Daniel 5 is the famous story of the handwriting on the wall. Here is a brief overview of the chapter and what we can learn from it!
*This blog post is a summary from Pastor Bobby’s sermon on 6/26/2022. You can find the sermon video below.
In Daniel 5, we read that King Belshazzar (most likely the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar) is having a great feast with his lords, wives, and concubines. In verse 2, He commands that the golden vessels that were taken from the temple in Jerusalem be brought in, so that they may drink wine from them. After drinking wine, they “praise the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.” (verse 4)
Immediately, the fingers from a human hand appear and write something on the palace’s wall. The king is terrified by this and calls on his wise men to interpret its meaning. No one is able to interpret the writing on the wall, until Daniel is brought in. (Sound familiar?)
Daniel reminds the king of Nebuchadnezzar’s unwillingness to humble himself and how God did it for him. Despite knowing this already, Belshazzar has lifted himself up against God and worshiped idols. The writing on the wall indicates that God is bringing judgment against the king and that his kingdom will fall.
Upon hearing the truth, Belshazzar doesn’t do what we might expect. He doesn’t humble himself, repent, or beg for God’s mercy. Instead, he honors Daniel with royal clothes and gold – a sign that he is still clinging to his idols. That night, he is killed and Darius the Mede takes over the kingdom.
This feast in Daniel 5 takes place while Babylon is under siege. Why would the king be throwing a party while his kingdom is surrounded? One possibility is that he is medicating himself with his default idols.
By nature, we are all worshippers. So, when we experience pain or fear, we either turn to the one true God or we turn to our default idols. We must be intentional in turning to the Lord rather than to the things of this world.
We also see in this chapter that King Belshazzar is told the truth, yet he still refuses to humble himself and repent. Many of us are so addicted to our own way of thinking that we would rather die than admit that we are wrong. We need to be willing to humble ourselves before God and accept that His way is truth – not ours.
Following Christ means dying to ourselves and giving our lives fully to Him. It means following Him and rejecting our idols. This kind of humility requires daily surrender and a willingness to submit to all things to Him.