Read Daniel 5:5-8. What happens, and why does the king respond as he does? In what ways does this account parallel Daniel chapter 2, and why is that parallel important? (See Ps. 96:5, Col. 1:15-17).
And to make sure that they give their best, the king promises them extravagant honors: (1) purple clothing, a color worn by royalty in ancient times (Esther 8:15); (2) a chain of gold, which was a sign of high social status (Gen. 41:42); and (3) the position of third ruler in the kingdom. This last reward reflects accurately the historical circumstances of Babylon at that time. Because Belshazzar was second ruler as co-regent with his father, Nabonidus, he offers the position of third ruler. But despite the tempting rewards, the sages once again fail to provide an explanation.
On top of all his sins, then, the king attempts to find wisdom in the wrong place. The Babylonian experts cannot uncover the meaning of the message. It is written in their own language, Aramaic, as we shall see tomorrow, but they cannot make sense of the words. This might remind us of what the Lord speaks through Isaiah: “For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden” (Isa. 29:14, NKJV). After quoting this verse the apostle Paul states: “Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Cor. 1:20-21, NKJV).
Some truths are too important to be left for humans to try to figure out for themselves. That’s why God, instead, reveals these truths to us.
|Think about what the rewards were going to be, and given what was to soon follow, how worthless those rewards really were. What should this tell us about just how fleeting things in the world can be, and why we always need to keep the perspective of eternity in mind in all that we do?|