Daniel – Though You Knew All This

And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this,
(Daniel 5:22)

This article was posted earlier this year, and I decided to re-post it with several additional observations.

Do you remember the account of the writing on the wall in Daniel 5? The King of Babylon at that time was Belshazzar and he and his court decided to have a drunken party and use the vessels from Solomon’s temple to hold their beverages. They toasted and praised their gods while holding items from God’s house. The King is rattled to his core with a vision of a man’s hand writing strange words on a wall. Daniel is brought into interpret the message.

While explaining the meaning of the writing on wall, Daniel gave King Belshazzar a history lesson about King Nebuchadnezzar. For us it is only a matter of turning a page back and reading Daniel chapter 4, but this event of Nebuchadnezzar being humbled before God had happened many years before. A great king of Babylon was lifted up with pride against the Almighty God, and he was severely humbled before God.

The thing is, according to Daniel, this was not private knowledge. King Belshazzar was fully aware of what had happened to Nebuchadnezzar. Knowledge of historical facts was not enough was it? King Belshazzar knew the right information, but failed to learn from it. He did not humble himself before God.

Take a look at the first chapter of Daniel and notice something. Where did King Nebuchadnezzar place the articles of Solomon’s temple (God’s house)? In the houses of his gods…in the “treasury of his god.”

And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god.
(Dan 1:2)

That tells you where King Nebuchadnezzar ranked the God of Israel. He saw the God of Israel as just another god that was subservient to his own gods. Through his reign, however, he learned otherwise as he came to know the real God of all the earth. Again, as Daniel stated to the later king Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar’s journey of faith was not unknown to Belshazzar. He just failed to learn, accept and apply the lessons of his predecessors.

There are real answers in history, we can truly help change our course in life by looking back in the past. You can look at the course of people’s lives and see the good choices they made and solutions they came up with to solve problems, and you can examine their thought process to see how that can help you today. You can also look at how individuals, organizations, and nations spiraled down into a world of hurt because of a sequence of one bad choice after another. Learn from it. Learn from your own past too! We do not have to repeat history like King Belshazzar did. He was given all the tools and opportunity and information he needed to completely alter his course. But he chose to reject the knowledge given to him, and he ended up repeating history.

This is the lesson of Ezekiel 18. A son can see the wickedness of his father and make a deliberate choice not to follow that same path. That son can charter his own course with God.

“Now suppose this man fathers a son who sees all the sins that his father has done; he sees, and does not do likewise…he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live. As for his father, because he…did what is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity. “Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
(Ezekiel 18:14-20)

This is what God expects of each of us, and it is what God expected of King Belshazzar. When you are driving on the interstate, you eventually have to get off the exit to “arrive” at the destination. Some folks keep studying and learning, but never “arrive” at the truth. Paul said there were those who were …always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:7). Belshazzar wasn’t lacking for information, he was lacking the application of it.

Daniel – Till You Know

“that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will. And as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be confirmed for you from the time that you know that Heaven rules.”
(Daniel 4:25-26)

I have to admit that there were times in the past that I read Daniel and wandered, “Man, how long did it take this bonehead Nebuchadnezzar to get it? How many times did it take for him to understand that God is God and He rules?” Daniel chapter 2 – After Daniel miraculously tells the king both his dream and the interpretation, ole king Neb falls on his face and proclaims God is the God of gods and Lord of kings. Then we turn to chapter 3, and what is ole king Neb doing? He’s making a 90 foot tall golden idol and he demands everyone worship it. After God miraculously saves the lives of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the fiery furnace, the king proclaims that anyone who speaks a word against God should be torn limb from limb. As Anna just said when I read this to her, “So, he’s quite the drama queen.”

Then we come to chapter 4, and what’s going on now? Ole king Neb is walking around praising himself for how wonderful his kingdom is. Even after all he has already seen, and even after being specifically warned by Daniel, he still goes ahead and praises himself for his amazing wonderfulness. So, he is punished by having to live like a beast until he gets the point. Thankfully, God is very merciful and allows his kingdom to be restored to him once the king gets the point (Daniel 4:26). By the way, here is an other article discussing the times when people in the Bible get caught up saying, “I, Me, Mine.”

So, once again, I can look at this arrogant, thick-headed king and ask why it took him so long to understand the truth? But then I look in the mirror, and know that it has taken God a lot of tries to teach me certain things. I’m pretty sure as long as I live, He will still be working on me. The same goes for you, too. Thankfully God is very merciful to us like he was to ole king Neb.

Here are a few passages from the book of Philippians where Paul says clearly that God is working on us just like He was on King Nebuchadnezzar.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
(Philippians 1:6)

for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
(Philippians 2:13)

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.
(Philippians 3:13-15)

Experience Jesus and Pass It On

1“Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the Lord your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, 2 that you may fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. 3 Therefore hear, O Israel, and [a]be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the Lord God of your fathers has promised you—‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’  4 “Hear, O Israel: [b]The Lord our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.  (Deuteronomy 6:1-9; NKJV)

What do we teach our children with how we live, or what we say, or what we choose not to say or do?  It matters!  In the above verses, God is calling us to love Him with our whole being.  Jesus had similar words when he answered about which commandment was the greatest.  Jesus said…“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

Jesus also said, if we were going to love Him, we needed to follow His commandments (John 14:15) which is not different than what is being taught in Deuteronomy.

So what do we teach our children and do we understand those lessons first come to us to learn and share?  We learn about and teach our children the Nature of God…that is He is True and Living.  We learn about and teach our children the Character of God…that He is Love.  We learn about and teach our children the Will of God…that He loves us so much that He sent His only Son to save us…that our God is concerned about our good.

We learn about our God by “knowing” Him.  That isn’t a word that describes being able to pick Him out of a line up, knowing some facts, or remembering some stories.  That word, “knowing”, means “to experience”.  That definition implies that it is an on-going, everyday activity with Jesus and our Heavenly Father.

To “know” Him is to love Him.

To love Him is to obey Him.

That is a lifelong endeavor and in our knowing God we share our experience of Him with our children and they can then also know Him.  What a great connection and what a great Person to ensure our children know.

Take some time today and really consider if you are “experiencing Jesus” today.  With that in mind, think of ways you might better teach your children about Him…to introduce Him into their experience.  I encourage you to find ways to help the children in your life to Know God, Love God, and Obey God.

Now that is an experience of a lifetime!

Though You Knew All This

And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this,
(Daniel 5:22)

Do you remember the account of the writing on the wall in Daniel 5? The King of Babylon at that time was Belshazzar and he and his court decided to have a drunken party and use the vessels from Solomon’s temple to hold their beverages. They toasted and praised their gods while holding items from God’s house. The King is rattled to his core with a vision of a man’s hand writing strange words on a wall. Daniel is brought into interpret the message.

While explaining the meaning of the writing on wall, Daniel gave King Belshazzar a history lesson about King Nebuchadnezzar. For us it is only a matter of turning a page back and reading Daniel chapter 4, but this event of Nebuchadnezzar being humbled before God had happened many years before. A great king of Babylon was lifted up with pride against the Almighty God, and he was severely humbled before God.

The thing is, according to Daniel, this was not private knowledge. King Belshazzar was fully aware of what had happened to Nebuchadnezzar. Knowledge of historical facts was not enough was it? King Belshazzar knew the right information, but failed to learn from it. He did not humble himself before God.

There are real answers in history, we can truly help change our course in life by looking back in the past. You can look at the course of people’s lives and see the good choices they made and solutions they came up with to solve problems, and you can examine their thought process to see how that can help you today. You can also look at how individuals, organizations, and nations spiraled down into a world of hurt because of a sequence of one bad choice after another. Learn from it. Learn from your own past too! We do not have to repeat history like King Belshazzar did. He was given all the tools and opportunity and information he needed to completely alter his course. But he chose to reject the knowledge given to him, and he ended up repeating history.

…always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.
(2 Timothy 3:7)

Trust – Not Knowing

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
(Heb 11:8)

Trust. In order to trust another, it by definition means you don’t have all the answers and information. You don’t possess all the details and you are going on the word of someone else.

Abraham was told to take his family and his corporation and go. Go where? Go where God told him to go! That’s not a lot of information to go on, is it? But it was all the information Abraham needed.

Sometimes we really geek out on the details and have to know all the information. God doesn’t work that way with us. He wants us to trust in Him and His promises without having all the facts. You will not be able to know how everything is going to turn out in specificity. The Lord isn’t going to send us a spreadsheet with charts.

I’ll leave you with a short passage from Exodus that tells of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. They didn’t have all the information and details. Their job was to be silent and go forward. Trust God and let Him take care of the rest.

And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” The LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.
(Exodus 14:13-15)

Strong Enough to be Her Man

Are you “strong enough to be her man?”  No matter who the “her” is…whether it is mother, sister, daughter, wife…you are strong enough to be her man with God as your foundation and His blessings filling your heart.  His grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, hope will produce peace that will be just what is needed in the best and worst of times in our relationships with women.

Peace is not the absence of war, trials or tribulations.  Having peace does not mean that the women we love are not going to disappoint us, hurt us or lose their way.  Peace does not mean that our women are not going to be hurt, have challenges, or be without distractions.  Peace is not circumstantial but rather a state of being.  Peace is the presence of God; the tranquility and serenity within the individual who is in a right relationship with God.

Read Paul’s words in Philippians 4:6-7.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Find peace with God who is the source of peace.  Take a moment and read Colossians 3:12-17 with a focus on verse 15.  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

 Draw near and Abide in Christ Jesus through whom God’s peace comes.  Jesus calls us to Abide in Him (John 15) because He has already taken care of what we need and God the good gardener will continue to lift us up, prune away the dead parts and provide us with the fresh air and sunshine needed to grow and prosper.  Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ… (Rom. 5:1)

Have peace with self.  Take courage in Jesus’ words.  Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. (John 14:1)

We can then have a calmness and tranquility of mind knowing that God is on our side (Romans 8:23, 31).  He WILL NOT forsake you.  No matter how much someone else disappoints you, hurts you, or gets off track.  God will not forsake you and you will be cared for here and retain your final reward and home in heaven.  Allow this to build you up with a peaceful heart so that you can endure and be strong for others.

No matter how turbulent the times get, how loud the argument, how far the distance, how confused the situation…you have a voice!  Take it all to God in prayer (Philippians 4:6-7).

Then, as much as possible, have peace with your women.  (Romans 12:18; Hebrews 12:14).

God is our peace.  He will reassure us.  He will strengthen us.  He will fill us with His wisdom and discernment.  He will give us patience and endurance.  He will pour into us His grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, and hope in such a way we can project that into the lives of our women and reflect for them the peace and eternal perspective God has called us to have in good times and bad.

You are strong enough to be her man…when you have the peace that comes from above.