Daniel 5:1-12 (Part 1) – Every Empire Grows Weaker With Each Generation…

Posted: June 6, 2016 in Book of Daniel

Daniel 5:1-12 (Part 1)

The Handwriting on the Wall

As we observe the American landscape in the 21st century, there is a growing change with each generation. We become weaker as a nation as we pass generation to generation of a sense of entitlement and a general worship personal pleasure. Today, there is a general feeling that a job at McDonalds is worth $15 per hour. There is no sense of economic sense. Many today think that they are entitled to the lifestyle of their parents without putting in any of the hard work that their parents put in to get where they are. Many today feel as though college education should be free. Many today think that medical care should have no cost either. But, yet, when asked how is all this going to be paid for, they have few answers. It should just be that way. No sense of how the world works. No one is going to provide all of this for free and no one is going to buy a Big Mac that costs $7.50 when it used to cost half that. A Big Mac is just not that good! A $15 an hour minimum wage would actually cause more unemployment rather that giving unskilled workers a break. It’s economic stupidity. If you have no skills and no experience, you should work for the wages that you can find. Learn that it is not going to get you by and have the willingness to better yourself in whatever way possible so that you do not have to remain flipping burgers the rest of your life at a menial wage.

 

As well, we have become a weaker nation through the fact that we have begun to worship personal pleasure more that we worship God. We have become a nation that worships what makes me feel good. We have become a nation that says anything goes is our faith. We want everyone to be self-actualized. We have become a nation that says as long as you don’t hurt me with your chasing your personal desires then you’re OK. The old belief systems are pushed aside because they hinder us pursuing of our definitions of happiness, our definitions of sexuality. We have decided that it is too hard to keep God’s commands in His Word and so have replaced Him with our own desires. We have redefined marriage and have said that is OK. We have redefined sexuality and have said that is OK. We have said that unwanted pregnancies are OK to terminate. We have said that the reality of my sex is also no longer something that we have to live with. If I feel like a woman, even if I have male genitalia, then I am a woman rather than a person with deep-seated emotion issues that need to be dealt with in counseling. The Bible which has stood through the centuries and the moral guidepost for American life is pushed aside so that we can create this utopian world where we lay around and eat grapes, don’t work, have things handed to us and pursue what makes us feel good in whatever way that feeling good can be achieved. As we do this, we say we have evolved into this greater nation. We have evolved into a more tolerant nation. When the actuality is that, we are actually destroying ourselves from within.

 

God’s judgment is coming to us through our descent into a nation of spineless thrill seekers. We will be like the frog in the pot of water as our nation becomes less and less powerful on the world stage until we are overrun by another nation. And the sad part of it all is that we won’t care that we have lost our place of leadership in the world as long as we get what we want when we want it and can seek pleasure in whatever way we see fit. We will become a nation that is subject to other nations one day and we won’t care until they come in and take our precious thrill seeking and self-indulgence away. God may even use those nations who do not know Him to overrun us. He has done it before. Just ask the people of Israel. Self-indulgence and a lack of work ethic has been the destruction of many a mighty empire. Just ask the greatest empire to have ever existed on earth, the Romans. God will judge us in some way for not honoring Him. We were given a special gift by God when we were given the opportunity to build this great nation of ours and it worked well from 1776 until within that last 30 years when we have become a nation more interested in self-pleasure than honoring God. We will be judged as a nation for not honoring Him. It may not happen in some cataclysmic, singular event. It may happen gradually as we descend into further weakness. God will allow us to slowly destroy ourselves from within much as the Roman Empire did. When we turn our noses up at His commands and His Word and remove Him from the public square and make self-pleasure our God, He will judge us. He will allow us to be destroyed.

 

It was this general weakening of the moral fiber of a nation with each succeeding generation here in our own country that I thought when reading today’s passage, Daniel 5:1-12. Here is this passage, we see the succeeding generations of emperors of Babylon, Nabonidus and his son, Belshazzar. Belshazzar, the son, co-ruled Babylon with his father. Nabonidus was the warrior and Belshazzar was the back at home administrator of the country. Neither was strong enough to do both as Nabonidus’ predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar, could. But, in Belshazzar, the second generation after Nebuchadnezzar, we see that he had forgotten the stories of Nebuchadnezzar’s learned respect of the people of God and God Himself. It is unknown whether Nebuchadnezzar ever gave His life to the Lord but we do know that He at least honored God and gave great respect to His people. Here, we see as the generations pass, self pleasure was the order of the day in Babylon in Belshazzar’s generation. There was no respect for the people of Israel or the relics from their Temple. There was no respect for the beauty and honor to God by which these things were made. There was only a group of people seeking pleasure by whatever way possible and if it meant disrespecting God in the process, so be it. It was the self-seeking nature of Belshazzar that struck me this morning when I read this passage. Let’s read it together below:

 

 

5 King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them. 2 While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father[a] had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. 3 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. 4 As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.

 

5 Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. 6 His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking.

 

7 The king summoned the enchanters, astrologers[b] and diviners. Then he 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.”

 

8 Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king what it meant. 9 So King Belshazzar became even more terrified and his face grew more pale. His nobles were baffled.

 

10 The queen,[c] hearing the voices of the king and his nobles, came into the banquet hall. “May the king live forever!” she said. “Don’t be alarmed! Don’t look so pale! 11 There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the time of your father he was found to have insight and intelligence and wisdom like that of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners. 12 He did this because Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar, was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.”

 

That Belshazaar was shocked and amazed reminds me of what will happen to this nation one day. We will be shocked at God’s judgment. We have become a nation that thinks we know. We have actually deluded ourselves into believing that we are doing the right thing by glorifying self-indulgence, self-pleasure, and entitlement. We believe that God is old-fashioned and that we no longer need Him nor need to respect Him. Like Belshazzar, we will be shocked one day when God shows His mighty hand in judgment. He will judge us for disrespecting Him. He will judge us for our self-indulgence. He will judge us for leaving Him out of our public squares. He will judge us. The handwriting is on the wall. It will come as it has come to every nation that became enamored with self-indulgent pleasure, sinful behaviors accepted as good, and denying God His rightful place of honor as a people. It will happen. God using His finger to write on the wall as we speak.

 

Amen and Amen.

 

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