Daniel 5:1-31 ~ 2 Peter 2:1-22 ~ Psalm 119:113-128 ~ Proverbs 28:19-20
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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... What about us in our lives today? Do we seek earthly gifts and honor for ourselves? Should we? Can we learn from Daniel's boldness and focus on what truly matters in this life? (note that an older Daniel is in the middle of this image below from the 1816 John Brown Bible, with a strange looking Belshazzar sitting to the right)
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. Are we like this sometimes in our lives today? Shouldn't we know better...? Below is an artist's take on Belshazzar's final feast -
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. Do you believe that there are false teachers also in our world today? Teachers that distort the Gospel message? Teachers that steer people away from Truth and into Darkness? Teachers that are in it for the money?
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. The false teachers were allowing / encouraging people to basically do what they want sexually. They taught that there is no theological or spiritual or personal damage that will come with sexual do-whatever-you-wantness... (okay, that's not in the Bible - I made that up). Do we see this type of teaching today? Is this type of teaching true? Is it false? Is it shameful? Do you believe that sex can be damaging to you outside of the proper context of marriage? 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." What controls you? Is it purely love for God and his ways, which is great. Or is it something else...? Something that is dangerous and leads down a slippery slope... ? Will you instead pursue God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the True Freedom that only They can give 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! Is God's Word your only source of hope? 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. Do we love God's commands - his Word - the Bible - more than we love any and all material possessions? Do we value the Bible above all the money this world could ever offer us? 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." How is your work ethic these days? Are you working hard for your employer? Are you trustworthy on the job? Do you think that God pays attention to these things in your life? Let us not be lazy on the job!
Worship Video: Today's readings remind me of Rebecca St. James’ song "Kingdom Come:"
Do you want God's Kingdom to Come? Click here for His Kingdom Come!
Please 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)
Prayer Point: Pray that you are not deceived by a false teacher. Pray that you will never fall prey to destructive heresies. Pray that you will never deny the Lord.
Comments from you - What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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The following verses caught my eye and attention,
But when his heart was lifted up and his mind and spirit were hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was deposed from his kingly throne and his glory was taken from him; He was driven from among men, and his heart or mind was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses. He was fed with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of the heavens until he learned and knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men and that He appoints and sets over it whomever He will. And you his son, O Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart and mind, though you knew all this [knew it and were defiant]. (Daniel 5:20-22 AMP)
We are always held accountable for the information we have even if we want to pass the buck and say, “I didn’t know.” That is a sobering thought. Daily we come to this site and read what is available to us. Some may only read Mike’s comments and not click on the passages for the day but we still will be held accountable for the Words that elicited those comments. Cleary Belshazzar had access to the same information his predecessor even if not by personal experience What God, the true God, had done before was clearly seen. His works could not be confused with the works of the gods of Babylon except if one chose to attribute them to these gods. We serve our choices.
Interesting in the Daniel passage we see the consequences of today’s goings on in the 2nd Peter passage.
2 Peter 2:1-22
But false prophets arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. These false teachers will infiltrate your midst with destructive heresies, even to the point of denying the Master who bought them. As a result, they will bring swift destruction on themselves. And many will follow their debauched lifestyles. Because of these false teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. And in their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words. Their condemnation pronounced long ago is not sitting idly by; their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:1-3 NET.)
Having information about God and choosing to ignore the truth and believe the false is deadly. If we say we were only following the prophet/teacher we are giving reasons for our disobedience but not excuses God will accept.
That night, under cover of darkness, their friends got Paul and Silas out of town as fast as they could. They sent them to Berea, where they again met with the Jewish community. They were treated a lot better there than in Thessalonica. The Jews received Paul's message with enthusiasm and met with him daily, examining the Scriptures to see if they supported what he said. (Acts 17:10-11 MSG)
The countering of false prophets/teachers is studying what is Written. Our study should not only be to see if the quote is correct (the devil correctly quoted the scriptures to Jesus) but to see the context of the quote and its application. However, once we have the information we must use it or else we are in BIG TROUBLE.
For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through [the full, personal] knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they again become entangled in them and are overcome, their last condition is worse [for them] than the first. For never to have obtained a [full, personal] knowledge of the way of righteousness would have been better for them than, having obtained [such knowledge], to turn back from the holy commandment which was [verbally] delivered to them.
(2 Peter 2:20-21 AMP)
You are my refuge and my shield;
your word is my only source of hope.
Get out of my life, you evil-minded people,
for I intend to obey the commands of my God.
God’s Word is our only source of hope. That is a sobering thought for me. When “stuff” comes my way the tendency is to call up folks on my frequently call list instead of calling up God. Yet the writer says the God is his only source of hope and it is “evil-minded” people who try to steer us toward something other than the commands of God. Clearly WWJD is something to think about when I am in my “stuff.”
The nineteenth verse is intriguing, especially when read from the King James version.
He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough. (Proverbs 28:19 KJV)
If we “followeth after vain persons,” then we are following after someone else’s dreams and visions, we are working someone else’s’ land.
My question is, “How do we get people to find out where the boundaries of their “land” is and how do we encourage them to work it?” This verse has really caught my imagination.
Grace and peace,
Posted by: Ramona | November 27, 2021 at 09:47 PM