WEEK 38— THE SCALES OF LIFE
“Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.”
― Thomas Jefferson
Belshazzar, king of Babylon, was having a feast and he commanded to bring the golden cups that were taken from the temple in Jerusalem. He and his nobles drank wine from those cups and praised their gods of silver, iron, brass, wood and stone.
That’s when Belshazzar saw a handwriting on the wall and was very troubled by the sight. He called for the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and soothsayers to be brought in. He promised a great reward to the one who would be able to read and interpret the writing but none of them could do it. The queen reminded king Belshazzar that Daniel was a wise man and had interpreted dreams for Belshazzar’s predecessor, king Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel was brought in before the king. He refused the reward the king offered. Daniel reminded him of king Nebuchadnezzar’s life, how he was filled with pride and lifted himself up against God.
God had to humble him until he realized that the Most High God is in control and he started praising Him and giving Him glory. After rebuking king Belshazzar about not humbling himself, for defying the Lord and not having learned anything from king Nebuchadnezzar’s bad example, Daniel interpreted the handwriting on the wall. The meaning of it was that God had judged the kingdom and found it guilty, that it would be taken from king Belshazzar and divided up. That very night king Belshazzar was killed.
Daniel 5:14 I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee.
1 Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. 2 Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. 3 Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. 4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. 5 In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. 6 Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another. 7 The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom. 8 Then came in all the king’s wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof. 9 Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied. 10 Now the queen by reason of the words of the king and his lords came into the banquet house: and the queen spake and said, O king, live for ever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed: 11 There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers; 12 Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation. 13 Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry? 14 I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee. 15 And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing: 16 And I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom. 17 Then
Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation. 18 O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour: 19 And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down. 20 But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: 21 And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body
was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will. 22 And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; 23 But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified. 24 Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written. 25 And this is the writing that was written, Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. 26 This is the interpretation of the thing: Mene; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. 27 Tekel; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. 28 Peres; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. 29 Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. 30 In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. 31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.
Lord, please help me not to follow in the footsteps of people who do not honor you as the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Help me not to become proud. Keep me humble because I am nothing without you and everything I have is because of you.
All that I am is because of your goodness and mercy. Every gift is from you. Thank you, Lord, for all You’ve done for me.
THOUGHTS…INSIGHT…What is the Lord saying to me?
1. Belshazzar lost his kingdom because of his pride. What makes pride so dangerous?
2. According to verse 12, what kind of spirit was in Daniel? What does it mean to have such a spirit?
3. Daniel was not afraid to stand up for his God in the midst of a very sinful culture. How
should we do this today?
4. Belshazzar was following in his father’s footsteps. Do you think that people today follow after what their parents do? Explain how this can be good or bad.
5. How did Daniel respond to the rewards Belshazzar promised him in verse 16-17?
6. Who gave Nebuchadnezzar a kingdom, and majesty and glory and honor in the first place?
7. Why did Nebuchadnezzar lose his kingdom according to verse 19-20?
8. What are some consequences Christians face today for willfully sinning?
9. How can we be humble on a daily basis?
10. Is there someone in your life who is humble and a good example to you, whom you can model your life after?