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The Finger of God (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
June 11, 2021 4:00 am

The Finger of God (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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June 11, 2021 4:00 am

The expression “The writing’s on the wall” warns of impending misfortune. In his Babylonian palace, Belshazzar saw the writing—but did the pagan king get the message? Find out when you listen to Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.



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The many of us have heard the expression, the handwriting is on the wall. It signifies impending misfortune. But did you know that that phrase originates in the book of Daniel today on Truth for Life. Alastair beg introduces us to belch hazard the pagan king of Babylon, whose behavior warranted a personal message from God. Let's read the Bible from Daniel chapter 5, King Belshazzar made a great feast for thousand of his lords and drank wine in front of the thousand repetitions Belshazzar when he tasted the wine commanded of the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar, his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem.

We brought the king and his lords, his wife's and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought in the golden vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem and the king and his lords, his wife's and his concubines drank from them drank wine and praise the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone. Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace opposite the lampstand and the king saw the hand as it wrote, then the king's color changed, and his thoughts alarmed him. His limbs gave way and his knees knocked together.

The king called loudly to bring in the enchanters there called me and said the astrologers, the king declared to the wise men of Babylon. Whoever reads this writing shows me his interpretation shall be clogged with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom than all the kings wise men came in by the good not read the writing or make known to the king the interpretation. Then King Belshazzar was greatly alarmed. This color changed and his lords were perplexed. The Queen because of the words of the king and his lords came into the banqueting hall and the Queen declared okay and live forever. Let not your thoughts. Alarmed, you are your color change that is a manager kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy guards in the days of your father light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the guards were found in him and King Nebuchadnezzar your father your father the king made in chief of the magicians enchanters called the incident, astrologers because an excellent spirit, knowledge and understanding to interpret dreams explain riddles and solve problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Delta Shatzer now let Daniel be called and he will show the interpretation.

Then Daniel was brought in before the king make the boatlift to me oh Lord, show me your self within your word. Show me myself and show me my Savior and make the boatlift to me for Jesus sake. Amen. Well, when we begin a new chapter. It is important that we pay attention to the chapter that is just ended and the way in which it is ended will notice the 37th verse of chapter 4 as Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges that God the King of heaven and all of his works he is right.

His ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble and it is of course an explanation of the reality of that then follows here in chapter 5 is important to keep in mind, hence my repetition that the audience for this book was primarily people. First of all, at least, who were exiles who were understandably fearful of the power of the force that held them in its grip and they then were looking beyond themselves to find security in an environment that for them was pretty chaotic and unsure and uncertain I think we said on each occasion that is not hard for us to realize that as we part of the larger church of Jesus Christ throughout the world identify with our brothers and sisters.

The many, many thousands who today are under threat of death on account of their own faith and some of us the sub level find ourselves destabilized by the possibilities of external attack.

Internal collapse, government interference, persecution, and all of these different elements then we would like the exiles from Judah as exiles in a world that is broken need again to hear this message and so in chapter 5 we have a record of this man, Bell Shatzer's name actually means old Dell protects me, which is an irony in itself, and he is not actually the physical son of Nebuchadnezzar's father was now tinnitus are not an interest and there have been three or four kings between the time of Nebuchadnezzar and the arrival of Bell Shatzer on the scene. It was 70 years earlier that Nebuchadnezzar had brought these vessels that are referred to here in the opening section out of the temple of God, out of the house of God and installing them away in Ezra in the opening chapter of Ezra Ezra tells us that the number of these vessels was vast. He records that there were some 5400 of these vessels is not as if he brought some cut. There are a couple of of wineglasses. It was a wholesale reading of the temple of God and the symbols of the honoring of God and the sanctity of the name of God were all gathered up, stolen, brought away and put in the temple of the Babylonian gods as a signal to the people that our Babylonian guards are stronger than that.

God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. After all, he couldn't even protect his own vessels. He apparently couldn't protect his own people, and here we have them on display for everybody to see. I wrote in my notes as I head and I have a number of headings are perhaps tell you as I go along.

By first heading was in the in the putting it in the mouth of the Bell Shatzer it's my party and I'll drink if I want to and I I thought that I was a fairly apt summary of what we have before us here. It's a similar scene to the banquet scene in the book of Esther, where you will remember that the King Xerxes. On that occasion gets more than a little tipsy gets way beyond himself and decides that it is a wonderful opportunity for him to parade his wife as if it was a kind of fashion display amongst all of his friends who been drinking with him at the banquet. She of course refuses and then the story unfolds from there. Well, at the Queen in this instance I think is the Queen Mother you can research that on your own, but it is in this context that this individual. Bell Shatzer has not simply taken these things from the store house, but he has now employed them in a way that simply denigrates their significance. That's what it really means. Are you wouldn't do this with these things. Not if you cared about why they were there and to whom they belong. And so it is that not only are they drinking out of them. But as presumably they get a little more jazzed. They then use the opportunity to praise the gods of gold and silver and bronze and iron in the mood and of stone and you can picture the sort of uncontrollable scene as it begins to develop.

As the evening goes on.

A large crowd of people. A thousand people around number for a really big group of people and he's in his position of great authority and significance indeed leads the people in the charge as his wife's areas his concubines there and everybody would've looked as aware of the talk table and said Mayor Milo to be Bell Shatzer. What an amazing thing it is so powerful, so magnificent, so vastly wealthy, such a great and an amazing king, incidentally, were told by the historians that under normal circumstances, the king and his immediate entourage would actually have been sequestered from the main crowd a bit like when you go to these political junkets.

You know you're invited to go for 10,000 you can get in the garden for 20,000 you can get in the house for 25,000. You can have a photograph for 50,000 you might actually see the person and 400,000 you might be able to have a little bit of dessert with him while I was the kind of approach that they had then sold for the king to come out and go mainstream was in many ways an expression of his complete abandon.

He was glad to be seen.

In this way, he was glad to do these things is my party. I'll drink if I want. Secondly, I wrote down quoting Luther to his written by his finger to his written by his finger because verse five says immediately. The fingers of a human hand appear remember Luther's great him a mighty Fortress is our God, and the lines God's word for all their craft in force. One moment will not linger, but spite of hell shall have its course is written with his finger and Luther is simply picking up on the anthropomorphism which is part and parcel of the biblical record.

You don't have to look very far for it. Remember in the plagues of Egypt. The magicians at one point say to Pharaoh concerning the plague of gnats which they have endeavored to deal with unsuccessfully. They say to Pharaoh.

This is the finger of God, because God does not have a finger in anthropomorphism.

Moses is then given two tablets upon which are given the 10 Commandments, which are written with the finger of God. The psalmist looks out on a beautiful scene like this, presumably, and he says and when I consider the heavens, the work of your fingers. Would your day get this amazing juxtaposition on your we let this man Belshazzar who in front of the thousand is apparently in control of all world I'm on top of the world looking down on creation and it only takes the movement of God's little finger to completely change the scene in its entirety is what it says immediately. Immediately the fingers cause-and-effect. God is a patient God is patient does not limit his patients is not limitless, and immediately the fingers of human hand appeared and wrote on the plus robes of the lampstand and the king seeing the hand as it wrote was completely freaked out that stated the bag paraphrase his color changed presumably to a whiter Shade of pale. His thoughts alarmed him. His limbs gave way. He was completely unhinged. His knees knock together is a pathetic scene is past fatigue Allah frosts it is pathetic. It defines pathetic. I don't know what it must've been like for them as I was pondering this again this morning and thinking about it and I don't want to play off this as if to say this with the greatest respect, but it made me think of that dreadful scene back now.

In 1992 when George Pres. 41st president. Remember, was on a 10 day trip to Japan and in Tokyo at a banquet given in his honor.

He threw up on the table and then there is video on YouTube where all of a sudden he disappears and slides under the table. That's not a good look for the leader of the free world any caring person's heart went out to him and that my heart doesn't really go out to Oakville Shatzer here in the same way. I mean EEs getting his comeuppance on this one can I say this in a mixed audience what it actually says here in the Hebrew is he wet his pants. That's a totally totally trashing words by what he saw remotely funny and it is just about striking a pose in front of your wife's in your concubines and your invited guests, so were familiar with this knowledge. Color changed.

His thoughts alarmed him. His limbs gave ways, knees, knock together, and the king called loudly to bring in here with our boys are coming down the if I was send this to music.

I would have a little theme Jr below the third two something like that okay and we would all not merely come there on the way and they come, and the king declares you know, here we go. You know you if you can pull this one off. You got a really nice outfit. Another big gold chain and a number three in the kingdom okay and then we all had a look at it and Camille said can be done and then can belch as it was greatly alarmed.

I to get up even further in his color changed. Who knows what his color is not he is no color at all and that is his and his lords were perplexed. Everybody knows this is not good.

Remember now my with the cupbearer to the king. Remember, the king says NYU looking sad now mile because no one had been sad in the king's presence before why because sadness in the king's presence was taboo. You don't want to appear sad. In case you're up to something and they may just take your head off just because he doesn't like the look of your everybody needs to be cheering for the king but the Lords were perplexed. Third, heading in my notes. Even big kings need to listen to their mothers, even big kings need to listen to their mothers with attribute in passing through the memory of my mother and to the role played by mothers in our world many things in life come in twos and threes, but you only get one mother in the world.

Only one mom in the whole world listen listen to your mother's listen to your mother's and he had to listen to his mother and her access speaks to the fact that presumably she was, as I suggest his mom and fight him hanging my head in on that fact, and she is able to speak directly to him. She appears as a result of the noise and chaos that is been going on the banqueting all is says that in verse 10, the because of the words of the king and his lords.

He shouting their responding she came into the banqueting hall and the Queen declared good start looking live forever. That's, that's nice. Let not your thoughts alarmed you or your color change.

Easy for you to say here we go.

There is a man in your kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy God's you see how these pagans. They don't know what to do with God's man. It says it happens to ours as well.

Isn't it that the people don't understand what it is about the true believer that the they don't understand what it means to have been invaded by God to be filled with the spirit of God to be directed by the word of God so they will often say those kind of things so whatever it is, as always happens to me on the golf course if you had a decent shot. They always say you see there you go.

That's because you're in touch with God, and I always tell them know God told me a long time ago.

He has nothing total to do with me on the golf course and my game makes up perfectly clear to everybody, but they just don't know what to do. He is filled with the spirit of the holy God and in the days of your father. He says he gave light and understanding and this Daniel is by now, probably in his 80s. There is a man in your kingdom is an excellent spirit. He has knowledge. He is understanding to interpret dreams explained little or so problems they were found in Daniel when the king named Delta's as an outlet.

Daniel be called and he will show the interpretation amazing conviction on the part of the greenest you go get Daniel.

He's is that he's God's man. I can fully explain it but I'm sure he's your man. I don't know where he was neither do you were not told in his 80s, maybe walking his dog. Who knows, maybe just sitting on a rocking chair and they came and found them a Daniel still do not little stuff. I am going to for a while yet. Would you still have it in your mate if you got it I got interpretation and you I don't know what's the deal Lobel shatters completely freaked out over the palace.

There's been the handwriting on the wall, his mother's going nuts on the whole thing is is going pear-shaped and that she suggested to the king that you come up there.

Will you come up you will give me a low chance you might have to get a golf cart for me because I'm not as evident as I was like yeah I'll I'll get up there. My next setting was Belshazzar shows no respect despite his predicament that Danny was brought in before the king and the king answered and said to Daniel, you're like Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah. I've heard that you can give interpretations and solve problems. Now if if you can read the writings.

So, are you not know absolutely convinced his mother says if you bring a menu builder to the will of Herod that you do this and that we are know you're one of the boys from of all but the if you can, then you get a new purple jumpsuit and a chain of gold around your neck and you'll be third in the ruler of the kingdom is this collectively for his arrogance is amazing.

Arrogant people I've discovered a really arrogant clever idea that I can figure stuff I got up this fellow has started off with a great display of his Majesty. He has been reduced to a quivering mass of humanity. He is now confronted by the servant of the most high God and he still arrogant he's still dismissive. The one person who holds out the possibility of an answer for him. He continues to dismiss.

In this way, we often say, don't we.

Can you believe that people react and act in that way. This godlessness spirit of the age listening to Truth for Life with Alister bag, one of a message today titled the finger of God. Alister will conclude the study on Monday. The handwriting on the wall became a wake-up call for Bill Chesser and perhaps we can all relate to that. This past year has reminded each of us of the brevity of life for many, the reality of eternity has been brought into clearer focus.

People all of a sudden have newly inspired interest to find out what happens when we die. That's why your partnership with Truth for Life is so important Truth for Life would not be heard without your financial and prayerful support during the month of June were asking you to invest in this ministry by becoming a truth partner. When you join the team of faithful true partners will be invited to request Alister's latest book titled brave by faith God -sized confidence in a post-Christian world. This is a realistic and yet positive book that examines the first seven chapters from the book of Daniel and shows us how we are to live bravely confidently and obediently in an increasingly secular society, you'll be reminded that God is powerful and sovereign, and even in the midst of circumstances that seem to be prevailing against us, we can trust him entirely request a copy of waived by faith you become a truth sign-up@truthforlife.org/crew or call us at 888-588-7884 Bob Lapine hope you enjoy your weekend and are able to spend time worshiping with your local church and then join us Monday as Alister talks about why a clear understanding of history can help us keep from making wrong choices Bible teaching of Alister bag is furnished by Truth for Life learning is from


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