Daniel 5:17-23 Video Devotional

Then Daniel answered and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another. Nevertheless, I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation. O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father kingship and greatness and glory and majesty. And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive; whom he would, he raised up, and whom he would, he humbled. But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him. He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will. And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored. – Daniel 5:17-23

Once King Belshazzar turned white with fear, the queen was brought in and tried to calm him down by reminding him of Daniel’s gifts and insight that was such a help to his father, Nebuchadnezzar. Belshazzar jumped at the chance to have Daniel come in and help; so much so that he offered fine gifts of a royal nature to Daniel.

Daniel, of course, refused those gifts (he was not about to be paid for a favorable answer) and stood firm on his trust in God. Before getting to the interpretation, Daniel seemed to know the answer, or at least knew what was going on in the room. He started setting up the interpretation by reminding Belshazzar of his father’s arrogance and repentance. Belshazzar clearly followed in his father’s footsteps, but took the arrogance to a new level and was showing no repentance.

Not a good message for Daniel to present to the king. Here is yet another example of Daniel being put in a difficult situation simply because he was faithful to God. He was willing to do the hard tasks and seek only God’s approval. And this is what it got him – in front of the king, delivering a difficult message. The risks on Daniel were immense! What if that made Belshazzar angry? One snap of his fingers and Daniel could have lost his head.

Faithfulness to God can easily put is in difficult situations; maybe not ones that have us risking our lives (or at least not as often as Daniel), but still difficult. You might be called on to risk your job or reputation standing for Jesus. Maybe your family or friends. There is no getting around this fact that Jesus is a polarizing figure in history and that leads to two main camps of people: those who are for Him and those against Him. Those lines are becoming more stark everyday.

As Paul said, “For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16) In Scripture, the rewards of standing for Jesus are clear and amazing, but the risk of harm is real. Would you be willing to stand in Daniel’s place and deliver the message to Belshazzar? Are you willing to stand in front of your friends and tell them about Jesus? It may be scary, but it’s our calling and the example Daniel provided. Pray to God to give you strength to stand.


Acts Wrap-Up Video Devotional

This brings us to the end of the book of Acts. Jesus proclaimed in Acts 1:8, you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and Judea, in Samaria and to the ends of the earth, and here we are at the “partial” fulfillment of that. By partial fulfillment, we see that this is more of a now and not yet statement; it is applicable in the “now” because we watched through the book the gospel travel from Jerusalem at the point of Jesus’ ascension through Judea and Samaria and across the world, ending up in Rome. While Rome is not the end of the world, it is the explosion at the end of the wick, the catalyst point. Church history shows us that once the gospel takes seed in Rome, the movement explodes and takes root across the known world – this we can follow through well-researched church history. The “not yet” refers to the fact that the gospel has not yet reached every tribe, tongue, nation, and language. There is still more work to do.

This is where we come in. Jesus’ proclamation was not only meant for the disciples at the time, but His charge to the church as it moves and grows throughout history; a legacy that we today are a part of. This mission is currently ours, and it is our responsibility to handle that calling with serious effort. Matthew 24:14 tells us that Jesus won’t come back until every tribe and nation has had the chance to accept Him. Thus, our action (or inaction) today connect us to the legacy of people like Peter, Paul and Augustine (among many others) who gave all they had to this movement of Christianity.

What will you do? How can you be a part of such a legacy? Simple, by 1) connecting with people in your local community (whether or not they are similar to you) and loving them in the way Jesus did, and 2) putting your prayers and your dollars to work by supporting international workers reaching the unreached people groups. In all we do, we need to be looking for ways to make disciples. It’s a good thing we can trust that Jesus will be with us forever through the person of the Holy Spirit, leading the way as we follow in faith! I’ll see you on the front lines!