Daniel 5:5-12 – 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, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers. The king declared to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and shows me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or make known to the king the interpretation. Then King Belshazzar was greatly alarmed, and his 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, “O king, live forever! Let not your thoughts alarm you or your color change. There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods. 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, enchanters, Chaldeans, and 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 Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation.”
When is the last time you were at an epic drunken crazy party? Mardi Gras? New Year’s Eve? College gameday? NFL tailgate party? Bachelor (or bachelorette) party gone wild? Birthday drinking binge? Vegas road trip?
The scene in Daniel 5 is upwards of 15,000 people in the Babylonian equivalent of the White House wearing underwear as outerwear and getting more hammered than a bag of nails on wine drunk from sacred cups stole from God to mock God publicly.
Then, God shows up. When God shows up, people sober up.
Imagine the DJ stopping the tunes, bartenders dropping their bottles, and everyone halting their partying to watch a big finger appear out of nowhere and write something ominous on the wall next to a light that served like a spotlight.
The hand and finger of God are something that Bible teachers call an anthropomorphism. Sometimes, the Spirit God of the Bible reveals Himself in physical terms to help us understand Him. For example, in the Old Testament, God flicked Egypt down with His finger (Exodus 8:19) and also wrote the 10 Commandments in stone with His finger. In the New Testament, Jesus cast out demons with a flick of His finger (Luke 11:20) and wrote something mysterious on the ground with His finger (John 8:9).
Since the revelation on the wall came from God, only someone with the Spirit of God could interpret it. So, the Queen Mother, Nebuchadnezzar’s wife and king Belshazzar’s mom, enters what probably felt like a Scooby Doo episode to offer some wise counsel. She remembered Daniel and his faithful service to their kingdom many years prior. Both king Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:8,9,18) and his wife (5:11) declare that Daniel is Spirit-filled and therefore has God-given supernatural abilities.
The moral of the story is that non-Christians, no matter how much money fame or power they have, still need the help of Spirit-filled believers. Furthermore, character counts. It had been a long time since Daniel was called to serve, but when needed most his character made him the perfect choice.
If you were at this godless party, would you have been more likely to be partying with the majority or, like Daniel, out of the picture unless needed to serve God’s purpose?
In addition to this introduction to and overview of Daniel, you can find the corresponding sermons, daily devotions, men’s ministry resources, and hundreds of additional sermons and Bible teaching resources for free at markdriscoll.org or on the Mark Driscoll Ministries app.
To visit the Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Arizona, you can plan your visit at thetrinitychurch.com.