Daniel 5 (5)
The good news was that Daniel could indeed interpret the mystery writing. The bad news was that the good news was bad. But like Ahab before him, Belshazzar would pay no heed to the prophet’s word.
Read 1 Kings 22.8-29.
Read Daniel 5.24-28.
Think it Through
1. The written revelation of God to Belshazzar was a revelation of judgment. Daniel had not minced words with Belshazzar’s predecessor, and he did not mince words here. Summarize his message to Belshazzar. Read Romans 1.18-32. The world is under the judgment of God. Why? What forms does this judgment take? Is it important that lost people know this, whether or not they believe it? Explain.
2. It’s likely Belshazzar could read the mystery writing which appeared on his palace wall: “a mina, a mina; a shekel; half-shekels.” That wasn’t his problem. Understanding what these strange words meant – that was his problem. What was it about Daniel that qualified him to interpret the meaning God had encoded in these words (cf. Dan. 1.17; 5.11, 12)? The Bible can sometimes be difficult to understand. Meditate on John 16.5-15, 1 Corinthians 2.12, 13, and Colossians 3.16. What can we do to improve our ability to understand the mysteries of divine revelation? Why is it important that we do so?
“And so there was a need not only for reading the inscription but also for interpreting what had been read, in order that it might be understood what these words were announcing.” Jerome (347-420 AD)
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributesare clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Himas God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1.18-21
Lord, as I think of the unbelievers I know, the thought that You are giving them up to greater degrees of judgment makes me…
Pray Psalm 135.13, 4.
The Lord judges not only the unbelieving world, but His people as well. But His judgment of us is not to condemn, but to improve. Linger over these verses as you pray, and let the Spirit convict you of any need for confession and repentance.
Psalm 135.13, 14 (St. Gertrude: Onward, Christian Soldiers)
Evermore Your Name, O Savior, shall endure!
Your renown throughout all ages is secure.
For You have compassion, vindicating all
Those who serve Your Name and on Your saving mercy call.
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.