Read 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 night that the Medo-Persian empire came to defeat and execute Belshazzar, he was celebrating a great feast with a thousand of his lords, and drank wine . . . from the golden vessels that were taken out of the Temple . . . at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes . . . drank from them. . . . and praised the gods of gold and silver (5:1,3-4).
Suddenly the fingers of a man's hand (5:5) appeared and wrote on the wall. Belshazzar 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 this king for perhaps ten years. Daniel boldly proclaimed: You have lifted yourself up against the Lord of Heaven . . . and you 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. . . . Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes. . . . Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel (6:1,3-4). In an effort to destroy him, they said 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 disobedience to the decree would lead to his death, he would pray secretly. He was not asked to worship an idol, only to refrain from public prayers. So why not cooperate?
But, When Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went to his house; and his windows being open 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 a difference to those who already disregard the Word of God and desecrate both the Lord's day and His tithe, misusing them both for self-interest? Although Daniel was an exile in Babylon, his loyalties were with the Kingdom of God. Yes, Daniel ended up in 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). Then king Darius wrote to all . . . nations. . . . I make a decree . . . fear . . . the God of Daniel . . . for He is the living God (Daniel 6:25-26).
Christ Portrayed: By Daniel who had a stone rolled across the mouth of the den of lions and set with the king's seal (Daniel 6:16-17). There was a stone rolled across the mouth of the cave where Jesus was buried and it too was set with an official seal (Matthew 27:63-66). As Daniel came forth unscathed, so Jesus came forth from the dead proclaiming the saving power of God.
Word Studies: 4:11 the sight thereof means its visibility extended; 4:16 seven times means seven years (see 4:32); 5:2 father means grandfather; 5:5 against the candlestick means opposite the lampstand; 5:12 showing of means explanation of.
Government Officials: Rep. Eva Clayton (NC), Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (MO), Rep. Dale Kildee (MI), and Rep. Michael McNulty (NY) · Pray for Don Hanley and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on KBCL-AM, Shreveport, LA · Country: Andorra (66,000) in the eastern Pyrenees between France and Spain · Major languages: Catalan and French · Religious freedom · 94% Roman Catholic; .6% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray that at all times you will find pleasure in what pleases the Lord (Philippians 2:13).
Optional Reading: Revelation 21
Memory Verse for the Week: Daniel 6:25-26