1 John 2:15-17, 2 Corinthians 6:1-2, Belshazzar's Banquet, Daniel 5:1-31, Genesis 6:3, Genesis 6:7-8, God Is King, God's Judgment, Hebrews 3;15, Mark 7:21-23, Presuming on God
Bible Ballistics: Vol. 16 No. 22 Too Late To Call???
As we continue our study of Daniel and his friends—men of character—we’ll look at Daniel chapter 5 from a perspective that you might not have considered. I want to preface our study with some of my thoughts for you to consider as we delve into a new chapter and a new king. A new king with a different perspective from Daniel, as well as a perspective that I think is urgent to share in our current circumstances.
We need to understand that while God is a God of mercy and grace, there is a time when God will not hear or respond to the call of men! We can go too far, we can reject God too long, we can go beyond rescue! Noah saw this in his day, and I believe it is imminent in ours!
“And the LORD said,
My spirit shall not always strive
for that he also is flesh:
yet his days shall be
an hundred and twenty years.” Genesis 6:3
God was grieved with the way that men had chosen sin and self over their Creator! We need to understand that this was a specific judgment on mankind of the hour, yet even with the impending judgment, God provided grace for one man who was willing to respond in faith and obedience.
“And the LORD said,
I will destroy man
whom I have created
from the face of the earth;
and the creeping thing,
and the fowls of the air;
for it repenteth me that I have made them.
8 But Noah found grace
in the eyes of the LORD.” Genesis 6:7-8
Why Noah? Because he had faith—and his faith was seen in his obedience. Other scriptures confirm this for us.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him:
for he that cometh to God
must believe that he is,
and that he is a rewarder
of them that diligently seek him.
7 By faith Noah,
being warned of God
of things not seen as yet,
moved with fear,
prepared an ark
to the saving of his house;
by the which he condemned the world,
and became heir of the righteousness
which is by faith.” Hebrews 11:6-7
Noah became an heir of “the righteousness which is by faith”, and we can too! The righteousness that Jesus has provided by HIS blood for all who will come to HIM in repentance and faith in His substitutionary (in my place), atoning (paying a rightful debt), sacrifice (dying in my place that I could live by HIS blood!) for “my” sin.
that God was in Christ,
reconciling the world
not imputing their trespasses
and hath committed unto us
the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ,
as though God did beseech you by us:
we pray you
in Christ’s stead,
be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin
who knew no sin;
that we might be made
the righteousness of God
in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:19-21
I truly believe that the time is coming when God will bring things to a close—HIS closing scene in the events of this earth. Paul warned us that in the coming of that time there will be those who will reap the consequence of their rejection of God’s salvation by grace. Those who will have, if you would, “sinned away their day of grace”! They will be condemned by their own choice, to believe the lies of the enemy who will step up to lead the world in that time.
“For the mystery of iniquity
doth already work:
only he who now letteth
until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed,
whom the Lord shall consume
with the spirit of his mouth,
and shall destroy
with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him,
whose coming is after the working of Satan
with all power
and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness
in them that perish;
because they received not
the love of the truth,
that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause
God shall send them strong delusion,
that they should believe a lie:
12 That they all might be damned
who believed not the truth,
but had pleasure
in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12
Without taking the time to go into details of this passage, I want us to notice the cause of judgment in verse 12: “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness”! Much like what Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3, referring to Himself.
“He that believeth on him
is not condemned:
but he that believeth not
is condemned already,
because he hath not believed
in the name of the only begotten
Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation,
that light is come into the world,
and men loved darkness
rather than light,
because their deeds were evil.” John 3:18-19
What does all this have to do with Daniel chapter 5? Good question! We see a new king, who had a worse problem than his grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar, who repented and acknowledged God, after suffering the judgment of God Almighty. Yet, according to Daniel (who has been a palace official for almost 70 years) Belshazzar saw and knew this experience of Nebuchadnezzar and refused to learn from it, or to change his ways. Let’s take a look; but first let’s lay a little background. Belshazzar is holed up within the walls of Babylon (walls that could hold several chariots riding abreast across the top) throwing a party to boost the morale of his leaders because the armies of Medo-Persia are outside of the gates ready to lay siege to the city. In fact, it is said that Belshazzar was so confident in his resources for he knew he could supply their needs for up to two years! But notice what he does at this banquet/party!
“Belshazzar the king made a great feast
to a thousand of his lords,
and drank wine before the thousand.
2 Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine,
commanded to bring
and silver vessels
which his father Nebuchadnezzar
had taken out of the temple
which was in Jerusalem;
that the king,
and his princes,
and his concubines,
might drink therein.
3 Then they brought the golden vessels
that were taken out of the temple
of the house of God
which was at Jerusalem;
and the king,
and his princes,
and his concubines,
drank in them.
4 They drank wine,
and praised the gods
and of silver,
and of stone.” Daniel 5:1-4
Did you get it? They took the vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the Temple of God in Jerusalem, to not only use at their party, but to use to praise their own idols and exalt them—rejecting and blaspheming the God to whom the vessels belonged! Guess what? God seems to say, “enough is enough”; let’s just see who is in charge!
“In the same hour
came forth fingers of a man’s hand,
and wrote over against the candlestick
upon the plaister of the wall
of the king’s palace:
and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.
6 Then the king’s countenance was changed,
and his thoughts troubled him,
so that the joints of his loins
and his knees
smote one against another.” Daniel 5:5-6
Needless to say, the king had a change of demeanor! And without listing all of the verses in between, Belshazzar called for those good ole’ “wise men” to read the writing. But none of them could, yet God had a message and through the advice of his grandmother, he sent for Daniel. Now remember Daniel is somewhere around 80+ years old and has apparently been out of active service for a time, but he was still a “civil servant” in the palace. So, Daniel comes in and his demeanor was somewhat different than we saw in him under Nebuchadnezzar. There was not the respect that he had for Nebuchadnezzar, but an honest and blunt response to this man of arrogance and disregard of the truth he knew about Daniel’s God. He has gone too far with his arrogance against God. God has a lot to say about pride and arrogance (virtual synonyms).
“These six things doth the LORD hate:
yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
17 A proud
that shed innocent blood,
18 An heart that deviseth
feet that be swift
in running to mischief,
19 A false witness
that speaketh lies,
and he that soweth discord
among brethren.” Proverbs 6:16-19
And Jesus own message:
“For from within,
out of the heart of men,
proceed evil thoughts,
an evil eye,
23 All these evil things
come from within,
and defile the man.” Mark 7:21-23
The Apostle John also said it clearly:
“Love not the world,
neither the things that are in the world.
If any man love the world,
the love of the Father
is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world,
the lust of the flesh,
and the lust of the eyes,
and the pride of life,
is not of the Father,
but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away,
and the lust thereof:
but he that doeth the will of God
abideth for ever.” 1 John 2:15-17
So, let’s see what God had to say to Belshazzar through our friend Daniel, and remember that “father” is used for any male ancestor, so Belshazzar is referring to his ‘grand’ father not his male parent.
“Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel,
Art thou that Daniel,
which art of the children
of the captivity of Judah,
whom the king my father
brought out of Jewry?
14 I have even heard of thee,
that the spirit of the gods is in thee,
and that light
and excellent wisdom
is found in thee…
… 16 And I have heard of thee,
that thou canst make interpretations,
and dissolve doubts:
now if thou canst read the writing,
and make known to me the interpretation thereof,
thou shalt be clothed with scarlet,
and have a chain of gold about thy neck,
and shalt be the third ruler
in the kingdom.” Daniel 5:13-14 & 16
The king who had gone from stiff-necked to “knocking knees” is ready for an answer and will reward Daniel for his service, but let’s consider Daniel’s response, and take it to heart. Have you been like one of Paul’s listeners, and put off responding to God, claiming “almost thou persuades me”, or will you bend your knee and your heart before God? Don’t wait too long. There will be a time when it’s too late to call! Don’t be like Belshazzar!
“Then Daniel answered and said before the king,
Let thy gifts be to thyself,
and give thy rewards to another;
yet I will read the writing unto the king,
and make known to him the interpretation.
18 O thou king,
the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar
thy father a kingdom,
19 And for the majesty that he gave him,
all people, nations, and languages,
trembled and feared before him:
whom he would he slew;
and whom he would he kept alive;
and whom he would he set up;
and whom he would he put down.
20 But when his heart was lifted up,
and his mind hardened in pride,
he was deposed from his kingly throne,
and they took his glory from him:
21 And he was driven from
the sons of men;
and his heart was made
like the beasts,
and his dwelling was with
the wild asses:
they fed him
with grass like oxen,
and his body
was wet with the dew of heaven;
till he knew
that the most high God
ruled in the kingdom of men,
and that he appointeth over it
whomsoever he will.
22 And thou his son,
hast not humbled thine heart,
though thou knewest all this;” Daniel 5:17-22
But Daniel wasn’t finished, his message of judgment was a hard one, and he gave no quarter to this arrogant king who refused to repent or respond to God in faith or regard. The message was final—take note of verses 30-31!
“But hast lifted up thyself
against the Lord of heaven;
and they have brought the vessels
of his house before thee,
and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines,
have drunk wine in them;
and thou hast praised the gods
of silver, and gold, of brass, iron,
wood, and stone,
which see not,
and the God in whose hand thy breath is,
and whose are all thy ways,
hast thou not glorified:
24 Then was the part of the hand sent from him;
and this writing was written.
25 And this is the writing that was written,
MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
26 This is the interpretation of the thing:
MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom,
and finished it.
27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances,
and art found wanting.
28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided,
and given to the Medes and Persians.” Daniel 5:23-28
Please open your heart to the voice of God—it won’t call forever. Today IS the day of salvation—not tomorrow.
“In that night was Belshazzar
the king of the Chaldeans slain.
31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom,
being about threescore and two years old.” Daniel 5:30-31
“While it is said,
To day if ye will hear his voice,
harden not your hearts,
as in the provocation.” Hebrews 3:15
“We then, as workers together with him,
beseech you also that ye receive not
the grace of God in vain.
2 (For he saith,
I have heard thee
in a time accepted,
and in the day of salvation
have I succoured thee:
now is the accepted time;
now is the day of salvation.)”. 2 Corinthians 6:1-2
Maybe Medo-Persia isn’t knocking at your door, but God’s judgment is at hand. Are you ready? How will you fare when it’s your turn to be “weighed in the balances”? How sad to really come a day too late!
Be blessed and be prepared! Don’t be a “day late”!
Amen and Amen!!!