Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Saturday, June 11, 2016
A handwritten note on paper or in a card typically brings pleasure, joy, and good feelings to the recipient, especially in this digital age of email, texts, and tweets. The recipient knows the writer cared enough to take precious time to communicate important thoughts and feelings. However, a detached hand writing a note on a wall strikes panic, fear, and destruction to the recipient, as Belshazzar, king of Babylon learned.
The destruction of the kingdom of Babylon had long been predicted, yet the empire managed continually to maintain its dominance despite continual challenges from other nations. Such was the situation when Cyrus, king of Persia besieged Babylon with a great army. Nearly oblivious to the onslaught, Belshazzar and the Babylonians felt secure because the Euphrates River was their protection against intruders and they had twenty years’ provision in the city.
A siege of any type – war, health, financial, spiritual, or other – should be a sobering experience, for at these times we are particularly vulnerable. The proper response is to turn to God for his strength and assistance. Obviously in dire straits and in the fullness of his sufficiency, Belshazzar instead hardened his heart and rebelled against God when the Persians attacked. God, who writes history, did not appreciate Belshazzar’s affront and literally wrote him off, ending his impact on history.
With a powerful army at his doorstep, Belshazzar showed his contempt to God by making a great feast and a banquet of wine. He invited one thousand of his lords to come eat and drink with him. The occasion was probably a festive celebration, honoring Cyrus or one of his pagan gods. This sumptuous feast put an affront on God and His providence. The kingdom was at stake, yet Belshazzar decided to slaughter sheep and oxen at a time when conservation of provisions was required.
In contrast, the king of Nineveh’s response had been fasting, mourning, and girding with sackcloth, which delivered the kingdom from God’s wrath. Belshazzar, however, to demonstrate how little he feared of being forced to surrender, spent extravagantly. Belshazzar’s rebellion would bring destruction. Modern nations should note how security and sensuality are sad presages of approaching ruin.
Perhaps God would have had mercy on Belshazzar if he had stopped after the drunken feast, but Belshazzar pushed the envelope of God’s patience until it burst. Belshazzar affronted the temple of God and defied the holiness of His sanctuary by ordering the use of the gold goblets stolen from the Temple in Jerusalem. While drinking from them, they praised the gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone, but nary a word in praise of the I AM God.
The result was a scene scarier than any Hollywood horror story. In the midst of the revelry, the fingers of a man’s hand appeared suddenly and began to write on the plaster of the wall, right in front of Belshazzar’s face. The same divine hand that wrote two stone tablets of Law for His people now wrote of the destruction and doom of Babel and Belshazzar on the wall.
If records were kept for such things, this sobering sight must have produced the all-time record for a human being to sober up. Scripture records how Belshazzar’s face turned pale. He was so frightened his knees knocked together and his legs gave way. Nothing had been sent to frighten them which made a noise, or threatened their lives. There were no claps of thunder or flashes of lightning, no destroying angel with his sword drawn in his hand, only a pen in the hand, writing upon the wall near the candlestick, where they might all see it by the light of their own candle. That night, Babylon fell to Cyrus and the Persians.
It is normal for God to sober us in our rebellion and to allow us to fall in our sin. God is the Holy writer who is concerned about you and is not shy about writing you a message. As Belshazzar discovered, God’s written word is sufficient to put the proudest and boldest sinners into a fright, when it pleases Him. God can awaken instantly the most secure and make the heart of the stoutest sinner to tremble. Will you humble yourself before Him today or will you continue to wait for a sobering sight?
A servant of Jesus Christ
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