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200; Trust: His Word and Work; Daniel 5

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Daniel 5
First day of fall
Not a Text preached often because you read it and say, that’s kind of wild but I don’t know what to do with it!
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.


Daniel 5:1–4 NIV
King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them. While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.
Intro Belshazzar
Partying with a thousand friends.
October 539
Why the party?
Idolatry leads to blasphemy
Dan 5:9
Daniel 5:5–9 NIV
Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking. The king summoned the enchanters, astrologers and diviners. Then he said to these wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around his neck, and he will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.” Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king what it meant. So King Belshazzar became even more terrified and his face grew more pale. His nobles were baffled.
Disembodied hand digging into the plaster.
Brought in everyone he could and made promises. People always turn to some sort of faith. False faith is useless.
Daniel 5:10–16 NIV
The queen, hearing the voices of the king and his nobles, came into the banquet hall. “May the king live forever!” she said. “Don’t be alarmed! Don’t look so pale! There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the time of your father he was found to have insight and intelligence and wisdom like that of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners. He did this because Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar, was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.” 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? I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you and that you have insight, intelligence and outstanding wisdom. 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. 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.”
The Queen Mom comes in unannounced.
Suck it up buttercup
Reminds of Nebuchadnezzar’s interactions with Daniel and YHWH
Notice something incredible here: Belshazzar already knew all this. Do you realize the incredible implications?
August 12, 1944 Joe Kennedy Jr. was to fly a PB-24 Liberator, loaded with high explosives, to an important target in Germany....He knew the truth but it didn’t cause him to act.
Unless you respond to truth, it will do you no good.
He provides a good picture of what is all about.
Daniel is brought in
Notice he insults Daniel. This is a man with a cold heart toward God.
Daniel 5:17–28 NIV
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. “Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. 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. But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. 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. “But you, Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. 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. Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription. “This is the inscription that was written: mene, mene, tekel, parsin “Here is what these words mean: Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
Why is Daniel so nasty? Is it because of the insult, or the mistreatment of God’s stuff? Or, is it because Belshazzar should know better? We can only speculate.
He doesn’t pull punches. Notice the words he uses - you knew, you ignored, you exalted yourself, you desecrated, you committed idolatry, you disregarded. He may have Nebuchadnezzar’s throne, but he does not have his willingness to repent.
He reads the writing. It would have been familiar to an Aramaic reader. Reading it was easy enough. They are monetary weights. Pound, half, and a quarter.
But more importantly, Daniel interprets it.
Your days are numbered
Your life has been placed on a scale. You came up short.
Your kingdom will be divided between the Medes and the Persians.
Then Daniel ends with a very sober reminder of the serious nature of this text.
Daniel 5:30–31 NIV
That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.
Dan 5
That very night Belshazzar went the way of King Saul, Judas Iscariot, and the rich man from .


What do we do this this text? We obviously see, arrogance, blasphemy, idolatry, and God’s judgement. That’s the easy part.
There’s something hidden in plain sight here in the text. We’ve hinted at it
6X we are told Belshazzar is the son of Nebuchadnezzar. Belshazzar was not the son Nebuchadnezzar. Think more along the lines of Nebuchadnezzar formed Belshazzar. It’s like saying Vladimir Lenin was the father of Joseph Stalin.
Here’s why this is so important and something you and I need to hear.
Belshazzar was exposed to the Word of God and the work of God. He didn’t respond to either.
Word of God
truth is important but it’s not simply about knowing truth, it’s about responding to truth.
Ezekiel 11:19–20 NIV
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.
We need to be aware of having the word of God without having the Spirit of God.
How should we then approach reading Scripture?
How should we then approach hearing sermons?
Work of God
Daniel told Belshazzar; you knew all the things God did for your father. But you didn’t pay attention to God’s work.
I mention this because you and I should be cautious to pay attention to the work of God in those who have gone before us.
Too often we are guilty of “chronological snobbery.”
Explain the function of the church in each generation.
Great cloud of witnesses
Daniel closes this passage with a sober reminder.
Daniel 5:30–31 NIV
That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.
Daniel 5:30 NIV
That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain,
Dan 5:
That very night Belshazzar went the way of King Saul, Judas Iscariot, and the rich man from .
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