WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JULY 9, 2020
TOPIC: FINGERS OF JUDGMENT
BY T. O. BANSO
“But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart … Then the fingers of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written” (Daniel 5:22a, 24 New King James Version).
Belshazzar, a son or grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, gave a big banquet. While drinking, he gave an order that all the gold and silver cups that his ancestor, Nebuchadnezzar, had brought from the temple in Jerusalem should be brought out for his nobles, wives and concubines to drink from.
While this was going on, suddenly, mysterious fingers appeared and began to write on the wall what the king couldn’t understand. Gripped with fear, he sought the help of the magicians and wise men in the kingdom to interpret the writing, but none of them could (Daniel 5:1-8).
The Queen mother came to the rescue. She recalled how Daniel had helped Nebuchadnezzar out of a similar dilemma when he interpreted his dream (Daniel 4:19-27). Daniel was brought before the king. He read and interpreted the writing thus: MENE – God has numbered your kingdom and finished it. TEKEL – You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting. PERES – Your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians (verses 13-28).
From the remarks of Daniel, before reading and interpreting the writing, we can identify four components of Belshazzar’s sin, which led to the immediate execution of judgment of God that night. He was killed that very night and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom.
Four components of Belshazzar’s sin
1. Belshazzar failed to learn from history. He should have learnt from the life of Nebuchadnezzar, his father (Daniel 5:22) and behaved himself (actually ancient records say his real father was Nabonidus). In verses 18-22, Daniel referred to the failure of Belshazzar to learn from Nebuchadnezzar. Verse 22 says he knew all this – all that happened to Nebuchadnezzar. He wasn’t ignorant of it.
Learn from the past; don’t repeat a negative history. Romans 15:4a says whatever things were written before, were written for our learning. According to 1 Corinthians 10:6-11, the events that happened to the children of Israel were a warning to us, so that we would not commit the same sins they committed
George Welhelm Friedrich Hegel, a German philosopher (1770-1831) says, “We learn from history that we do not learn from history.” Don’t be a victim of history.
2. Belshazzar did not humble himself. Verses 22-23 say that Belshazzar lifted up himself against the LORD of heaven by bringing out holy and dedicated cups to use for unholy purpose. Leviticus 10:10a says, “You are to distinguish between what is holy and what is ordinary” (New Living Translation). Don’t use holy things for unholy purposes.
God wasn’t against him for drinking! He was a pagan. God was angry with him for desecrating holy cups. Though he was not a Jew, he must have heard of the awesomeness of the God of the Jews. Belshazzar went too far, bringing holy cups out for unholy use. He must have been propelled by pride. Probably, he wanted to do what no king had done! Don’t defy God.
Beware of pride. The LORD hates pride. Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD (Proverbs 11:2; 29:23; 16:19; Psalm 138:6; Ecclesiastes 7:8b; Isaiah 2:11; 14:12-15; 2 Chronicles 26:16; Obadiah 1:3).
The LORD resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). Belshazzar was guilty of pride; therefore, God judged him. “And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12 New King James Version).
3. Belshazzar did not glorify (honour) God, but praised his idols. Belshazzar glorified his idols – the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone that couldn’t see, hear or know anything. He failed to glorify the God who held his breath in His hand and owned all his hands – the God who gave him the breath of life and controlled his destiny. Daniel mentioned this in verse 23.
God is a jealous God; He hates idolatry (Exodus 20:5; 34:14; Deuteronomy 6:15; Psalms 135:15-18; 115:1-8). Idolatry is more than bowing before a graven image. An idol is anything that comes before God in your life. It can be your spouse, children, business, career, money or other modern gods.
1 Corinthians 10:14 says you should flee from idolatry. 1 John 5:21 says you should keep yourself from idols. “Don’t be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5b New Living Translation). Idolatry is part of the works of the flesh and idolaters will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21).
Glorify God, and not idols. Don’t exalt anything and anyone above God in your life. Don’t delight in anything and anyone more than God. Let nothing and nobody come first in your life before God. Glorify (honour) God, even with your possessions (Psalm 22:23; Proverbs 3:9). God will honor those who honour Him; those who despise Him shall be lightly esteemed (1 Samuel 2:30b).
4. Belshazzar was indifferent and unrepentant. One would have expected him to react positively to Daniel’s interpretation of the writing, which had frightened him, but not so. There is no record that he said anything positive or negative. He was indifferent. He didn’t repent, as David and Ahab did (2 Samuel 12:13; 1 Kings 21:29) and as Manasseh eventually did (2 Chronicles 33:9-16).
He only promoted Daniel as he had promised him, a reward Daniel had rejected as the incentive for him to interpret the writing (Daniel 5:29, 17).
What God demands from every sinner is genuine repentance (Acts 2:38, 17:30; Hebrews 6:1; Matthew 3:2; 4:7, Luke 5:32; 24:47). God has no pleasure in the death of a sinner, but that he should turn from his way and live (Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11).
Have you put your faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and salvation? Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour? The finger of judgment has already written the condemnation of sinners. John 3:18 says, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (New King James Version).
It is your humble repentance and acceptance of Jesus as your Lord and Saviour that can avert the execution of the judgment that has been written for sinners. Don’t maintain an “I don’t care” attitude like Belshazzar.
Psalm 9:17 says, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (New King James Version). Repent today! Come to Jesus and receive forgiveness of your sins.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing and Bible teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Jesus, I accept You today as my Lord and Saviour/Father, forgive me all my sins and wash me clean with the blood of Your Son/By the power of the Holy Spirit, I shall walk in humility; I shall not lift up myself against God. I shall not defy you, God.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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