Chapter 4 of the book of Daniel can be summarized in this short commentary. Once again, the king had a dream and called on Daniel to reveal it. And he did, however, the king didn’t heed to it. A year later, the dream came to pass and the king lived like an animal for seven years.
The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.
-Daniel 4:30-31, 33 NKJV
And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding (sanity) returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, “What have You done?” At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.
-Daniel 4:34-37 NKJV
The moral of the story is listen to wise counsel. God will do as He said, even when we think He has forgotten. The timing is always the tricky part to discerning His heart, but He was clear and the king thought it was exempt. I love this last verse of the chapter which says, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.”
Since this chapter was shorter, I’m going to give you a double feature.
Chapter 5: Writing on the wall
Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his Lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand. While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his Lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them.
In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other.The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. The king spoke, saying to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck; and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”
The queen, because of the words of the king and his Lords, came to the banquet hall. The queen spoke, saying, “O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts trouble you, nor let your countenance change. There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers. Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.”
I have heard of you, that the Spirit of God is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you. Now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not give the interpretation of the thing. And I have heard of you, that you can give interpretations and explain enigmas. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”
Then Daniel answered, and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another; yet I will read the writing to the king, and make known to him the interpretation. O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor. And because of the majesty that He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whomever he wished, he executed; whomever he wished, he kept alive; whomever he wished, he set up; and whomever he wished, he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses.
“But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this. And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your Lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified. Then the fingers of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written.
“And this is the inscription that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” Then Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.
That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.
-Daniel 5:1-2, 5-7, 10-12, 14-31 NKJV
The king made a choice that later cost him his life. One could say God seems harsh, but as Daniel explained, he knew better and chose not to do better: “And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified.” This is something every one of us needs to remember. Our Heavenly Father who holds our breathe has to remain the main source in our lives, or we become our own god. When we become the center of our lives, we start to forget the One who holds the sustainability of our lives.
But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him.
-Daniel 5:20 NKJV
But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this.
-Daniel 5:22 NKJV.
I’m sure you have heard the saying, “Give honor to whom honor is due.”
It’s never us! He is the Creator and Giver of our abilities. Yes, we have to work at them, but it’s really God moving through us, as Daniel has expressed over and over. He is the giver of wisdom. Most people want to take the credit, but I have to tell you, there is something so liberating when you give the credit back to Him. We want to be full of the fruits of the spirit, not full of ourselves. We will not go as far or have as much lasting impact otherwise. Yes, we can do good things and be kind people, but living from a place of an eternal perspective just hits so much deeper. It just feels right. I believe it was our destiny to live and see that way since the beginning. Adam and Eve got to walk with the Father daily. There was no disconnection. We have to be so much more intentional to find the eternal heart beat within. Once we do, we feel the fullness that’s been waiting to unlock inside of us. And, it’s oh so invigorating!!!!
I hope you have enjoyed walking through these chapters of Daniel together. Let’s continue this for next month.
Until next time,
Connect the Mender
Be a Sender