Daniel Measured Up

Today’s Reading: Daniel 5-6

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in him at all times.
Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.
Common people are as worthless as a puff of wind,
and the powerful are not what they appear to be.
If you weigh them on the scales, together they are lighter than a breath of air
– Psalm 62:5-9

Have you stepped on the scales lately? I must admit that this winter’s lack of activity was not good for me. I pulled out my spring clothing and found things fitting much tighter than they did last summer. I have started exercising again and am daily stepping on the scales, hoping to see progress towards my weight loss goal. Like it or not, the number on the scales is the reality I am facing and the need to make improvements in my daily habits is evident. I have been weighed on a balance and the truth is speaking louder than my denial.

The days of you being in control are numbered (Mene), you have been weighed (Tekel) on the balances and have not measured up, and your kingdom has been divided (Parsin) and given to someone else. This is the writing on the wall – God’s message to the next King of Babylon, Belshazzar.

King Belshazzar knew his history. He knew that King Nebuchadnezzar’s heart and mind had been puffed up with arrogance and that he was brought down from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. He was driven from human society and made to live like an animal until he learned that the Most High God rules over the kingdoms of the world and appoints anyone HE desires to rule over them. Knowing all of this, King Belshazzar still did not humble himself but proudly defied God by drinking from the cups brought to Babylon from the Temple in Jerusalem (Daniel 5:20-23).

“You have not honored the God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny! So God has sent this hand to write this message. This is the message that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN” (Daniel 5:23b-25).

He knew better. He knew what could happen if he put himself and what he wanted above the Most High God. He knew and yet he chose to build his own kingdom instead of honoring God. How often could we be found guilty of the same thing? If we were weighed on a balance would we measure up? When we choose our own way and do our own thing and hope that God will bless our plans, we are fooling ourselves. The days of us being in control of our own life are numbered and the blessings God has poured out on our life can easily be taken away and given to someone else.

Let’s see how Daniel measures up when he is weighed on the balances:

But when the queen mother heard what was happening, she hurried to the banquet hall. She said to Belshazzar, “Long live the king! Don’t be so pale and frightened. There is a man in your kingdom who has within him the spirit of the holy gods. During Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, this man was found to have insight, understanding, and wisdom like that of the gods. Your predecessor, the king – your predecessor, King Nebuchadnezzar – made him chief over all the magicians, enchanters, astrologers, and fortune-tellers of Babylon. This man Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, has exceptional ability and is filled with divine knowledge and understanding. He can interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.” – Daniel 5:10-12

The queen mother was not a believer and yet she knew the difference in Daniel. She knew that Daniel had a holy spirit within him that set him apart from others. Each day we are surrounded by unbelievers and we have the opportunity to let them see something different in us that cannot be found in the hearts of the world – they can see Jesus!

That night King Belshazzar was killed and a new king took his place, King Darius. Just as the writing on the wall foretold, his days were numbered and his kingdom was divided.

Darius the Mede decided to divide the kingdom into 120 provinces, and he appointed a high officer to rule over each province. The king also chose Daniel and two others as administrators to supervise the high officers and protect the king’s interests. Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire.

Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy – Daniel 6:1-4.

Daniel: insight, understanding, wisdom, exceptional ability, filled with divine knowledge and understanding, ability to interpret and solve difficult problems, capable, faithful, always responsible and completely trustworthy. Wow, what a description. When weighed by others, Daniel was found to be all of these things. When weighed by God, Daniel was found humble and faithful and God’s blessings increased in his life.

If we were weighed on a balance would we measure up? If left to our own ability and strength, probably not. But Daniel had something we have even more access to – a Holy Spirit. Being all of these things is not a matter of trying harder and hoping to be something extraordinary, it is a matter of humbling ourselves before God and allowing Him to fill us with Himself so that He can be exactly who He is and we can become just what He created us to be.

Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!
No one can measure his greatness.
– Psalm 145:3

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.
– Psalm 143:10