It’s amazing how you could develop a picture of a person in your mind by what people say of them. People create strange pictures of pastors. They don’t know the pastor but already have a picture of what a pastor is … then they might hear something from someone who either supports (likes) or perhaps is against (dislikes) the pastor and the picture is created with all the emotions that flow about the “evidence” they have of the pastor. This happened to me often. The last time was a lady who does Jenny’s nails. Once she got to know me and found out I am as human as anyone else, she said that she was so surprised to meet me because she did not know what to expect “from this pastor”. I wonder what went through king Belshazzar’s head regarding Daniel … remember the queen mother had said:
Da 5:11 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. King Nebuchadnezzar your father—your father the king, I say—appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners.
Naturally, none of this was true of Daniel. He was God’s man and in God’s service when required. He was fearless, faithful and fundamental. Did this young king expect a pleasing interpretation to the writing on the wall?
1) Daniel’s picture in the king’s mind.
Da 5:13 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? 14 I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you and that you have insight, intelligence and outstanding wisdom. 15 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. 16 Now I have heard that you are able to give interpretations and to solve difficult problems.
The king examines Daniel …
(1) “are you Daniel …?” He wants to establish Daniel’s credentials for himself and finds out he was one of the exiles from Judah.
(2) “I have heard” … that Daniel is indwelt by “a” spirit of the pagan gods.
(3) My “wise men” saw but could not give me an explanation as to what was written on the wall.
(4) “I have heard” … you are able to give me what I want.
I’m sure you are able to see the picture the king has of Daniel. “They can’t but you can” because “my gods” help you. The gods have turned their backs on the wise men … but they help you. It is necessary to have a good or right picture of the one who will counsel or advise you. The one the king had was wrong. A wrong picture could create expectations. We will see that this king got what he never expected.
2) Daniel’s promise by the king. It is the very same as he promised to the wise man who could provide an accurate interpretation.
Da 5:16 “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.” 17 Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else.”
We have dealt with the promise in that it would be a ceremonial position, although respected by the citizenship. I want to deal with Daniel’s response. It is this sort of thing that makes Daniel the great man he was for us to have a theme such “Dare to be a Daniel”. He is not rude or contemptuous. Neither does he refuse this gifting out of fear from the wise men or his countrymen … after all, he is already part of the management of the state. Neither does he fear losing his life to the king because of the interpretation he provides. This king would have been as maniac as his father was before he acknowledged Daniel’s God as the true Sovereign. He rejected the offering because he had no desire for earthly wealth, personal gain or to satisfy his image. He wants the king to know that he is about to reveal “Truth”. The wise men were after the wealth and accolades. Daniel was after Truth. Beloved, it is right here that the line is drawn between those seeking God’s Kingdom and His Righteousness and those seeking the world. Our Lord said:
Mat 6:31 “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”
Each day has enough trouble of its own. (It might be a good thing to read from verse 1). The Carnal Christian is much like the pagan. Life is all about clothes (designer) and money which to them creates the image for acceptance with the world. It’s not what you are but what you have. Daniel was spiritual. He was serious about God’s Kingdom and God’s practices (His righteousness). This is what the person filled with God’s Spirit needs to seek, not what pleases the world and causes acceptance. The only designer clothing my wife and I have worn or do wear is what we have purchased from the Jumble Sale. The Pep Stores, Ackerman’s and sometimes Woolies suits our purpose. You see that word “worry” in verse 34? The worry is sin … sin because when you worry about what you will eat or what you will wear or where you will live or how you will survive … you immediately eliminate God from the equation! It is then that you display being unspiritual … carnal … not trusting God to provide for your every need (not greed). We live in a secular and materialistic society. The pressure is on! We need to discipline ourselves and especially our children because they are the number one target of our materialistic world. Please understand that if God blesses you with wealth, moderately (like most city and suburban people), or gives you much wealth (being comfortable to very rich), there is nothing wrong or sinful with that. The sin depends on your attitude to and usage of the wealth God blesses you with. A great stabilizer and leveler is … “Do you tithe and do you tithe Biblically?” Jesus gives us a yardstick to measure ourselves against:
Mt 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
Daniel knew who cared for him … do you?
Glorious Father, indeed You are “Jehovah Jireh, my provider” to all who serve You, focusing on Your Kingdom and being part of it and living life the way Your Kingdom’s subjects live as they follow Your righteousness. Grant us a devoted, loving heart. Amen.