Daniel 5:1–31, Isaiah 6:1–10
Belshazzar didn’t learn from the stories of Nebuchadnezzer.
Yesterday, we read about how Nebuchadnezzer didn’t really seem to learn the lessons that were in front of his face. On the other hand, there seem to have been a few things that he respected, one of them being the holy things from God’s temple. It is very interesting to recognize that. As the story of the Return unfolds, we learn that Nebuchadnezzer had an itemized inventory of the items from the temple. In his own (wrong) way he honored the God of the people he had captured.
Belshazzar learned nothing, and understood nothing. Nor, does it seem, that he cared. Some scholars have declared the story of Belshazzar to be a fictional tale due to a couple of issues. The first is being King. He wasn’t. His father was by sitting in the royal seat, but his father was not a descendant of Nebuchadnezzer. Except, melek [meh·lek] is also used as royal. Belshazzar was also the guy-in-charge when dad left. So, “King” perhaps not, but Belshazzar’s behavior does remind me of an unruly spoiled child who threw a party when the parents were out. Another poke at the story, is that Nebuchadnezzer was called Belshazzar’s father. Yet, if you read other parts of the Old Testament, this isn’t necessarily a genetic parent statement, but a statement of a lineage of power. Regardless, though, Belshazzar messed up, and a big disembodied hand came and wrote on the wall.
Belshazzar is not unique to the world, or to scripture. Far too many people dismiss God, because they cannot perceive God, they think. Instead, like Belshazzar and his courtiers, they worship gods of metals, whether it be homes, cars, gold, phones, computers, etc.
Isaiah provides the counterpoint to such. While he had a mystical experience, his heart was already pre-oriented to God. Visions such as he had could be understood because of that. On the other hand, people who turn away from God have an experience and no transformation.
1) There are plenty of people like Belshazzar in the world. Will you be a Daniel to them?
2) There are plenty of people like Belshazzar in the world. Will you be Isaiah for them?
3) There are plenty of people like Belshazzar in the world. Will you be Jesus to them?