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Lesson # Dan. 5:13-16
Study Material - Dan. 5:13-16
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13 Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king spoke and said to Daniel, 'Are you that Daniel who is one of the exiles from Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah? 14 'Now I have heard about you that a spirit of the gods is in you, and that illumination, insight, and extraordinary wisdom have been found in you. 15 'Just now the wise men and the conjurers were brought in before me that they might read this inscription and make its interpretation known to me, but they could not declare the interpretation of the message. 16 'But I personally have heard about you, that you are able to give interpretations and solve difficult problems. Now if you are able to read the inscription and make its interpretation known to me, you will be clothed with purple and wear a necklace of gold around your neck, and you will have authority as the third ruler in the kingdom.'
When Daniel was brought before Nebuchadnezzar, he interpreted his dream which gave Nebuchadnezzar a stern warning, which he ignored, suffered as a result, but recovered in the end. Here Daniel is summoned to give an interpretation to a king who is out of time, will not change his attitude, and will pay the ultimate price for his 'own' decision.
We all make decisions in life. We all make these decisions without threat or coercion. None of us have any excuse when it comes to our ultimate destiny, and what path we voluntarily took to get there.
Daniel was brought before Nebuchadnezzar when he was a youth. We can probably assume that he may have been around 20 years of age, perhaps even younger, in his teens. Nebuchadnezzar ruled for 44 years. Merodach ruled next for only a year. Then Neriglissar came to power and ruled for another 4 years. Followed by Nabonidus who ruled for 16 years, then Belshazzar who is at the end of his reign of 11 years.
This would make Daniel about 90 years old, give or take a couple of years. If so, then Belshazzar ruled during Daniel's 80's. Daniel would have been retired and no longer the ruler of the highest counsels, and was but a recording in the history books of the day.
Belshazzar knew some history, as Daniel will point out, but it is obvious that he disregarded the spiritual consequences of that history.
This is probably the first meeting of the two. 'Are you 'that' Daniel ...?' ' ... of the exiles ...?' But Belshazzar does know something of Daniel. The Queen mother said nothing regarding Daniel's origin, or perhaps his manner of dress gave his culture heritage away.
But regardless of that, Belshazzar enlightens Daniel regarding the writing on the wall. No one in Babylon is able to answer the question as to what it says or what it means, or even why this event has occurred. What they do know is that the party has been interrupted, the enemy is at the door, they have suffered a very recent major defeat at the hands of their enemies, and things in general are not looking very good for the empire.
The queen mentioned that Daniel had a unique insight from the 'holy' gods. Belshazzar mentions only 'gods'. A subtle but distinct difference. She is aware of the God of Israel, and even perhaps of their plurality (Father, Son, Spirit), or perhaps not, but she does distinguish the 'holy' gods reference from that of Belshazzar's reference. She has more respect for a deity than does the king. The king just throws all references to deity into one big basket. He does not even have respect for his nations false gods. Yet another clue as to his attitude toward anything of a spiritual nature.
Daniel is in the room now and sees the writing, hears the report from the king, understands the meaning of the words and the destiny of this reigning king. The offer of power (third ranking person in the kingdom) is meaningless. The kingdom is about to be destroyed and new leadership is going to take over.
Daniel will face (chapter 6) the lions, and there is nothing that this king could do to enhance his prosperity, or even threaten his life. The king offers the payment of wealth and rank and authority, but the offer will not save the kings life. The issue here is not the words on the wall or even what the words mean, but what the king (as well as its citizens, no one person brings down an empire all by themselves) have done to bring the empire to this place in history, to the brink of destruction. And that is they are where they are now because of their lack of a spiritual life. That is, a proper spiritual life, not a false one or some substitute. No earthly position, or article of clothing, or emblem of rank can substitute for the spiritual blessings that God has to offer us all.
In the jungle there can only be one person in first place or second or third. In the spiritual life all can be winners. Belshazzar had many years of rule. He had knowledge of the history of his empire. He knew of God, and he rejected Him. In tomorrow's study, Daniel is going to give the king a history lesson and a reminder that he, the king, and he alone, messed up his own life. Now the time to meet his maker, the one whom he has rejected all these years, is at hand. The division of his future is at hand as well. Certainly the kingdom will be divided, but the kings destiny is now to be determined and a division applies there too. It applies for us all. But the real question is, 'What kind of a division will each one of us receive after we die and leave this earth?'
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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