November 28

Daniel 5:1-31

By this time Daniel had been in Babylon close to 70 years. He was aged and no longer in a position of prominence in the palace.

Belshazzar was the grandson of King Nebuchadnezzar and co-regent with his father Nabonidus.

The party’s on, a thousand in number, mocking the living God with the vessels taken from the Temple, led by someone who should have known better. In the middle of their idolatrous feast, a hand appears and writes on the wall…it’s the hand of God. The king and his company suddenly transition from mocking to shaking in their boots. Their hearts sink, what can this mean? None of the “wise-men” know. In desperation her memory is jogged, the queen remembers someone able to help. I love the way she describes Daniel.

Daniel 5:11–12 (NKJV) “There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers. 12 Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.”

The formerly brazen king met a bold Daniel who scolded Belshazzar for not acknowledging the fact that the LORD, the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, not them. 

Daniel 5:22 (NKJV) “But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this.”

Daniel rebukes the king for the self-confidence he had – for history tells us that the Medo-Persians were on the move, surrounding Babylon, but the king considered his kingdom invincible. Daniel tells him, the writing’s on the wall, the number of your days are done, you didn’t measure up, the kingdom will be stripped from you and given to the Medes and Persians. Sure enough, that night, it all went down!

Halley’s Bible Handook, “Until 1853, no mention of Belshazzar had been found in Babylonian records; Nabonidas (556-539 B.C.) was known to have been the last king of Babylon. To the critics this was one of the evidences that the book of Daniel was not historical. But in 1853 an inscription was found on the cornerstone of a temple built by Nabonidas in Ur, which read: “May I, Nabonidas, king of Babylon, not sin against thee. And may reverence for thee dwell in the heart of Belshazzar, my firstborn, favorite son. From other inscriptions it has been learned that Nabonidas spent much of his time outside of Babylon (at Teman in northern Arabia), that Belshazzar was in control of the army and the government as coregent with his father, and that it was he who surrendered to Cyrus. This explains how making Daniel the “third ruler” in the kingdom was the highest honor Belshazzar could bestow (5:16, 29).”

It’s critical for us to to know that God rules in the kingdom of men, and in our own lives as well. It’s not us. He gives us everything we have, He keeps our heart beating, He grants us life and provision every single day, without Him we’re done! We must guard our hearts with the realization of Daniel’s declaration:

Daniel 5:23b (NKJV) “…and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified.”

2 Peter 2:1-22

We now arrive to this pastoral place where-in Peter writes to protect the people from wolves in sheep’s clothing. You’ll notice a parallel between 2 Peter and Jude. Peter writes prophetically, “…there will be false teachers among you…” while Jude, pulling from Peter, writes after the fact in Jude 4, “…for certain men have crept in unnoticed…”

Peter calls them false prophets, people Jesus warned us of in:

Matthew 7:15 (NKJV) “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”

Matthew 24:11 (NKJV) “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.”

Peter points out that “many will follow their destructive ways.” These prophets for profit, greedy for gain, denying even the Lord who bought them (that’s Jesus).

The truth is, there are many ministers who are only in it for the money, which is why I try to warn people to stay away from those churches or teachers that manipulate for money and solicit for funds, taking offering after offering. We at Calvary Chapel do provide the people an opportunity to give to the Lord once a week, but we don’t ever beg for bucks. We’ve been taught and believe that where God guides, God provides (Philippians 4:19).

Peter warns these false prophets and teachers that God will judge them and anyone who follows them. Peter proves his point with Old Testament examples of times when God judged the wicked and spared the righteous. Peter mentions the angels who were judged; he mentions the world that was judged. And then there’s the example of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 – God rained down fire and brimstone but graciously delivered Lot and his daughters. Lot is an interesting character who put himself in that place of temptation and in the process tormented his own soul. How we need to be careful and cautious in choosing where we “live.”

The primary lesson?

2 Peter 2:9 (NKJV) “then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment.”

Peter compares these guys to brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed – to the prophet Balaam who perished in his pursuit of money. These so called leaders promise people freedom while they themselves are still in bondage, they’re wells without water unable to help anyone spiritually.

A heavy warning is issued in 2 Peter 2:20, that a person who has escaped the pollutions of the world through the Lord Jesus can actually return to the world and fall away. That sounds bad enough, but Peter says if that happens…the latter end is worse than the beginning.

2 Peter 2:20–21 (NLT) “And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. 21 It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life.”

Sandy Adams explains the warning, “The false prophet did not necessarily begin with a false start. Sincere men can sour. Men set free from the power of sin can soar upwards or slide backwards. A man who does not add to his faith will return to his sin.”

I’ve always been taught by Pastors Chuck Smith and Raul Ries that we are eternally secure as we abide (rest, remain) in Jesus Christ (John 15:1-7; 1 John 5:13). As I read the Scriptures I wholeheartedly agree.

And God, who knows the end from beginning, knew their entire journey would end as beasts.

Psalm 119:113-128

We’re not sure who wrote this chapter, but whoever it was, they loved the Word of God, and of course its ultimate Author.

He found hope in the Word, with a heart to keep and obey it. It was through this Word he’d be upheld and protected from the wicked. The Psalmist had a healthy fear of God and His Word and (as we’ve read before) his eyes failed, from seeking the Word (Psalm 119:123).

The Psalmist prayed for God to teach him, for God to give him understanding, to know God’s testimonies.

When I read Psalm 119:126 I think of the times we now live in!

Psalm 119:126 (NKJV) “It is time for You to act, O LORD, for they have regarded Your law as void.”

In this world, things are going from bad to worse in light-speed fashions, the days are dark, the antichrist spirit is strong, it’s not merely unbiblical, it’s antibiblical, even in the church! O LORD, it seems to me that it’s time for You to act.

But we trust You…we trust Your timing.

Proverbs 28:19-20

Proverbs 28:19 (NKJV) “He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows frivolity will have poverty enough!”

Frivolity basically means a “lack of seriousness.” The Hebrew word speaks of chasing daydreams, and empty things. This passage is almost identical to Proverbs 12:11 – repeated for emphasis. 

“A farmer who works hard will have plenty to eat (cf.  Proverbs 27:18). In contrast with the diligent, the indolent {wanting to avoid activity or exertion; lazy} who chase their fantasies will not get their work done and will have their fill of poverty, not food (cf. Proverbs 14:23).” – Bible Knowledge Commentary

The Hebrew word (yisba) is used for both: the hard worker will have plenty of bread. The lazy man, not willing to work, who chases his daydreams will have plenty of poverty.

Proverbs 29:20 (NKJV) “A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.”

“The way to become richly blessed is by being faithful (“trustworthy”), not by using get-rich-quick schemes. Being eager to get rich often leads to devious, dishonest ways (cf. Proverbs 13:11; 20:21) resulting in the person being punished either by the courts or by poverty or both (cf. 28:22).” – Bible Knowledge Commentary

A faithful man will abound with blessings, but faithful men are hard to find.

Psalm 12:1 (NKJV) “Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases! For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.”

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