The queen, hearing the voices of the king and his nobles, came into the banquet hall. “May the king live forever!” she said. “Don’t be alarmed! Don’t look so pale! There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the time of your father he was found to have insight and intelligence and wisdom like that of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners. He did this because Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar, was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.” Daniel 5:10-12 (NIV).
In church yesterday, the pastor reminded us to always be cautious about taking only a single verse in the Bible and quoting it out of context. I try to be careful in doing these blog posts, but I’ll admit I sometimes get it wrong. Yet, here, it’s especially important to both read the few verses (to isolate the queen’s words and analyze them for meaning) but also to remember how they came to be. This section of Daniel takes place when Daniel and all Israel are slaves in Babylon. God allowed King Belshazzar’s ancestor, Nebuchadnezzar, to destroy Jerusalem (including God’s Temple) and haul the Israelites back into slavery, this time in Babylon (recall that Israel had been slaves in Egypt eight hundred to a thousand years before).
The queen who is worried in today’s passage cares very little for the Israelite slaves. She is, however, very concerned about her position as queen of Babylon (for the moment, the most powerful nation on the planet). The queen is wise to what’s happening. She sees her king is upset; she hears the murmuring of the party guests, and she sees that all of this, combined, is a threat to their status quo. The queen doesn’t understand how or why Daniel can do what he does, but she understands he can help; she’s a pagan like the other Babylonians. She has also forgotten Nebuchadnezzar’s proclamations from years before: that there is nobody like the living God, that the living God of Israel IS GOD. Maybe she never knew it in the first place.
What can we learn from this? In the times of our crises, do we really believe this Jesus we say we follow is God and is who He says He is? Within Chapter 5, we’re going to see that Babylon’s world changed in an instant and it was due to the sin of the man at the top. Ours can change just as fast. So, I’ll ask you again: what do you believe?
For further reading: Genesis 41:38, Numbers 12:8, Nehemiah 2:3, Daniel 5:13
Lord Jesus, I believe in You.
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