The story of King Belshazzar in Daniel 5 is, in my mind, one of the funniest stories of the Old Testament. Belshazzar (King Nebuchadnezzar’s son) hosted a party with his lords, his wives, and his concubines. Someone at the party had the great idea of drinking from the “golden vessels” from the temple in Jerusalem, so Belshazzar sent for them and used them in his merriment. The moment the sacred vessels were defamed, a creepy hand showed up from nowhere and began writing on the wall in a foreign language. My guess is that this event killed the mood and that the guests, now sufficiently creeped out, said “goodnight” to the king and were on quickly on their way. After a dozen individuals were unable to decipher the handwriting, Daniel was brought in to give it the old college try. The results of Daniel’s interpretation are just unbelievable:
- God has numbered the days of the kingdom
- You [Belshazzar] have been weighed in the balances and been found to be lacking
- Your kingdom is divided
And then that night Belshazzar was killed. Unbelievable! Here are the lessons that I need to take from this passage:
- Do not mess with that which is holy
- God places authority
- God removes authority
- We answer to God for what we do with the authority that is given to us
- God protects His glory and removes people and entities that attempt to get in the way of it
- We are held accountable to God for the way we lead in the areas of responsibility that we’ve been given
What lessons can you take from this?
Father, thank You for preserving this story for so many years. Help me to remember that my responsibility is to serve You wholly with my life and to lead others to You. Thank You for the areas of leadership where I have been entrusted; let be me faithful in serving so that, when I’m held accountable, I will not be found wanting.