent before bad news becomes our reality.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Daniel 8:1-27
  • Where does this vision occur?
  • What question do the two holy ones entertain?
  • Describe the activities of the king who will arise from the four kingdoms (The king referred to here is known as Antiochus IV Epiphanes; he came to power in 175 B.C. He attacked and burned Jerusalem killing multitudes in 168 B.C. Antiochus, however is a foreshadow of the Antichrist).
Daniel 5
  • While celebrating his secure position even while his country was under siege by the Persian army Belshazzar throws a party. How does God interrupt his party and what was Daniel's role?
  • How and why does Daniel describe Belshazzar's predecessor to Belshazzar?
  • What was the king's response? What does this tell you about the king?
  • When were the prophetic words fulfilled? What does this tell you about God?
2 Chronicles 36:22-23
  • What is so significant about Cyrus's rule? Review Proverbs 21:1. What does this tell you about God?
Daniel 9
  • How does Daniel know what is taking place and how does he respond to what he knows is happening?
  • Review Deut 28:48-57, 64-68.
  • How many times does Daniel use the word "we" in his prayers? What does this tell you about the role of an intercessor?
  • Upon what does Daniel base his prayer and how does the LORD respond?
  • What six things will the seventy sevens accomplish in Israel (verse 24)?
  • What does the Lord promise regarding the Anointed One?
  • After the Anointed One is cut off what will the ruler and his people do to Israel?
Turning truth into prayer
God always keeps His promises, sometimes immediately but mostly over a long period of time; but He always keeps His promises! Ask the Lord to help you to learn to wait upon Him.