The Finger of God
Topic: Daniel: God's Sovereignity in Challenging Times Passage: Daniel 5:17–5:30
This chapter chronicles the end of Babylon. King Belshazzar, grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, is about to be conquered by the Medes/Persians. He throws a drinking party for a thousand nobles, commanding that his servants bring out the sacred vessels from Jerusalem’s temple.
As they drink wine and toast the gods of gold, silver, wood, etc. a human hand appears and writes some words on the wall. Belshazzar mocked the living God, in whose hand is his breath (v. 23), by worshiping inanimate objects. The Living God responded with judgment.
The finger of God writing on the wall meant judgment came for Babylon and God was raising up a new king and kingdom, pointing ahead to Jesus’ eventual kingdom.
Belshazzar failed to learn the lesson God taught Nebuchadnezzar about humility (see chapter 4). He is rebuked by the Queen Mother, Daniel and God. The handwriting means he has been weighed, found wanting, and his kingdom is divided and given to others. King Cyrus attacked Babylon that night and put Belshazzar to death.
Jumping ahead to Luke 11:20, Jesus makes a reference to the writing on the wall by saying that the kingdom of God has come upon his hearers because it is by the finger of God that he casts out demons. Jesus is the final kingdom to supersede all others. He defeated every ruler and power in the heavenly realm. He defeated sin, Satan and death on the cross and strengthens all who come to him in humble faith.
Taking It Home: To become a Christian is to declare allegiance to a kingdom that is at odds with this world. Where do you see a clash between kingdoms in your life? How in this situation might God’s “kingdom come…on earth as it is in heaven?”
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