Going back to our Daniel series
Jesus came to give hope for the weak, the powerless, the poor.† In some ways, thatís what God is doing in Daniel 4 as well: He is encouraging His exiled people.
Nebuchadnezzar has died and a few generations
later, Belshazzar is now the king of
Belshazzar has an enormous banquet, with 1000 nobles and a lot of wine.† In fact, you donít read of any food, just of how they drank wine.
Belshazzar orders that the gold and silver goblets from
the Jewish Temple in
Perhaps itíd be like if an Arab nation
[if you were a Jew
who understood how holy the
It was sacrilege, defiance; he desecrates the sacred.† ďIím not afraid of you, I dare you to do something.Ē†
Well, God does do something.† A finger of a hand appears and writes on the wall.†
[Belshazzar] turns pale and he was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way.
Belshazzar is totally freaked out.† Heís shaking, his knees are knocking, he canít hold his goblet without spilling the wine.
He calls for all the wise men of
Belshazzar doesnít know what it says, but heís pretty scared.† Itís as if he knows heís being judged.† Maybe he realizes that drinking from those goblets was not such a good idea.
When none of the wise men, the sharpest minds
The Queen enters and offers an answer.† There is someone in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him.† In the days of your forefathers, he was found to have insight, intelligence and wisdom like that of the gods.† He can answer anything.† Call him, and heíll tell you what the writing means.
Belshazzar calls on Daniel.† Notice how Daniel is addressed, ďone of the
exiles my [fore]father brought from
Belshazzar repeats what weíve just read, that Daniel has the Ďspirit of the gods,í he has great wisdom.† The other wise men couldnít read the writing.† If you can read it, then Iíll give you wealth and power.
Repeatedly in Daniel the story comes to this point: Who can solve the riddle, interpret the dream? (2: statue with head of gold, 4: tree cut down)† Repeatedly in Daniel, none of the wisemen can interpret anything.
It is only Daniel, the prophet of Yahweh you can understand these revelations.
There are things that Christians can understand/discern that nonChristians simply canít.†
NonChristians, as educated or intelligent as they come, cannot hear God or help us hear God.
We have another communication source, the indwelling HS.
We believe that God reveals Himself, God speaks, but it is the believer, the one who has the HS who can understand things.
We are the ones who must listen to Godís promptings and guidance.
We are the ones who see God, behold His glory and respond in worship.
We need to learn how to see and listen.
Yesterday I was at a retreat, and I had some quiet time by myself.† I was asking, ďLord, speak, your servant is listening.Ē
Donít worry about money, trust me.† Repent of how much youíve thought about it.
God will provide, for your needs, for our future elders, for our church.
Warning Against Pride
Daniel replies, You may keep you gifts and give your rewards to someone else.† But here is what the writing says.
The Most High God gave your forefather Nebuchadnezzar great power and glory.† He did as he pleased, but one day his heart became proud.† So God stripped him of his glory and turned him into a mad man, eating grass and living in the fields. . until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men.† God determines who rules them.
20† But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. . . . until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and sets over them anyone he wishes.† (20-21)
But you, Belshazzar, have not humbled yourself, even though you knew of this.
1 Belshazzar set himself up against God (23)
He brought in the sacred vessels.† He trampled over his sacred vessels as if to tout his power over God.† He defied God, dared God to do something.
2††† He praised other gods
He drank drinking from Godís sacred goblets and praised gods of gold, silver, bronze.
3††† He failed to praise the God who holds in his life in His hands
You have spit at the God who holds your life in his hands.
Bel is condemned for his pride:† You act like youíre god, as if I wasnít here or didnít matter.
God controls/numbers your days, God judges you, God executes his judgement on you.
Whether people acknowledge it or not, our lives are completely in Godís
hand.† Our success and accomplishments
are from God (
What does it take to offend God? †You donít need to curse Him, mock Him, dare Him.† You donít have to bring in the communion tray and use it for your party.† All you have to do is ignore Him.† All you have to do is pretend He doesnít matter.
If the president enters this sanctuary, what does it take to offend him?† You donít have to curse him, throw something at him.† All you have to do is, while everyone else is rising to respectfully acknowledge him, just sit there.† Just treat him like heís anybody else.
Living Above Kings
That very night, Belshazzar was slain and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom.
Contrast: Daniel is honored, Belshazzar is killed
Two men, two destinies:
one is a king, another is an exiled captive
one defies and ignores God, another acknowledges and fears God
one was gripped in terror, with his knees knocking, another was amazing fearless and bold.
Dan speaks with boldness, without
intimidation, temptation, fear.† He, an
Daniel is not intimidated by the king.† He directly speaks words of judgment and condemnation.
He is not impressed by his position or power.
Daniel is not at all
tempted by wealth or power in
It is as if Daniel lives on a different plane.† Here are most people, living for pleasure, wealth, power, and for Daniel, he seems to think that this doesnít matter that much.
Here are most people, impressed with power and status and wealth, using these as measures of success or worth, and Daniel doesnít seem to care.
Here are most people fearing what this powerful king could do to him, but Daniel isnít worried.
It is as if Daniel lives in a different world, has different values, different securities, different treasures.† The unseen world is more real than the seen world.†
1.†† Do not envy the one who has wealth, envy the one who doesnít need or care for wealth.† [monk who gives away his diamond]
2.†† Do not be impressed by those with status and power, but be impressed with those donít need status or power.† [impressed by some whoíve gone to Harvard and b/cm a public school teacheróthat says something]
3.† Do not fear human kings, fear the King of kings.† [If our eyes are focused on God, kings and celebrities seems small.]
Imagine that you were at a restaurant, and when you go to use the bathroom, there was Allen Iverson or Martha Stewart!† Allen/Martha says Hi.† How would you feel?† How would be act?† [you get nervous/excited/stunned, ask for an autograph]
We got so excited when we saw Kyle Korver (76ers) at one of our services.† Why?
Celebrities impress us, fame and fortune matter to us.† But things that impress us often donít impress God.† This reveals something about our value system; Godís is different.
There are some people (Daniel) for whom fame and fortune donít matter that much.† They see just as comfortable talking with Martha Stewart as Rachael Thomas/Lisa Kim/Judy Lee.† They see past titles and trappings, fame and fortune, and they see that the other person really is just another person.† They talk with God Almighty, whatís the big deal about talking with a person.
Have you visited people of great wealth?† Have you visited an all brick house with 5 bedrooms, 3 car garage, high vaulted ceilings, marble and hardwood floors, 3 fireplaces, Jacuzziís, home theater, finished walk-out basement, state of the art kitchen on a beautifully manicured, private 2 acre lot.
some are awe-struck, admiring the beauty,
some are unhappy, subtly filled with envy,
some are disgusted and self-righteous, condemning the materialism and indulgence
Some people donít see the house, a house is a house, they see the people who live there, and realize that they are people with hopes and joys, problems and fears.† To these kinds of people, the house isnít that important.
There are people who live in a different world, have different values, different securities, different treasures.† Theyíre not impressed by the things that impress the world. †
For people like Daniel, the unseen world is more real than the seen world.
Comforting the Winning Team
I believe the message to the Jews was, donít
be intimidated by
Those who donít not seek Godís mercy, those who do not acknowledge Godís worth, those who defy or ignore meótheyíre going down!† Donít worry about them.† Their pride, their arrogance, to think that everything is about themóthey are condemned for their pride.
I number their days.† I am their judge.†
Donít fear them, donít be intimidated by them.† Theyíre going down.
I think Daniel understood that.† He didnít fear the king, he wasnít intimidated by the king.† He knew Bel was only mortal, whose life was in the hands of God.
I believe when the Jews read Dan 5, they werenít repenting of their pride.†
They were celebrating the greatness of their
God was encouraging his people to have this greater perspective, to live above earthly kings.
If we were time warped back to the days of
Thatís the perspective of the Christian:
these things that seem so grand are only coming and going.† Microsoft, Sysco,
Boeing will come and go.† UPenn, Wall Street, the
We donít have to envy the wealth or be intimidated by the powerful.
Their pride, their failure to acknowledge God is their downfall.
We donít need to be impressed, intimidated or tempted.† We have a different value system.† We value the unseen.
Come to a table that rearranges our perspective, our values, our world.
Here it is not the rich and famous, the movie stars and billionaires who are celebrated.
Here we celebrate the unseen, not the seen, the things of God, not the things of man.
Jesus died and gave us His body and blood, the forgiveness of our sins, the adoption as His children, a home above.† Weíre saying these are what are important to us.
The world is arrogantly condemned for ignore Him.† We come to the table to humbly celebrate Him, and say this is what matters most.