Text: Dan. 5:1-30
Memory Verse: Deut. 6:15 “(For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth”.
Belshazzar was a grandson of King Nebuchadnezzar. He was a powerful king. He made a great feast to a thousand of his lords and drank wine before the thousand. (vs.1). He didn’t know the past, what has happened to his grandfather (Dan. 4:1-9). In the course of drinking the wine, his heart was inflamed with wine that he asked them to bring the vessels that were stolen from Jerusalem, so that he could drink from them (vs. 2-3).
While drinking the wine with golden and silver vessels he started praising the god of gold, silver, brass, wood and stone (vs. 4). This illustrates what intoxication can do to people. They were not praising these gods before they drank the wine. Drinking of wine makes you to see things differently, it is evil, it is dangerous, it can become addicted to it, that is you will not be comfortable until you drink and thus inflame you (Gen. 9:21–24, 19:32-35). This is why christians should not indulge in drinking of wine.
There was a significant event that took place as they were drinking this wine, “fingers of a man’s hand and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace and the King saw the part of the hand that wrote” (vs. 5). Seeing such a thing, descriptions of terror and fear will be unprecedented. His face began to grow pale, then his mind became very agitated. His frame was knocking together, his body was tumbling and shaking, and he gave even a cry of distress (vs. 6–7).
In the midst of this confession, he called people that he thought will be of help to him. These were the Chaldeans, the astrologers the soothsayers (vs. 7). Remember that this man had no God. He didn’t know the God of Israel but there was somebody who had been placed there to help sort this out.
When the magicians couldn’t tell him the meaning of the handwriting, they couldn’t even read it, to start with, not to talk of interpreting it. If you cannot read, how can you interpret? (vs. 8). Then the queen informed him about Daniel and his past exploits. She remembered that Daniel had been useful during the time of Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel was to be the one who was going to solve the problem. Thus, they brought Daniel into the king’s presence and the king wanted to know the meaning.
` He promised Daniel that “…. Thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom” (vs. 16). Daniel was able to read the handwriting which says MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. MENE means God has numbered thy kingdom and finished it. TEKEL means thou art weigh in the balance and found wanting. PERES means thy kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persia (vs. 26-28).
In fulfillment of what he had said, Daniel was clothed with scarlet and a gold chain was put about his neck and then he became the third in the kingdom (vs. 29). However, in that night, Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans was slain (vs. 30).
There are some lessons we should learn from this event.
- God rules in the affairs of men – Dan. 4:25-26
Any ruler or leader should know that he/she is holding forth for God, and all his/her conversation should be in reference to God. (Ps. 50:23, Philip. 1:27). Thus, we should be mindful of our conduct in any position we are holding either in the church, society or our place of work.
- Man’s gifts will make room for his promotion – Prov. 18:16, Pr. 17:8
Like Daniel, he had gift, and this gift promoted him to be the third ruler in the kingdom (Dan. 5:29) looking through the bible, those who became prominent, achieved this as a result of their God given gifts. Joseph (Gen. 41:14–17, 39, 41), Samson (Jude 15:16) and a host of others like Jephtha. They had talents/gifts which were used to save lives and to portray the will of God. However, the misuse of gift put Samson into problem. You should painstakingly discover your gift and use it to promote gospel.
- Don’t limit yourself – Ps. 78:41
Daniel did not consider himself to be a stranger. He believed in himself, he did not limit God’s grace and ability in his life. Believe in yourself, “for greater is He that is in you” (1Jn. 4:4).
- Be mindful of what to be addicted to – 1Cor. 9:16
Belshazzar was addicted to drinking, thus, he ran into destruction. Examine yourself, what can you not do without? Some people’s addiction is food, some sleeping, watching television, reading of newspaper or even attending party. As a Christian, what you should be addicted to is the word and work of God as Paul did. It is not that all these things are bad but don’t allow them to take hold of your life.
- Who was Belshazzar?
- Examine the place of training children by parents in relations to Belshazzar’s behaviour.
- Daniel portrayed himself as good ambassador of God in a strange land, what does this teach us?
- What made Daniel to be outstanding personality?
5. God killed Belshazzar that same night, what does this teach us?