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The Handwriting on the Wall

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Notes & Transcripts
We continue our studies in Daniel as we turn to chapter 5 and invite you to follow along as i read just part of this chapter. These chapters are long and so we will not try to cover too much at one time.
Daniel 5:1–9 ESV
King Belshazzar made a great feast for a thousand of his lords and drank wine in front of the thousand. Belshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought in the golden vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone. Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, opposite the lampstand. And the king saw the hand as it wrote. Then the king’s color changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together. The king called loudly to bring in the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers. The king declared to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and shows me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or make known to the king the interpretation. Then King Belshazzar was greatly alarmed, and his color changed, and his lords were perplexed.
Then the came in and reminded King Belshazzar about Daniel, and HE summoned him, and this is what he said to the king.
Daniel 5:22-31)
Daniel 5:22–31 ESV
And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored. “Then from his presence the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed. And this is the writing that was inscribed: Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin. This is the interpretation of the matter: Mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; Tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” Then Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel was clothed with purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made about him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.
Let us pray:
“Father this is Your word and you know the end from the beginning. We ask You this evening, to teach us what we know not, make us what we are not, and may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight oh God My Lord and my Redeemer, in Jesus Holy name I pray Amen.”
Well as we come to chapter 5 let me say a couple of things by way of introduction. If you come at these chapters failing to realize the purpose of the author, which is to say again and again and again the same thing, THAT GOD IS IN CHARGE OF THE WHOLE UNIVERSE AND YOU CAN TRUST HIM. Then you will fail to realize that here in chapter 5 we are dealing with a different King.
The King Daniel has been dealing with was king Nebuchanezzar he was the King who had several dreams and refused to submit to God as the one and only God of Heaven, and God humbled him and caused him to become a mad man, then God restored Nebuchanezzar and his kingdom.
But now in chapter 5 were dealing with his son, Belshazzar and there is probably a gap between chapter 4 and chapter 5 of some 30 years. It is clear that the author is choosing to take this instance in the life of this king to encourage the readers, in the fact that God is able to do in one moment what men cannot do in ten thousand years on his own.
Here we have King Belshazzar and the judgement of god falls on Belshazzar and that judgment is swift and secure.
In these opening verses what I want you to see is this:

The King does his thing:

Daniel 5:1 ESV
King Belshazzar made a great feast for a thousand of his lords and drank wine in front of the thousand.

So here we have Belshazzar having a great feast and drinking wine in front of the massive crowd which had gathered. This speaks of lewdness and drunkenness these guys werent just sitting around sipping wine coolers, the word used here is the word for “strong drink” that means they were getting hammered.
Drunkenness is a sin before God Himself, and they are not giving God one second thought as they have their drunken feast. Even though it is God who gives them permission to keep breathing.
Psalm 10:4 NKJV
The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.
What we find here is while Belshazzar has this great feast he is essentially showing off. Thiis is why verse 1 says he drank wine “in front of the thousand”
He was making a display.
As he egins to tie one he suggests that the treasury should bring the vessels of gold and silver out of where they have been stored in order for them to use them!
Daniel 5:3 ESV
Then they brought in the golden vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them.
So not only is Belshazzar mocking God with his own life, he takes it up a notch when he sends for these items because, they were stolen from the temple of God Himself, when the Babylonians sieged Jerusalem.
This guy is really pushing it.
God will not be mocked!
Galatians 6:7 ESV
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
People live their lives never thinking of God or what desires from them and then they come in and try to ruin the people of God and mock His house, or take from Him… God help them.
God help king Belshazzar
He goes even further he takes these object and begins to toast false gods that cannot see, speak, or hear.
Daniel 5:4 ESV
They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.
Daniel 5:4
What we really have the record of is Belshazzar leading his people in proclaiming this is what we think of the god of the Jews. These little things we stole from his temple mean nothing to us because He means nothing to us!
So we will use the symbols that you use in worship of Him and we will use them to make a toast to our “gods”, the moon god, and the sun god, and all the others we have. Not alot has changed has it?
People still gather together and host their proud parties to celebrate their achievments, without realizing that the God who made them is the God who holds their breath in His hands.
So the King does his thing… then

The Kings Color Changed

Those who walk in pride God is able to humble, and that is what God is doing now.
Daniel 5:5–6 ESV
Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, opposite the lampstand. And the king saw the hand as it wrote. Then the king’s color changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together.
Daniel 5:5
One minute he is the great king bring the vessels from the temple lets toast the idols, and the next minute he is a quivering mess in front of his crowd.
Daniel 5:7
Daniel 5:7 ESV
The king called loudly to bring in the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers. The king declared to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and shows me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”
Its amazing that after all this time these kings would have learned that these magicians know NOTHING!
These astrologers know NOTHING!
I mean his father did this… 3 times! Human wisdom cannot understand the things of God! Nebuchanezzar finally learned this, God would do something then these co called wise men didn’t know what to do and guess what happens here?
The same thing
Daniel 5:8
Daniel 5:8–9 ESV
Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or make known to the king the interpretation. Then King Belshazzar was greatly alarmed, and his color changed, and his lords were perplexed.
Man is his foolishness turns again and again to the wisdom of fools. it doesn’t sound very nice because it offends us, but it is exactly what Paul says when he goes into Corinth. Corinth a proud and noble city with great leadership, and so on. All kinds of spectacular buildings and things like that and he calls out and he says...
1 Corinthians
1 Corinthians 1:20 ESV
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
1 Corinthians 1:21 ESV
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
Man is confronted by his own frailty when somehow the handwriting is on the wall, whatever that may be, and he reaches out again and again to the same places he went before. Only to find out that it is completely empty. Men keep running to things which are not capable to satisfy the needs of their own souls, and then coming up thirsty crying out as their lives seem to be in ruins and yet they run right back.
The only way to free someone from that madness is to confront them with the foolishness of the gospel.
COME FIND FREEDOM IN SURRENDER
COME BE A SLAVE AND BE FREE
COME AND DIE SO THAT YOU MIGHT LIVE
COME SERVE OTHERS THAT YOU MIGHT BE A LEADER
COME and GIVE THAT YE MIGHT RECEIVE
The gospel is completely upside down to the carnal fleshly heart.
This is why people who seek to lead God’s way seem like odd balls to the rest of the lukewarm of our world today.
People cannot receive this because it hurts their feelings. They say wait a minute, wait a minute this bothers me because your saying that i cannot fix my self… yes that’s right, your saying that I am a fool because i don’t believe in God… yes Your saying that everything I thought to be true is not true and now I must bow my knee and serve this God who I have been denying.... Yes
FORGET IT!
But for those who come
He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Well even big Kings need to listen to their wives.
Daniel 5:10-
Daniel 5:10–11 ESV
The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banqueting hall, and the queen declared, “O king, live forever! Let not your thoughts alarm you or your color change. There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him, and King Nebuchadnezzar, your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers,
I love how Daniel is described here. He is described in terms of light, understanding, wisdom, knowledge, and the ability to solve problems. He is desribed like the MEssiah! If you read the first part of Isaiah when you read the passages about the Messiah that is to come he is described in virtually these same terms. So when you read that the Spirit of the gods is upon this man. She means that there was something about this man, the thing that set him apart this way, was that He served and walked closely with his God and Gods attributes flowed through Him totally.
When you refuse to compromise, when you seek Gods purposes and His purposes alone, do you know what happens? The Spirit is fed, you learn to yield your nature to the New nature of Christ that dwells within you, and the goal of the Christian life is to become so in tune with God that when people see you, they dont see you at all, they see Jesus!
He is wisdom and might and hope, and in this man you can find the satisfcation of your soul, it is not found in a religion, it is not just expression, but it is found in a person!
The king says ok I’ll give it a try.
Daniel 5:13 ESV
Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king answered and said to Daniel, “You are that Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah, whom the king my father brought from Judah.
In other words, so your just a captive slave… do you see the arrogance here.. Here is the person who can answer the kings question and he treats him as a little nothing prisoner.
Daniel 5:14 ESV
I have heard of you that the spirit of the gods is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you.
Daniel 5:15 ESV
Now the wise men, the enchanters, have been brought in before me to read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not show the interpretation of the matter.
Daniel 5:16 ESV
But I have heard that you can give interpretations and solve problems. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”
Look at Daniels response:
Daniel 5:18 ESV
O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father kingship and greatness and glory and majesty.
Daniel 5:19 ESV
And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive; whom he would, he raised up, and whom he would, he humbled.
Daniel 5:20 ESV
But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him.
Here Daniel is saying you silly little boy don’t you know that I have already danced this dance before?
didn’t you learn what NOT to do from your Dad?
This is when Daniel lays the truth out for this youn ruler
Daniel 5:22-
Daniel 5:22–23 ESV
And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.
You are guilty of pride, sacrilege, and you have chosen idolatry over honoring the God who lives.
EVEN THOUGH YOU KNEW ALL THIS Belshazzar
you cannot plead ignorance
Did you know something that should startle us to death church?
James 4:
James 4:17 ESV
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
Sin in god’s eyes is not just the bad things done, but the good things left undone.
Let us think about this in our personal lives. Do we honor god with our thoughts? Do we honor Him with our mouths?
Do we honor Him with our actions in private?
Daniel indicts Belshazzar and said you knew all tis and you are without excuse....
Belshazzar's view of reality was messed up before he started drinking. His problem was his worldview was wrong and then he got drunk and that just compounded his foolishness.
Our view of the world because we are sinful is wrong.. and God has revealed Himself, and made it plain, and what can be known God has shown it to us.
Yet humans suppress the truth in unrighteousness.
This is exactly what Paul describes in
Romans 1:18 ESV
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
Romans 1:19 ESV
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
Romans 1:20 ESV
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Romans 1:21 ESV
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Romans 1:21
Romans 1:22 ESV
Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
Romans 1:23 ESV
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
This is exactly what belshazzar is doing and it is exactly what people still do today. They know God exists and yet they dont wanna answer to him so they push what they know to be true down and hope He goes away but GOD IS GOING NOWHERE!
this is what people do! This is what we do when God opens our eyes and shows us that we need to repent of sin and yet we pretend that nothing is happening and we never go forward and lay down the sins He is convicting us of. God says clearly YOU ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE!
Dont you ever ignore God when He compells you to repent.
EVEN THOUGH BELSHAZZAR KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING WAS WRONG HE DID IT ANYWAY!
Listen to me, if you can sin, and justify yourself in that sin when you know it is wrong and do it anyway, you are so far away from God you are close to being a nonbeliever if your not already.
What was the result of this rebellion and mockery of God Himself?
Daniel 5:30 ESV
That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed.
D
True to his promise Belshazzar gives Daniel what is due him...
Daniel 5:29 ESV
Then Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel was clothed with purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made about him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.
There is a backdrop to this, that you wont know unless I tell you. At the very same time he is doing all of this the MEdo-persian soldiers are working their way into the city of babylon. They damned up a portion of the Euphrates river, which ran under the walls of the great city. Through doing this they made it possible for them to make it into the great and mighty fortress city of babylon. So while the king is proclaiming he is in charge of everything his demise is being prepared under the city walls. They work their way under the city walls into the city, stormed the palace and took out the king.
how do I know this? History....
Daniel 5:31 ESV
And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.
Pride comes before a fall
In human wisdom we worry about retirement, we worry about insurance, we worry if I am going to have enough when my working days are done....
We worry about our investments....
How foolish are we when we realize, we devote more time to these things and we give God a head nod from day to day...
If we were as concerned with God and His glory in or life on a day to day basis.... there would be no trouble in this world.
But i guess the fools will keep being considered wise, while those who have God’s wisdom are cosnidered fools and while men build castle for themselves they will not realize that they are building them in the sand and the wave of judgment is about to come crashing down.
Judgement will come to our nation one day, if the hearts of the people don’t return to Him
Let’s steward the time we have on this Earth well. Let’s be obedient to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Let’s make pleasing Him and Him alone the priority of our lives. He will take care of everything else.
(let’s pray)
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