Daniel 5 has a change of kings. Nebuchadnezzar is dead after a long rule, and a few new kings have sat on the throne with short reigns. But as Belshazzar now sits on the throne, something strange happens. He is living it up in pride and celebration of himself. “Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace”. That’s a bit strange. A hand comes out and writes on the wall in the palace opposite the lampstand. God’s sending a pretty direct message to this new king.
No one can figure out what it means. The king calls his regular ‘wise guys’ to tell him but they have no idea. In order to get a wider net and to get them to try harder because it really bothered him, he says “Whoever reads this writing, and shows me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold….be the third ruler in the kingdom.” Pretty good incentives for someone to figure it out, but it doesn’t happen. The queen reminds him of Daniel and what he had done earlier.
So Daniel is called and asked to read the writing. The big offer is laid on the table for money and power. But Daniel says “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another”. He’s not interested in the money. Daniel gives a rather direct and condemning interpretation. The previous king had spent time in the fields “when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne”. Sin got in the way.
And now “you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven….praised the gods” and sinned. Pride continues to be a problem and is going to bring this king down as well. Daniel’s interpretation didn’t take long to come to fruition. “That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed”. God expects us to deal with our sin and get right with Him. There is a real price to be paid. Have you dealt with yours?