Not Getting It
Repetition. As I’ve often stressed, good teachers know that if you want your students to get it, you have to repeat it. Parents know this too, and if you haven’t noticed, it’s obvious that the writer of the Book of Daniel likes to repeat himself. Whether it’s the list of elite counselors who are called in to try and solve the Babylonian king’s conundrums, the list of Babylonian governing officials who gather to worship Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image, or even the list of the musical instruments used to signal for the crowd to bow down, we get repetition.
Now it’s one thing to repeat a list of instruments, it’s another thing to repeat what happened to King Nebuchadnezzar when he arrogantly exalted himself. And this is exactly what Daniel did when Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar’s blood relative, called him in to read and interpret the writing on the wall.
“Then Daniel responded and said before the king, ‘Your gifts you can keep for yourself, your rewards you can give to another, but I will read the writing for the king and I will make known the interpretation. O king, the Most High God gave sovereignty, greatness, honor, and majesty to Nebuchadnezzar, your father. Because of the greatness that God gave him all the peoples, nations, and tongues trembled and shook with fear before him. Those he desired to let live, lived. Those he desired dead, he killed. Those he desired to raise up were exalted, and those he desired to humble, were humbled. But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened to act presumptuously, he was deposed from the throne of his kingdom and his honor was taken from him. He was driven away from the children of men, his heart became like the beasts and he lived with the wild donkeys. He ate grass like oxen and the dew from the sky drenched him until he acknowledged that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whomever he desires to lift up.
Now you, his son, Belshazzar, did not humble your heart though you knew all this, but you exalted yourself against the Lord of Heaven and the vessels of his house you have brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines have drunk wine from them to the gods of silver and praised the gods of gold, bronze, wood, and stone that do not see, hear, or understand. But the God in whose hand is your very breath, your life steps, you didn’t glorify.” Daniel 5:17-24
Belshazzar didn’t learn from the powerful example of his grandfather whose pride led to your judgment, but then, Nebuchadnezzar’s repentance and restoration. Help me to always remember that my very breath is totally a gift of mercy and grace from you today. With that kind of total dependence upon God how insane to think that a wild party with wine, women, and reveling in the worship of things, can keep death at bay.
LORD, protect me from the stupid arrogance that permeated Belshazzar’s life. Help me to be humble before you, acknowledging that all that I am or ever hope to be, I owe it all to you. To God be the glory!
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