When God’s Word is Revealed
“13 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? 14 I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you and that you have insight, intelligence and outstanding wisdom. 15 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. 16 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.”
17 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.
18 “Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. 19 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. 20 But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. 21 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.
22 “But you, Belshazzar, his son,[q] have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. 23 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. 24 Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.
25 “This is the inscription that was written:
mene, mene, tekel, parsin
26 “Here is what these words mean:
Mene[r]: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
27 Tekel[s]: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
28 Peres[t]: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
29 Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.” Daniel 5:13-29 NIV
Daniel enters the picture here in Daniel 5. The king tries to impress Daniel by offering payment for his services. Daniel is not interested in the clothes, jewelry and power offered by Belshazzar. He tells Belshazzar to keep his gifts and give it to someone else, but still offered to interpret the writing. Daniel was more interested in the things of God than he was interested in the things of men.
The writing on the wall was not written in a foreign language. It was written in Aramaic, which was the language of the land. Everyone in the room could read the words which simply said, “numbered, numbered, weighed, divided.” The problem was not reading the words, but interpreting what these words were referring to. This is what only Daniel could provide.
When God’s Word is revealed…
1 – It challenges us
When Daniel saw the writing on the wall, he began by reminding Belshazzar of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign and pride which ultimately led to his fall. As the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar was likely around to witness his grandfather’s rule and fall. Daniel tells Belshazzar, “You seen Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. You’ve seen how God humbled him. You heard his testimony. You’ve seen how he was made to eat grass like the ox. You had the opportunity to learn from his lessons, but you chose not to. You praised the gods of silver, gold, and bronze instead. You didn’t honor God. You turned away from God and intentionally rejected Him. You needed to learn the hard way. Therefore, God has written this warning against you.
Mene, mene – Numbered, numbered – God had numbered the days of Belshazzar’s reign in Babylon. The picture given here is that of a countdown clock signaling the ending of the Babylonian Empire. When a parent tells their kids something important, we often repeat ourselves for emphasis. This also was written twice for emphasis.
Tekel – Weighed – The text suggests this was a weight or a unit of money, like a shekel. God had placed Belshazzar in the balance as a ruler, but he came up short. God decided the days of his rule was over.
Upharsin – Divided – Babylon would be divided between the Persians and the Medes – the two armies camped outside the city gates as Daniel was speaking.
God’s Word will challenge and push you. It will call you to know Him more deeply. Dig into God’s Word. Ask Him to reveal it to you. If you don’t understand it, ask questions. Read a commentary. His Word may be challenging, but it is good.
2 – It must be applied
Belshazzar heard a piercing and challenging word from God, but he did nothing about it. He chose not to respond to God’s word. Instead, he gave Daniel the payment that was offered, but he made no effort to repent or change as a result of the message. We find no evidence of any repentance from Belshazzar and no concern. His pride, indifference, and
Sometimes we can fall into the trap of hearing piercing and challenging teachings from the word of God and fail to respond to it. We can fall into the trap of Belshazzar when we leave a church service and say, “that was a good message,” but fail to do anything about it. Belshazzar was a hearer of the Word only, and not a doer. I wonder how many well intentioned believers today are hearers of the Word only, and not doers. If you are more of a hearer of God’s Word and less of a doer, be challenged today. Don’t just hear the Word of God… respond to it. Apply it in your life. Don’t let the Bible be a good message. Let it be a mind altering, life-transforming message that rocks you to your very core. When God’s Word is revealed, don’t be a hearer only. Be a doer.
Heavenly Father forgive me for the times that I have been complacent about Your Word and have not taken action to my faith. May my heart be transformed to be more interested in the things of God and less interested in the things of man. Give me the spirit of Daniel, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Ty Tamasaka is an author who hold a Master of Arts Degree from Pacific Rim Christian University in Christian Ministry He is a Bible teacher who loves to encourage people to enjoy Jesus’ grace and extend His Kingdom. Ty just released his new book More than a Conqueror: 5 Pathways to Personal Revival.