"God's Word is Living & Active!" ~ Hebrews 4:12
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Old Testament – Daniel chapter 5 is the famous “the writing is on the wall” chapter! It is not a good sign to see writing appear on the wall in this way… This chapter is of huge importance to the Babylonian dynasty – because this chapter is the very last day of Babylon the empire. The next day everything goes to the Persians & Medes and Cyrus will be taking over the roost. Daniel chapter 5 verse 1 starts us out today with: “A number of years later..” This chapter takes place in 539 B.C., whereas chapter 4 with Nebuchadnezzar took place before his death in 562 B.C. So, at least 23 years have past between chapter 4 & 5 – and several leaders of Babylon have passed by, leaving Belshazzar, who has 1 day more…
Verses 1 through 4 in the chapter unfortunately describe an orgy taking place, utilizing gold and silver cups taken from the Temple in Jerusalem decades earlier by Nebuchadnezzar. Unwisely, Belshazzar and the crew toast false idols with these sacred cups of God – at which point immediately the hand begins writing on the wall, and verse 6 tells us this about Belshazzar – “Such terror gripped him that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way beneath him.” Think he had reason to be scared like this? Why?
As Daniel is called in to interpret the writing, verse 17 stands out as Daniel tells Belshazzar: “Keep your gifts or give them to someone else, but I will tell you what the writing means.” Daniel is obviously quite bold and dismissive of Belshazzar here – he does not defer to Belshazzar being the king, and the seemingly right thing to do would be to immediately say you’d appreciate the gifts. Daniel simply says – keep ’em! (though, later he’s still bestowed with them) Bold… A righteous boldness, yes? Plus, you’ve got to think that Daniel’s seen a lot in Babylon in his time and he’s ready to cut to the chase and just interpret the writing. He doesn’t need earthly gifts or honor…
Before interpreting the dream Daniel gives Belshazzar an old fashioned lecture which culminates in verse 22 as he speaks of Nebuchadnezzar being humbled by God: “”You are his successor, O Belshazzar, and you knew all this, yet you have not humbled yourself.” Basically, Daniel is saying – you should have known better. You knew better. You saw Nebuchadnezzar’s mistakes. You did not learn.
Verse 27 is worth reflecting upon! “You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.” (NIV). Very interesting to think about a godly scale. A scale that maybe looks at how we invest our time, money, love, life, worship? Are we investing in things that are eternal? Obviously, through the opening verses Belshazzar was simply investing his life into himself, his lusts and his desires. And hence, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN was written on the wall… Pretty amazing to think that the great kingdom of Babylon went down like this in one chapter… God clearly is a kingdom-maker and a kingdom-taker!
New Testament – Second Peter chapter 2 is a strong one that looks at the danger of false teachers – both in the Old Testament times through false prophets and also in the early church during the 1st century. I have to confess that as I read this chapter I think of some current books and movies and teachers in our modern world that I am afraid apply to the warnings of this chapter.
Verses 2 & 3 warn us that: “Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of them, Christ and his true way will be slandered. In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money.” Commentaries suggest that at the time Peter wrote this letter the shameful immorality was primarily sexual sin.
Verse 19 warns again: “They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves to sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you.”
Please please be watchful of wolves in sheep’s clothing. The Enemy comes in sheep’s clothing to lie, steal, and kill. The lies may be attractive on the surface, but the core of the lie is deadly to you. Please cling to Jesus and God’s Word, the Holy Bible, above all else
Psalms – Psalm 119 verse 114 is beautiful a beautiful reflection on our relationship with God and his Word, the Bible – “You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my only source of hope.” This ties in so well with the reflections on false teachers above. The Bible is clearly a refuge and shield from false teaching! And remember, Jesus is the very Word made flesh, so Jesus would clearly be your only source of hope too, if the Word truly is. Let us take refuge in God’s Word each day of our lives!
Verse 127 today is powerful – “Truly, I love your commands more than gold, even the finest gold.” I think this is something each of us needs to ask ourselves. This is an important decision to make… I pray we realize the eternal worth of God’s commands compared to the passing and transitory nature of “even the finest gold.” Let us always remember the great peril of ignoring God’s Word and instead chasing after the world’s “fool’s gold…”
Proverbs – Proverbs 28 verse 19 tells us: “Hard workers have plenty of food; playing around brings poverty.” This is a great reminder to not “chase after fantasies” or “chase the wind”, but to simply work hard for our employers and earn an honest wage each day! Verse 20 reminds us to be trustworthy in our work: “The trustworthy will get a rich reward. But the person who wants to get rich quick will only get into trouble.”
lease join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.” 2 Peter 2:1 (NIV)
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