I believe that God seeks to get people's attention throughout life in a number of ways, some more dramatic than others, all the while trying to avert a fatal destination. We can be hard of hearing sometimes when it comes to God getting our attention. And today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip examines how God tries to wake us up in a number of ways to save our life from destruction.
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That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Thank you. Okay, let's turn to Daniel five as we join Skip Heitzig for today's teaching. People have called September 11th, 2001, a wake up call for our nation, waking us up to the threat of terrorism and the need to strengthen our domestic security, a wake up call. In 1912, when the Titanic took its maiden voyage and it was going through icy waters, several surrounding ships sent messages to the Titanic warning them of icebergs in the water. All of those messages were wake up calls. Hey, be careful.
There's ice where you're at. What you may not know is that the communications officer aboard the Titanic wired back to one of those messages saying, shut up, shut up. You're jamming our signal. I'm busy.
I'm working. Of course, the real wake up call came at 1140 p.m. when that ship struck an iceberg and 1500 lives later on were lost. Here's the deal. They had all the information. They didn't put the information into action.
Information without appropriate action can lead to devastation. In Chapter five of the Book of Daniel, we read about a king named Belshazzar. You've not read about him yet in the Book of Daniel. Belshazzar has all of the information to avert a major disaster, but he does not listen. He's asleep at the wheel.
He needs to wake up. I believe that God seeks to get people's attention throughout life in a number of ways, some more dramatic than others, all the while trying to avert a fatal destination. The Bible says in Romans 13, it's high time to awake out of sleep. Chapter five of the Book of Daniel is essentially an interruption. A party is going on, a cocktail party, a Babylonian cocktail party, and God interrupts the party with some divine graffiti. You know the story, the handwriting on the wall. A hand writes on the wall a message.
The party is interrupted. Let me just give you a few historical thoughts so we can dismiss them, but they're important to the text. For years, in fact, for centuries, the Book of Daniel was ridiculed by professors because of Daniel chapter five. Professors would say things like, well, Belshazzar appears in the Bible in Daniel five, but does not appear anywhere in secular history. In fact, they used to say in secular history, we have the leaders Nebuchadnezzar after him, three successive kings in rather swift order, and then finally the last king of Babylon, Nabonidus, and then the kingdom falls in 539. So King Nabonidus, not King Belshazzar, was the king of Babylon when it fell, yet Daniel five says Belshazzar was the king. So they scoffed, they laughed, saying, well, these Bible nitwits, you can't believe anything they say, and certainly you can't believe in a book that makes people up but never existed historically. All of that scoffing stopped in the year 1854 when they were snooping around archeological digs in southern Iraq, and they found a clay cylinder called the Nabonidus cylinder, and the cuneiform writing that was etched around the circumference was a prayer for long life and health for King Nabonidus and his eldest son, Belshazzar. Now suddenly he emerged out of the archeological earth and all the critics were silenced. And what we have discovered in the last 50 to 100 years is that not only did he exist as the eldest son, he was the king of Babylon placed on the throne by his father Nabonidus while he himself was away from the city.
For 14 of the 17 years of his reign, Nabonidus didn't even live in Babylon. So in his place as second in command, he placed Belshazzar as the king of Babylon. Now why is all that important? It's important because twice in Daniel five, verse seven and verse 16, there's the mention of being the third ruler of the kingdom. Whoever can interpret this weird thing that just happened to me, the king says, I'll make him third ruler of the kingdom. Why third? Why not second?
Because he was second, his dad was first, he was the second, and whoever gets this right can be the third. So when your kids go away to college and some professor mouths off and say, you can't believe the Bible, there's names that are made up and there's history that never really happened. Know that just give it enough time and those professors will get embarrassed. As right now, only about 1% of all archeological knowledge in the Middle East has been uncovered, but they're digging it up every day. So we have in chapter five of Daniel, 31 verses of an interruption from God at a cocktail party. That's how it begins in the first few verses, a wild party, and then a weird picture, and then a wise prophet, and then a weighty announcement. That's how I've divided up this chapter. Well, let's begin our reading in Daniel chapter five, verse one. Belshazzar, the king, made a great feast for a thousand of his lords and drank wine in the presence of the thousand.
That is one big party. While he tasted the wine, and the implication would be he's a little bit tipsy, 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, his concubines might drink from them. Now, hold on for a minute. When it says your father Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar, you've got to understand something. In Aramaic, that's what this is written in, and in ancient Hebrew, there's no word for grandfather. So they would often say father, meaning your ancestor, or it could be your father, it could be your grandfather, it could be your great-grandfather. Same with the word son, just like Jesus is called the son of David, he's not really the son of David, he's the ancestor. David was his ancestor. So you find son, you find father, and it could probably mean grandfather, and I'll explain a little more of that as we go along. Verse 3, then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, plural, and his concubines, again plural, drank from them. They drank wine and praised the gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone. This is quite a party, and it's a very strange party.
You know why? The year, we know definitely from history, the year is 539 BC, it's October on 11th or 12th, October 539 BC. At the very time this party is going underway, the enemy has surrounded the walls of Babylon. The Medes and the Persians are at the gates looking for a way to breach through the walls and overtake the city. They have already sequestered, captured and then sequestered Nabonidus, the king.
Belshazzar, his son, is inside, knows that he's being surrounded. So what do you do? What does the government do when we're down and out? Have a party. Bring in the wine.
So here we have our tax dollars at work. Why a party? Evidently the king can see the sagging morale in the faces of his people. The city's surrounded.
They're going to overtake us. So to boost the sagging morale, he throws a party. And at this party there's a lot of wine, and there's a lot of women, and men can say and do stupid things when they're intoxicated.
And kings as well. I remember as a young believer witnessing two drunks, not exclusively, but I remember especially whenever I would encounter somebody who was drunk and I would try to witness to him and I thought it was so effective. I was being so effective because they cry and they pray, I love you man, and I thought wow man this is awesome.
The next day they had no idea who I was or what happened. On a serious note, here's some facts. Alcohol contributes to 50% of all suicides in this country.
Over 50% of violent crimes, 50% of all traffic accidents involve alcohol, and 60% or more of all emergency room admissions are related to alcohol. So here's the king. They're at a party.
They're having fun. They're praising the gods of all their Babylonian belief systems. And the king has a bright idea. And the king has a bright idea. He's thinking why are we drinking from Dixie cups when there's gold and silver mugs over in that palace that my grandfather Nebuchadnezzar stole from Jerusalem?
Let's take those. Now it wasn't just a bright idea in all fairness. It was an absolute defiance of God. He had information.
You'll notice this as we go through the text. There's certain things this king knows about. But the practice to defy the gods of the peoples that you have taken over was quite a common practice. And so to show the superiority of the Babylonian gods over any other nation, especially when you have another nation wanting to overtake you at that very moment would have been important to him.
It was a calculated insult. So Belshazzar the king is sort of asleep at the wheel of his kingdom and trying to get all of his leaders drunk in a drunken stupor from which they will never wake up because that very night they will be overtaken by the Medes and the Persians. A couple of verses I think are important at this point, especially for this king. I wish he would have known it and lived by it. In Proverbs 31 it reads, it is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine nor princes intoxicating drink.
You need leaders who think clearly when they make decisions for a nation. In Proverbs 20 wine produces mockers. There's a whole room full of mockers here in chapter 5. Liquor leads to brawls.
Whoever is led astray by drink cannot be wise. A wild party in Babylon. Now it gets even more strange in verse 5 from a wild party to a weird picture. 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. And the king's countenance changed and his thoughts troubled him.
Sort of a general statement. Want to know how much it troubled him? Keep reading. 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.
Here goes the parade again. 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. Like Mr. T. And he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom. Now all the king's wise men came but they could not read the writing or make known to the king its interpretation. Then King Belshazzar was greatly troubled. His countenance was changed and his lords were astonished. Several years ago I had the privilege of visiting Babylon and we were taken into a room that was 56 feet wide by 173 feet long. That's a big room. Our guide, archeological guide said, gentlemen, you're standing in the very room where the handwriting on the wall appeared at Belshazzar's feast the night Babylon fell in 539 BC. And what was interesting is you could see toward the bottom where it had not yet been eaten away, it had been uncovered by dirt for years, the plaster still on the walls even as the Bible says is amazing.
Now I don't know if anyone has ever kept a record of the shortest time it takes to sober up an individual but I would say Daniel chapter 5 might be the winning lot. A hand appeared not attached to a body, to an arm, just a hand that wrote something on the walls. Back in 1963 there was a black and white movie called The Crawling Hand.
Do any of you remember that? It was a really a lame movie. But when you're a kid it like scares the pajabbers out of you. It's like this, the plot is there was an astronaut who died and buried and his hand came back from the grave and strangled people. And it just scared me to death. The Crawling Hand.
Well, here's the writing hand on the wall. And the Bible so vividly describes what we know would happen medically that a dream would rush into the king's body and that would prime that fight or flight reflex that we get. Makes a person often sick to their stomach and their heart pumps. He's nervous. He's fearful. It says he was astonished. His countenance changed and his lords were astonished. Now this king's fear came from his guilt. He knows what's happening outside the walls of the city. But he also knows something about his grandpa Nebuchadnezzar and how God humbled him and the reputation of God in the kingdom of Babylon well attested to in Babylonian history. And I think that when a person is guilty he sees all of life through that lens.
Our conscience is able to make cowards of us all. If you're not walking right with the Lord. Remember Adam and Eve? It says God came to them after they sinned in the cool of the day and called for them. And when God called for them what did they do? They ran. They fled. They didn't do that before. When God called to go walking with him in the cool of the day it's like hey God showed up let's have a walk.
Awesome. But after they sinned now they're feeling guilt and they interpret all of life's events through that lens of guilt as does this king. So the same routine he did in the middle of the day.
This is this king. So the same routine he brings all of these lame soothsayers of Babylon who cannot read the inscription. Now I know somebody's going to ask me well why couldn't they even read? They may not be able to interpret what it means but why couldn't they read what it says?
Either it was some sort of ideogram pictogram cuneiform looking figure that they were unfamiliar with or some suggest rather than the script being in Aramaic which they were prolific in it could have been in Hebrew which Daniel would have known from his upbringing in Jerusalem. Either way this gives to us an incredible picture of the natural man. You know what I mean by natural man? The Bible calls a natural man not a guy who doesn't wear deodorant or eats granola. A natural man is who we are by nature as fallen human beings apart from Jesus Christ.
Unsaved people are called the natural man the natural woman. And it says in 1st Corinthians chapter 2 the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God. They are foolishness to him nor can he know them. They are spiritually discerned. That's why unbelievers they hear a sermon they hear a scripture they go I don't quite get this. They can't figure it out. And here in Daniel 5 is a revelation from God. Daniel will be able to figure it out.
They can't figure it out. It's a picture of the natural man. I can't resist this. Can you think of another instance in the Bible where God writes something? John chapter 8 they bring to Jesus a woman caught in adultery and they say the law says that this woman must be stoned. What do you say? You know what Jesus said?
Nothing. He bent down on the ground and took his finger and started writing in the sand and they saw what he was writing and they all walked away convicted. The question has always been what did Jesus write? Answer we don't know.
It didn't say. Maybe he wrote their names and their secret sins. Shlomo, lust. Shlomo looked at it and go whoa I'm out of here.
Avi, greed. Maybe he just started unveiling their secret indiscretions or perhaps just a thought he wrote on the ground what you're about to read in this chapter. You've been weighed in the balances and found lacking. It would have certainly been a story they as Jewish leaders were familiar with and would have gotten the point. But either way they could not interpret in this chapter what this is all about.
So they are scared. I have a question for you. Could there be handwriting on the wall in your life? That is has God been trying to get your attention for a while? Maybe a crisis. Maybe a close call. An accident.
But you're still here. Maybe a family related crisis. A work related crisis. You know some people need sort of a shaking before God really gets a person's attention. In a crisis the first question you're tempted to ask is how can I get out of this? Here's a new question you need to ask. What can I get out of this? Is God trying to say anything to me?
And if so what? So a wild party. A weird picture. And now a wise prophet. Verse 10. The queen. Interesting the queen. Who is the queen?
Can't be his wife because it says in verse 2 that all his wives were at the party drinking it up with him. So just keep that thought in your mind. The queen because of the words of the king and his lords came to the banquet hall.
She hadn't been there till now. The queen spoke saying oh king live forever. Do not let the thoughts trouble you or 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 or grandfather 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. In as much as an excellent spirit knowledge understanding interpreting dreams solving riddles explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called and he will give the interpretation. Then Daniel was brought before the king. The king spoke and said to Daniel are you that Daniel who was one of the captives from Judah who my father the king brought from Judah. I've heard of you that the spirit of God is in you 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 the writing and make known to me its interpretation but they could not give the interpretation of the thing. I think Daniel's yawning about now he's heard these speeches before and I have heard of you that you can give the interpretation 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 third ruler in the kingdom. It's amazing to me that Belteshazzar the king of Babylon either didn't know who Daniel was or knew who Daniel was and has up to this point completely ignored him. He certainly knew about the incident of his grandfather losing his mind but Daniel is absent from this.
He didn't even come to the feast. He's not in their club the drunk leaders club. He's not a part of that club but later on he is summoned and he calls. He calls.
He's been called and he comes. Now what you have here is a picture of the world the natural man and the Christian. The world doesn't want to hear what Christians have to say.
They certainly don't want to hear what preachers have to say. It's funny when I go to places and people introduce themselves and what do you do? I'm a doctor or I'm an engineer. What do you do? I'm a pastor. Oh they don't even know what to do with that in some cases. But you have already felt this in your life where people really aren't interested in what you believe as a Christian.
They don't even really care about what you think or have to say until the bottom drops out of their life and they'll come to you. That concludes Skip Heitzig's message from the series, I Dare You. Find the full message as well as books, booklets and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Right now we want to share about a great resource that helps you draw even closer to the Lord as you fall in love with studying scripture. So it's another new year and you've resolved to study through the entire Bible again. Very often somewhere around 2 Chronicles that wonderful goal can grind to a halt.
Well this year can be different. We have a package of resources with an excellent strategy for successfully studying through all 66 books this year. It includes Skip Heitzig's book The Bible from 30,000 Feet which lifts you to a new biblical altitude to help you get a new view of the full counsel of God's word. Make 2023 the year you truly make it through a solid survey of the entire scope of scripture.
This package also includes Skip's super accessible book How to Study the Bible and Enjoy It along with The Bible from 30,000 Feet. Both are our thanks when you give $50 or more today to help reach more people through Connect with Skip Heitzig. Skip has asked the team at Connection Communications to make it a priority in 2023 to take daily messages as you've heard today and expand them into more metropolitan areas. It is obvious that the population centers of our nation are in deep need of hearing the truth and that is exactly our plan for the future with Skip's teachings. Will you help us make that happen? Call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. That's connectwithskip.com slash offer. Come back again tomorrow as Skip continues his teaching from Daniel chapter five and examines how every one of us will be called to account for how we responded to God's voice in our life.
So on that final day that judgment day for a lot of people the party is over but for other people the party's just begun. Make a connection. Make a connection at the foot of the crossing. Cast all burdens on his word. Make a connection. A connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-18 19:10:05 / 2023-01-18 19:19:36 / 10