February 5, 2014.
Since we talked about stories yesterday, I thought it profitable to tell a biblical story today, without reading it straight from the bible (though I strongly encourage that). Sometimes when we read, I think we read the word of God too dry. So I am going to tell you a story that maybe you have heard before, but perhaps not in this manner. Then you can read the biblical account and see if my words hold true.
I’ll begin the story with a little bit of background. Israel, God’s chosen people, had gone through a long history of falling away from God when times were good and coming back as times got bad. You can see the cycle over and over in the Old Testament. Finally, God used Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babalon, to lead his people into captivity.
As Babylon took over the known world at that time, there were people from all tribes and cultures that were brought to the King when he needed help. Daniel was one of the wise men chosen from the Jews; he gained special recognition when he was able to interpret a dream that king Nebuchadnezzar had, prophesying about the four world kingdoms that were to come.
However, as is usually the case, when Nebuchadnezzar died, his son Belshazzar took over and forgot all about what his father had done, how he had become crazy (as prophesied by Daniel) and then returned to his mind, praising the one true God of Israel, and had not heard of Daniel, the wise man of God. Belshazzar decides that it would be a great idea to throw this huge party for 1,000 of his lords, with all the stops. There was great food and a lot of wine. Needless to say, it was a drunken party.
In his inebriated state, Belshazzar calls for the vessels of gold and silver that his father had taken from the temple when they capture Judah to be brought to him and his friends. Everything is going great; then something strange happens.
The record says that the fingers of a hand appeared out of thin air and wrote four words on the wall: Mene, Mene, Tekel and Parsin. As Belshazzar saw the hand writing on the wall, his face went pale white and his knees started knocking together. He was terrified, and rightly so. He called for all the wise men and sorcerers of the land to come and interpret the words that were written on the wall. He promised great wealth, even a position of third in the kingdom, if one could come and interpret the words. None could be found.
The the queen mother comes in and tells Belshazzar of a man who, in the days of his father Nebuchadnezzar, was a man full of the spirit of God and could interpret dreams, as he did on numerous occasions with his father- Daniel. Belshazzar called for Daniel to be brought to him.
Daniel comes in to interpret the message, and Belshazzar offers him a purple robe the position in the kingdom upon his interpretation. Daniel says he can keep his rewards (probably because he knew what the words on the wall said), but that he would intrepert the words nonethless. First he reminds Belshazzar of his father and how in his arrogance he was humbled by God, but that Belshazzar has not followed suit. He then tells him that the hand was sent by God to write these words:
“And this is the writing that was inscribed: Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin. This is the interpretation of the matter: Mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; Tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
Belshazzar gives the rewards to Daniel, but it is too late for him. That night his kingdom was taken over by Darius the Mede.
The story of how Darius took over is interesting as well, but it is not recorded biblically. This is just one example of a very interesting story that is in the bible, and I encourage you to dig in and find the rest. God has blessed us with his word, his truth, and his character- in story form. I also hope that when you read it, you understand the story as above, and not have a dry reading where you don’t really get to hear the story. May The Lord bless you in this.
Suggested Daily Reading: Daniel 1-5
May we become better students of the word.