Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom. Daniel 5:29 (NIV).
This is Belshazzar’s last chance. He has this final opportunity to plead with God, to pray for His mercy, to turn away this terrible swift judgment that is about to descend on his kingdom. Instead, he wastes it by keeping a foolish vow.
Have you ever had moments like that? Moments when you knew you shouldn’t say something, but you say it anyway. Or moments when you know you shouldn’t be doing something, but you do it anyway. You think about it later, knee deep in the consequences of your actions, and you wish you had done things differently. You’re genuinely sorry for what you said and did, and you want to try to make things right. Only you can’t. The deed is done; the door is closed.
That’s where Belshazzar is in this verse. The door is shutting on him. He knows that, as king and master of the banquet, he has to keep the vow he made to his guests: to reward Daniel (even though Daniel gave him terrifying news). Yet he must also know that the door to repentance is almost shut, that it won’t take long for God to do what He’s about to do to Babylon.
So, like the Pharaoh of Egypt who rewarded Joseph for interpreting the dream about famine, or like Nebuchadnezzar who elevated Daniel above all his other advisors, Belshazzar keeps his word and adorns that same Daniel with symbols of Babylon’s wealth and gratitude. At least Daniel would be dressed well when the Medes showed up a few hours hence.
So, I’ll ask again: have you ever had moments like that? Or are you in one now? When you have the chance to do a right thing and you’re standing at a fork in the road? Standing there, what does God tell you to do? Just before they both died, Jesus saved the criminal hanging next to Him when that man showed real repentance. It wasn’t too late for the criminal on the cross. It’s never too late for us, either…until it is. And we don’t know what tomorrow will hold, or when our time will come. Have you ever had a moment like Belshazzar? And if you’re in one now, deep inside of you, what do you sense God is telling you? God doesn’t lead us to sin. If it’s hard to tell, then seek His counsel and understanding through His Word. He’s speaking somehow; are you listening? Eventually, we each come up to our last chance.
For further reading: Genesis 41:42, 1 Samuel 3:8-9, Daniel 5:30
Speak, Lord. Speak to me in my times of trouble and the moments of each day. Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.
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