Thursday, March 24, 2011

"you have been weighed on the balances and have not measured up"

Dan. 5:17-31 NLT (Excerpted )
   17 Daniel answered the king, . . . but I will tell you what the writing means. 18 Your Majesty, the Most High God gave sovereignty, majesty, glory, and honor to your predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar. 19 He made him so great that people of all races and nations and languages trembled before him in fear. . . . 20 But when his heart and mind were puffed up with arrogance, he was brought down from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. 21 He was driven from human society. He was given the mind of a wild animal, and he lived among the wild donkeys. He ate grass like a cow, and he was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he learned that the Most High God rules over the kingdoms of the world and appoints anyone he desires to rule over them. 
   22 You are his successor, O Belshazzar, and you knew all this, yet you have not humbled yourself. 23 For you have proudly defied the Lord of heaven and have had these cups from his Temple brought before you. You and your nobles and your wives and concubines have been drinking wine from them while praising gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone. . .. But you have not honored the God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny! 24 So God has sent this hand to write this message. 
   25 This is the message that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN. 26 This is what these words mean: Mene means ‘numbered’ —God has numbered the days of your reign and has brought it to an end.  27 Tekel means ‘weighed’ —you have been weighed on the balances and have not measured up. 28 Parsin means ‘divided’ —your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” 
   29 Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was dressed in purple robes, a gold chain was hung around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom. 
   30  That very night Belshazzar, the Babylonian king, was killed. 31 And Darius the Mede took over the kingdom at the age of sixty-two.

Nebuchadnezzar may have learned his lesson for the remainder of his reign but his royal successor did not. Even though the reformed king proclaimed that everyone should worship God, his next in line (probably a grandson) Belshazzar lived in his own pride and arrogance. The first half of the chapter describes how the king had a party with wives and concubines and nobles-- probably an orgy. To show his supremacy over all the world, he called for the captured sacred articles taken from the Jewish temple 60 years earlier and proceeding to use them as party plates and cups. By calling for the sacred articles and treating them as common dinner ware, he was demonstrating that he thought himself to be greater than God, to whom those articles had been dedicated before being captured. He, in effect, challenged God to a duel. And God took up the challenge!

Daniel was still around advising kings. He was now an old man but just as sharp and tuned in to God's word of prophesy. The young king's mother remembered what her father, the former king had experienced and had her son call for the one man left in the kingdom who had proven knowledge and relationship with God. Daniel informed the young king of the sentence that was placed upon him by the Hand of God Himself because he so reveled in his pride and arrogance and forgot the lessons learned by his predecessors in relationship with God who orders all things across all time. He paid the price as did his kingdom and those who identified with him.

We experience this in the church, the body of Christ, today. When younger generations grow up in their local congregation hearing reports of the faith of their elders they often ignore the lessons that are being rehearsed for their benefit. They fail to make their own relationship with the Holy Spirit of God, through a vital faith in Christ. Because of that, trials and the pull of the world's sin separates them from their family's faith and some never make it back into the fold of faith. There are churches that tell them they can never be lost, but the scriptures disagree. Rather than argue that point it is much better that we all ensure our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is a tight bond of our personal submission and surrender to His will and daily leadership. We do better pursuing the will of God with every fiber of our being, at all times of every day. There is nothing to be gained by withdrawing from the Kingdom of God and everything to be gained by pressing on into it with our full attention upon God through our faith in Christ and trust in, and obedience to the Holy Spirit.
Your servant

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