Daniel & Belshazzar’s Pride — The handwriting of God, pride, & humbling yourself.
Reading 1: Daniel 5
Reading 2: Psalm 62:9-12
Reading 3: 1 Peter 5:5-6
Notice how fickle worldly power is! In our previous chapter we read of Nebuchadnezzar’s madness and his ultimate restoration to power after acknowledging that God’s power is greater than his own. You would think that in a great kingdom like Babylon, which had been used by God to bring judgement to corrupt Israel, such a lesson would be recorded and remembered.
But no! Nebuchadnezzar’s successor Belshazzar lives with complete self-focus and decrees what he thinks is right, while ignoring (even demeaning) God. And the result is that he sees the handwriting on the wall. Yes, this account from the Bible is the source of that phrase which is in common use still today.
God will not be mocked forever, and everyone will ultimately face the One they denigrated. Then the proud find out that they, too, have little to offer in comparison to God (as Psalm 62 tells us).
This attitude is just as common today as it was in Daniel’s day. The powerful (in many nations) disregard God, but God is not threatened. The lesson for us is a hard one to learn. Daniel was fully focused on serving God, but he did not attack the ungodly powers until they sent for him and asked him to enlighten them. No Facebook rants or protest marches here – just focused honor and obedience to the One who is far greater than human authority. Belshazzar was the ruler of the world’s superpower and he was dealt with by God, not Daniel. In the meantime, Daniel goes on to live the same way under new rulers, as we shall see next time.
Have a great day!