Daniel 4 -- 6
Belshazzar was the last king to rule Babylon; he reigned near the end of the 70-year-long Jewish exile. On the very night that the Medes and the Persians united together to defeat and execute Belshazzar, he was celebrating a great feast with a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand (Daniel 5:1). What made this feast so wicked and detestable was that 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, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them (5:3). As his guests drank, they "praised the gods of gold and silver" (5:4).
Suddenly the fingers of a man's hand (5:5) appeared and wrote on the wall. This proud king panicked and his knees smote one against another (5:6). In fear, he cried out to his astrologers and soothsayers to interpret the message, but they were speechless. Then the queen reminded Belshazzar of the prophet of God who had been a prominent advisor when Nebuchadnezzar ruled: Let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation (5:10-12). In desperation, Belshazzar summoned Daniel, who appears to have been ignored by the king for perhaps ten years or more. Daniel boldly proclaimed to Belshazzar: You have lifted yourself up against the Lord of Heaven . . . and have praised the gods of silver and gold. . . . And the God in whose hand your breath is . . . you have not glorified. . . . This is the interpretation . . . God has numbered (the days of) your kingdom, and finished it (5:23-26).
That night, Darius the Mede took the kingdom (5:31). After some time, it pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 princes, which should be over the whole kingdom . . . Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes. . . . Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel (6:1,3-4). After conspiring together, these men prepared a decree which was a test of Daniel's loyalty to the Lord. Appealing to the king's pride, these 122 men devised a plan to destroy Daniel, saying to the king: We have consulted together to establish a royal statute . . . and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days, except you,O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree . . . that it be not changed (6:7-8).
Daniel could have reasoned that, since the decree might lead to his death and was for a mere 30 days, it would make no real difference if he just prayed secretly. He was not asked to worship an idol, but only to refrain from public prayers for just one month. So why not cooperate?
But Daniel remained faithful, regardless of the circumstances. Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went to his house; and his windows being opened in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did before (6:10). If a similar decree existed today, would it make any difference in the lives of many Christians who already disregard the Word of God, and who desecrate the Lord's day and His tithe by using both for self-interest in either business, or pleasure? Although Daniel was an exile in Babylon, his loyalties were with the Kingdom of God. Yes, Daniel had to face the den of lions, but following that ordeal he could say to the king: My God has sent His angel, and has shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me (6:22). Through Daniel's faithfulness, all doubt was removed from the heathen king that the God of Daniel . . . is the Living God . . . that . . . shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall be even unto the end (Daniel 6:26).
Through the sending of an angel to shut the lions' mouths (Daniel 6:22). The Lord sent an angel to deliver Peter (Acts 12:11).
4:11 the sight thereof means its visibility extended; 4:16 seven times means seven years (see 4:32); 4:37 abase means humble; 5:2 father means grandfather; 5:5 against the candlestick means opposite the lampstand; 5:12 showing of means explanation of; 6:14 sore displeased means deeply distressed.
Government Officials: Rep. Eva Clayton (NC), Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (MO), Rep. Dale Kildee (MI), and Rep. Michael McNulty (NY) · BPM Staff: Rita Guerra · Pray for Shirley Dobson, Chairman, 2000 National Day of Prayer · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast in honor of Pastor Jack Stanley · Country: Congo (2 million) in west-central Africa · Major languages: French and Lingala · Limited religious freedom, but government hostility has lessened · 41% Roman Catholic; 20% fetishism and belief in ancestral spirits; 17% Protestant; 9% cults · Prayer Suggestion: Raise your hands in praise and prayer, and worship the Lord (I Timothy 2:8).
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