Friday, February 13, 2009

A Lesson From Daniel 5

We are studying the book of Daniel in Community Bible Study right now. I was pretty nervous about teaching this book, but it has blessed me beyond anything I dreamed...well, blessed me and convicted me.

This past week, we studied Daniel 5 when Babylon falls to the Medes-Persians, under the leadership of King Belshazzar. It's really a fascinating story when you combine Scripture with history...

Belshazzar was the son of Nabonidus, who was really the King. But Nabonidus was kind of flaky, so he went off to an oasis in the desert to worship the moon god, and left his son Belshazzar to rule and protect Babylon...Big mistake...HUGE.

History shows that Belshazzar was a bit of a playboy, more interested in partying with his nobles and the girls, rather than ruling and protecting this amazing empire.

Well one night, King B. threw this huge, raucous party, even though he knew the enemy was surrounding the city. I mean hey, the city had 80 foot thick walls that were 350 feet high...the Euphrates River ran through the city and they had enough provisions to last them for 10-20 they were indestructible...RIGHT?! (Yeah, that's what they thought about the Titantic too!)

So while he partied, different accounts say that Darius the Mede put men at the points where the Euphrates ran into and out of the city and then went upriver to divert the river. As the water lowered, the men stepped into the river and went under the walls into the city. Apparently Babylon fell without a fight...the drunken nobles were caught completely off guard.

Now whether or not those are the exact details, aren't what's important... I was really struck by how Belshazzar had control of this incredible empire, tons of gold, beautiful telling how much wealth...and he squandered it all.

Daniel told him that the reason judgment was being brought on him was because he didn't honor, or glorify God.

But isn't that like America...isn't that like me?! I look at all of the wealth that is squandered in this country and it breaks my heart... But then, I look around my own home, all the things we don't need and it breaks my heart.

Our lives are full of stuff, but they aren't things that honor and glorify God...they aren't things that satisfy His plan and's just stuff, some futile attempt to fill holes in our lives that only God can fill anyway.

Scott and I have made a committment this year to live by a budget...we're doing pretty good so far, but it's been hard. I have to stop and ask myself with every purchase, do I really want to spend the money on we really need this? I've put a lot of stuff back on the shelf...and there's still stuff I should have put back...but I'm learning.

Ephesians 2:10 says that God has prepared good works for us to do. I've learned this past year with Abby, that those works bring incredible blessing to your life when you obey Him and walk in His path. But sometimes He lays desires on our hearts that we aren't able to do because we haven't been faithful stewards of His blessings.

It breaks my heart to think that someday, when I get to heaven, I'll get to see all of those opportunities that I missed because I had squandered His blessings. But I'm so thankful that He forgives us and then transforms us...I'm so thankful that He's teaching me about faithfulness and stewardship... that He's patient with us in the process and always gives us a second chance.

I don't want to waste another blessing...because who knows what He has in store for us down the road...maybe an opportunity to be obedient to Him that we just wouldn't want to miss!!


Julia said...

Oh, this is so true! I just love reading your blog, it reminds me of the church we used to go to, the Pastor would always relate the teachings in the Bible to what's going on in today's world. He made me a better person for a week till the next service, then I'd get inspired the following week and so on...

Patientlywaiting said...


I was convicted by your post today. Gary and I have been through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace class and are using his steps to financial freedom. Well, we haven't been doing as well lately keeping to the plan. Your words spoke to me and I could hear God telling me "hello, this is what I've been trying to tell you maybe this time you'll listen". Thanks for sharing and reminding of the big picture.


Cristy said...

Great post! We have also been convicted about our spending and since last summer we have been on a strict budget. It was difficult at first, but I too realize there are so many things I bought that were just "stuff" when we could have done something more with our $$ that has eternal value.

Thanks for the wonderful reminder to keep all we do focused on eternity!

Jeff said...

When you mention "budget", my ears perk up. I am a big proponent of budgeting, and a lifelong disciple of the late Larry Burkett. I am a volunteer Money Map Coach with Crown Financial Ministries and there are volunteer coaches across the US. If you ever need any help, or just another set of stewardship eyes on your finances, I'm sure there would be one in your area. If I can be of any help with resources, or anything, let me know.

Adoption has also made me more aware of the somewhat extravagant lifestyle of America. As usual, you are on the mark... which is why your blog is one of my very favorites! Keep blogging!