Daniel 5:13-31 – January 12
Who’s really in charge of your 2017? To start us out in our right place this new year, we’re walking with Daniel this month, learning how God crafts every detail in His plan from creation of the world and history to the smallest details in our lives. He reigns over everything, and still He loves us through every moment of our lives. Join our study by following along with the reading plan then reflecting and journaling on each day’s reading to humble yourself before Him and listen. Below is the NIV version of today’s reading followed by a SOAP journal note from one of our study leaders. If you’re wondering what SOAP is…it’s a method of Bible study that focuses on applying scripture to our every days. Read more about it on our website.
Daniel 5:13-31 – The Writing on the Wall
13 So Daniel was brought before the king, and the king said to him, “Are you Daniel, one of the exiles my father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you and that you have insight, intelligence and outstanding wisdom. 15 The wise men and enchanters were brought before me to read this writing and tell me what it means, but they could not explain it. 16 Now I have heard that you are able to give interpretations and to solve difficult problems. If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”
17 Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.
18 “Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. 19 Because of the high position he gave him, all the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled. 20 But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. 21 He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes.
22 “But you, Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. 23 Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. 24 Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.
25 “This is the inscription that was written: mene, mene, tekel, parsin
26 “Here is what these words mean:
Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
27 Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
28 Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
29 Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.
30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, 31 and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.
God’s Hand | Becky Newman
King Belshazzar, likely the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, is now ruling Babylon…without God. In yesterday’s reading, a magic hand appeared and wrote a cryptic message on the wall during the king’s big party. Today’s reading is Daniel’s interpretation of the writing on the wall. For this message, Daniel again humbles himself before the king before delivering the bad news. Despite it being bad news, Daniel delivers the Truth, with the king’s spiritual lifestyle summarized in verse 23 and the consequence of such in verse 26. The king did not learn from his grandpa’s mistakes, and his heart was so hard that his consequence was immediate. God knew his heart wasn’t changing, even the hand of God appearing and writing a message to him wasn’t changing his heart, so Belshazzar died that very night while Babylon fell to the Persians. The consequence of not recognizing God’s hand in our lives is revealed in the message written by the hand of God on the wall. The three words used are mene, tekel, and peres which are the roots of the Aramaic verbs to number, to weigh, and to divide. If your days are numbered, that means no eternity for you. Weighing refers to God’s judgment on our lives and what we did with our time in this world. Then, God’s hand divides the people, mixes it all up, giving them another chance to acknowledge God’s hand in our world and worship Him only.
This story is likely where the saying “you’re so blind you can’t see the writing on the wall” comes from. Belshezzar saw the writing, but he certainly didn’t get it. The hand of God appearing and writing a message on the wall is equivalent to a neon-sign flashing an arrow showing the Way, something I’ve prayed for before and I’ve heard others pray too. But it seems that if God has to do something like this to get my attention, it’s already too late. I journaled on this verse once already, but after reading Rebecca’s post yesterday and contemplating the reading more, this one’s a re-do. I may not get flashing neon signs, which may be a good thing after seeing the consequences Belshezzar faced, but God gives me plenty of opportunities to see His hand at work. Seeing God’s hand at work in the world and acknowledging it seems to be a key to abiding inbetween the moments of prayer, spending time in Your Word and at Your feet, and worship. In those moments that are even too normal to write about, I can look for and see Your hand at work and acknowledge You.
Lord, You hold my life and my ways in Your hand, and I trust You with it all. Open my eyes to see Your hand at work more and more, and may I acknowledge You more in it and to others.
The Discover One Thing main website follows a reading plan that goes through the entire Bible in one year. Click HERE to check out today’s Discover One Thing post.