So Daniel was brought before the king, and the king said to him, “Are you Daniel, one of the exiles my father the king brought from Judah? I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you and that you have insight, intelligence and outstanding wisdom. The wise men and enchanters were brought before me to read this writing and tell me what it means, but they could not explain it. Now I have heard that you are able to give interpretations and to solve difficult problems. If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.” Daniel 5:13-16 (NIV).
When we last read about Daniel, he had been made a high official in Nebuchadnezzar’s administration, this after repeated interpretations of dreams and standing up for faith in God. The new king, however, doesn’t seem to know who Daniel is, nor does Belshazzar seem to be aware of the things God had done for Nebuchadnezzar. Perhaps this incident occurred early in Belshazzar’s reign. Or, perhaps Belshazzar really isn’t that smart; after all, he consulted the spiritual “experts” of Babylon (who, like experts today, really weren’t expert in much).
To me, all this is believable. Yes, pop culture, the internet, and nay-sayers all contend this story is fiction, but I reject that. It’s believable (and, I believe, actual history) because our own world is quick to forget things we or our immediate ancestors knew too well. Police generally keep law and order. Freedom must be won in every generation or it fades. God is the ultimate and only source of our liberties. Controlled economies don’t generally work for long. Hard work usually pays off. Racism of any kind is wrong. Drug use destroys. We all bleed red and the burial flag covers all who serve no matter what they look like. No, I’m not here to contend politics: the previous statements are my opinions based in (prior) commonly understood truths.
But truths they are. We aren’t so different from the people of ancient Babylon. Scheming queens still whisper into the ears of naïve kings (or presidents) because they sense something is amiss. And yet, rising above all our pettiness is the Lord. The same Lord who breathed Adam into life from dust, who saved Israel from Egypt (and, soon, from Babylon and Persia), who died and rose after the cross is the same Lord we pray to every day. HE is unchanging. Because He is the constant, Daniel’s words are reliable and true.
For further reading: Genesis 41:15, Esther 2:5-6, Daniel 5:17
Lord, I believe all You reveal in Your holy Word is true and right. Thank You for not changing, for always being our constant.
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