Summary: As a senior citizen, Daniel was again called upon to do God’s work. Fifth in the series on Integrity.
Integrity - Finishing Strong
Pastor Don Jones
West Glendale Baptist Church
One of the hardest aspects of integrity is living life consistently. With all of the problems we face throughout our lives, it is no wonder many fail to act and react consistently in each situation. Today we are going to look at Daniel again. He is now approximately eighty years old. He would be considered a senior citizen in any society. But Daniel is again going to show us that he is a man of integrity by living his life according to his beliefs at eighty like he did in his teens.
Cue Slide - The Problems
The kingdom had changed. Daniel found himself in a world that had passed him by. At one time the head of all the magicians and sorcerers, it now seems he is almost forgotten. You might say he is like many of our seniors today. The world has changed, it has gotten faster in almost every way, it is seemingly more violent, people problems seem to be more extreme and the consequences more dire. While connectivity is available to everyone at anytime through the internet and cell phones, many feel unconnected and alone.
Daniel found himself in a similar position. He was still in a foreign land. God had not miraculously delivered him to Jerusalem. He was out of the loop, a Jew in Babylon. His position of authority had changed because he was not the first called on to handle the situation nor was he invited to the party. Tom Shraeder says, "The number one problem facing our seniors today is apathy", the unwillingness to get involved in a "new world".
Not only had Daniel’s position changed but the earthly kingdom of Babylon was in trouble. Belshazzar had assumed the authority of the king. The enemy was literally knocking at the gates of this massively fortified city. The city was strong but his kingdom was weak. Rather than seek God’s favor and repent of his ways he throws a party. This king was the epitome of pride. He was giving the annual kingdom banquet for all the nobility. Daniel 5:1 says,
King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them.
Not only was he prideful but he was sacrilegious as well. When the party had reached its peak of drunkenness he called for the temple goblets. Not just any goblets but the temple goblets used in the honoring of the Lord God. It was the ultimate in arrogance and pride. Indirectly he was placing himself above God and at the very least was thumbing his nose at God. And the goblets were used to honor the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone. Daniel 5:2-4 says,
While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.
Cue Slide - The Party’s Over
God miraculously stops the party at its high point of revelry. The Hebrew construct of the sentence indicates that at the very instant of drinking from the goblets and praising these false gods the finger appears to write on the wall. Daniel 5: 5-6 says,
Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lamp stand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way.
The party was over. The king that was so filled with pride and arrogance was now reduced to fear and trembling. Imagine, as drunk as they were, the fingers, not the whole hand but the fingers of God begin to write on the wall by the lamp stand. Belshazzar was literally changing colors and trembling before their eyes. So much fear, he lost control of his lower body according to the original Hebrew.
The king cries out for a solution to the writing. Verse 7 says,
The king called out for the enchanters, astrologers and diviners to be brought and said to these wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around his neck, and he will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”