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Lesson # Dan. 5:1-4
Study Material - Dan. 5:1-4
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1 Belshazzar the king held a great feast for a thousand of his nobles, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand. 2 When Belshazzar tasted the wine, he gave orders to bring the gold and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem, in order that the king and his nobles, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. 3 Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God which was in Jerusalem; and the king and his nobles, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. 4 They drank the wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone.
Belshazzar had just been defeated decisively by Cyrus, King of Persia. Cyrus was now laying a siege around the city of Babylon. Belshazzar, the son of Nebuchadnezzar, was King of Babylon, had retreated to his city along with what remained of his army, and rather than making defense preparations, he was celebrating as though there were no problem facing the Babylonian Empire. This very night, the empire would fall.
The Euphrates River on the one hand was probably viewed as an impregnable shield for the city. The magnitude of the party indicates that the city was either very well supplied, or the supplies were being squandered irresponsibly. Some of my notes on that period indicate that the city had, according to several historians, about twenty years of supplies on hand. So a very long siege could be withstood. Or so the Babylonians probably thought. Cursed is the man who trusts in man!
The prophecy of the fall of Babylon had long ago been foretold, Isa. 21:2-4. The Persians and the Medes would rise up against the Empire, surround it, and destroy it. Here now is the historical reality of the prophecy. As we will see later on in the words inscribed on the wall, God had numbered the days of the Babylonian Empire, and they were now finished. The destiny of the Empire was its destruction and division.
We all have our days numbered for us. In eternity past, as we have many times studied, God created a plan, a perfect plan for both man and angel alike. He considered all the possibilities through His omniscience. That is, God could consider all possible combinations of historical details, and then select the very best plan in its minutest detail. One that would be to our greatest benefit. Thus God decreed this plan for history. By it He determines when each one of us will be born, and when each of us will die. He places kings on their thrones and removes them in accordance with His plan and purpose just as He places each one of us in the various positions we have and will be in during our respective life times.
Belshazzar's days had been numbered and this was his last day on earth. He celebrated it with a feast. He was surrounded by the Persians. The Medes were bearing down on the city. Everything that a normal person should be doing was ignored.
Fear and anxiousness should have been the dominant feeling. Planning and engaging in responsible preparations for the defense of the city should have been the priorities. Prayer, to say the least, should have been pouring out of the city toward God. But none of these were considered.
Instead of fasting, they were feasting. Instead of praying, they were insulting God. Instead of preparing for a defense, they were indulging in their pleasures. All misplaced priorities, and in the face of an overwhelming threat and impending doom. Foolish is hardly the adequate word.
Belshazzar knew of the God of Daniel, though he seems to have forgotten about the Chief of the Counselors. Belshazzar knew of the articles of the Temple of Israel, as he ordered their retrieval so that he might use them and even drink from them in his own leisure. An insult against God to be sure.
Many of us, if not all of us, will at some time find ourselves in a position of helplessness. We do not ignore the events. We do not ignore or reject an attempt to plan our way out of our predicament. God did give you a brain to be used. And thinking is the purpose of that brain, ya know!
If you have learned any Bible doctrine at all, then you know that your first order of business is to stabilize yourself. Memorizing Bible verses helps in that process. You regain your focus and poise by falling back on those many promises of God. Then you can focus on the circumstances of your situation. You can think. And from that thinking process, God will show you your way out of the problem. If you get frustrated, emotional, panicky, then you can't think and you only give more power to your problem and your own suffering.
If you ignore the problem altogether as Belshazzar has done and pretend that it does not exist, or rely on something else to protect you, then your disregard of the situation, your disregard of God will do you in, big time.
Belshazzar did all of the wrong things. He pursued his sensual desires and false gods and even more, he insulted the only true God, who could have helped him. Instead, as we saw in Isaiah 5, the lion of Gods judgment would enter into the kingdom and stand over it with bloody claws and teeth. Who will answer their call for help? No one. God is the only source of rescue in this universe and when you reject God, then you have in effect cut your very life line.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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