HH Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
The night the lights went out in Babylon
The biblical book of Daniel is a story of kingdoms at war during one of the most crucial periods of world history. The prophet Daniel lived at a moment of great change and upheaval. He was an intelligent young Jew taken captive to Babylon during one of Nebuchadnezzar’s invasions. He found himself promoted to a key role in the court of the king of Babylon, capital of the Chaldean Neo-Babylonian Empire that spread across the Middle East.
Daniel spent his adult life working in the courts of the power of two kingdoms—the kingdom of Babylon and later the kingdom of Persia. God gave Daniel the gift of understanding to interpret dreams and prophecies and even the strangest of sights—the handwriting of a floating hand that appeared in the banquet room of Belshazzar, the last Chaldean king of Babylon. I want you to notice the writing on the wall was during the banquet. With all the manifestations in the banquet, none of them understood what was taking place in the very room they were earlier performing.
When we look at the events of that night we witness God’s gift to this devout and righteous prophet, a man who stood before great kings and testified of the glory and majesty of the God of heaven. Daniel’s example shows us what kind of person it takes to rise to the challenge of great moments in history. Here we see the power of the Spirit of God moving not only on the face of the earth, directing the course of nations, but in the noble life of one who humbly seeks to do God’s will.
On that fateful night, a hand appeared from nowhere and wrote on the wall of the king’s banquet room in front of hundreds of drunken guests. When the king saw this, Hear what Daniel had to say about that moment observing the king. “Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.” (Daniel 5:6).
He cried out for fear and lack of understanding, he needed an answer immediately: “The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” (Daniel 5:7)—third because Belshazzar was second, coregent with his father Nabonidus, who was away.
None of Belshazzar’s trusted counsellors was able to interpret the handwriting on the wall.
Then in walked the queen—this being evidently either his mother (wife of Nabonidus and daughter of Nebuchadnezzar) or his grandmother (the widow of Nebuchadnezzar). She said to him: “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’s name is Daniel … he 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 5:11-12).
TO BE CONTINUED …………