Daniel 5 (3)
Belshazzar strikes me as not the sharpest knife in the drawer. It never occurred to him to consult Daniel, either because he wasn’t aware of his existence, wasn’t well-grounded in the recent history of his own nation, or wasn’t in touch with the goings-on of his own court. The queen – perhaps the queen mother, since she was not invited to the party – hearing the commotion and learning what the problem was, played the role of chief butler to Pharaoh in having God’s man summoned to resolve the king’s distress. When you have the kind of reputation and abilities Daniel had, somebody will know about you.
Read Genesis 41.1-15.
Read Daniel 5.10-16.
Think it Through
1. Summarize Daniel’s reputation. What do we learn from the queen about his character, erudition, and abilities? Belshazzar may have been ignorant of Daniel’s existence, but he was eager to have his help at this time of crisis. Jesus said the Spirit would give us power to be witnesses (Acts 1.8). How can you see in Daniel that being a witness is as important as giving a witness?
2. Belshazzar’s crassness is revealed in his brief interview with Daniel. First, he made sure Daniel understood that he, the king,knew who he, Daniel, was – a captive from Judah (apparently, the queen mother clued him in). Second, he recounted what he had heard of Daniel’s reputation, and that “the Spirit of God” was in him. Then, he put him up against all the wise men and advisors in his court. And finally, he thought to buy him with promises of wealth and power. People in places of influence and authority often try to secure the favors and support of people with good reputations and notable skills. Can this be a snare? Looking at Daniel’s situation, and remembering Joseph, David, Micaiah, and Esther, can such situations also be an opportunity for glorifying God? Explain.
“Daniel’s godly manner of life even among the barbarians is worthy of our imitation, for the very grandmother or mother of the king extolled him with such words of praise because of the greatness of his virtues.” Jerome (347-420 AD)
And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! Acts 8.18-20
Lord, You have called me to be a witness, so that when I give my witness…
Pray Psalm 135.15-19.
We can be distracted from seeking only the Lord and His will by the promises of things and prestige – the idols of our secular age. As you pray, name the idols that could ensnare you, and renounce them as you bless the Lord.
Psalm 135.15-19 (St. Gertrude: Onward, Christian Soldiers)
Vain the nations serve the idols of their hands;
Mouths and ears they have but cannot understand.
Every idol vain is, lacking life or breath;
All who serve them, like them, shall be lost to lasting death.
Refrain v. 1
Praise the Name of Jesus, you who serve His Word!
Raise your voice and praise our good and glorious Lord!
T. M Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006.