19 Because of the high position he gave him, all the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled. 20 But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. 21 He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes.
Most of us are familiar with the story of King Nebuchadnezzar and how being so very powerful he came to look upon himself as a God, his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, and it was then he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox. All because his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride. Something to think about when we are feeling prideful and arrogant is it not.
And this chapter is not really about him, instead it is about his son King Belshazzar who gave a great party (banquet). They drank wine from the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem (v2). He and those at the party compounded their error when as they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone (v4).
Now remember because of Nebuchadnezzar’s arrogant and prideful heart he was punished until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes.
Belshazzar was having none of that, he was praising the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone. That’s when it happened
5 Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. 6 His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking.
No one could read it or rather translate. Everyone was called who might tell him what was written on the wall, none could do so. That is until Daniel, whom Nebuchadnezzar called Belteshazzar was called. He not only translated it, but gave an explanation for it because Belshazzar learned nothing from the lesson his father had been taught
23 Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. 24 Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.
So Daniel told him what the words were and what they meant.
26 “Here is what these words mean: Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
27 Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
28 Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
The son continued the arrogance and pride of the father, only he made it worse and was found unteachable. As a result his kingdom fell that night. Where will your pride and arrogance lead you this weekend? Will you be at church acknowledging our Creator in all of His awesomeness. Acknowledging His incredible love and grace through His son Jesus? Where will your heart be?