Friday, November 9, 2012

#, wt., /

I thought about going with the obvious, “the writing’s on the wall,” or “your days are numbers, “ or “the finger of God,” or even “the magic hand picture show” Instead I went symbolic, but not creatively symbolic. Nothing like “this horse represents my fear of heights” kind of symbolism. More like, “$ is the symbol of money.” All that said, I figured “numbered, weighed, and divided” translated well enough to “#, wt., /.” If it didn’t, then this explanation leaves you without excuse. But I digress…
Daniel 5:22-23a
22 “But you his successor, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this.23 Instead, you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven…”
What did Belshazzar know? His dad (or grandfather or great grandfather depending on the use of the word) was humbled before God and made bold proclamation of His sovereign rule over all things. Belshazzar knew better. He knew what had happened to Nebuchadnezzar achieved, how he was humiliated, and how in that he found faith and confidence in God alone. Belshazzar knew this and yet willfully ignorant, acted in complete defiance of these facts. Nebuchadnezzar exalted himself before God and God was gracious enough to pursue him through humiliation and restoration. Belshazzar is not afforded the same opportunity. He knew the (albeit ancient and not yet fully formed) Good News that by faith in God we find our only hope. He rejected this Good News in conformity to the first and oldest deception – the worship of one’s self. Satan led the way by example and Adam and Eve followed in step and ever since it has been the tendency of mankind to assume the world revolves around them. After all, “if a tree falls in the forest and I’m not around to hear it, how can I be sure it makes a sound?” As though the world requires your attendance to continue its regularly scheduled programming.

Daniel 5:24-28


24 Therefore, He sent the hand, and this writing was inscribed.
25 “This is the writing that was inscribed:
26 This is the interpretation of the message: MENE means that God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end.
27 TEKEL means that you have been weighed in the balance and found deficient.
28 PERES means that your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
God is so billy bad apple. I love it. I also love how Daniel at this point has been through this song and dance enough times that the pomp and circumstances of standing before a despot has entirely worn off. He simply tells it like it is and perhaps even gets a little lippy about it: 
“Keep your money. I don’t want it. You can’t buy me off. Give it to one of your goons. You know how the former king was blessed by God with many things that he turned around and used for selfish gain. You know how God responded to this by turning him into a damp-backed freak with an eagle-feather hair-do/don’t. You know that he turned to God when he understood it was God’s gift and not his own work, pedigree, power, or prestige that procured all these things. Instead of heeding this advice, you make the exact same mistake he made. You know better. So God has written this message to you: 'Your days are numbered and are coming to an end sooner rather than later. You have been measured and even though you think you’re a big deal, you’re not. You fall short. You missed the mark.' Your prestige means nothing before God who is no respecter of persons. I can’t believe you were so lucky to hear the Good News and witnessed it in the person of the former king and yet you just reject it and live like a fool. Your kingdom is not your kingdom. It is God’s and He is giving it to someone else. Also, He is going to divide all of this you worked so hard for and split it up. D-bag.”
***By the way, that was another tasty treat from the VVCSV ~ the Van Voorst Christian Standard Version. It is less of a translation and more of a commentary. Not great for in depth word study, but fun food for thought. I also like that in my version Daniel gets to use modern slander like d-bag. 
Don’t be a d-bag. 
Your days too are numbered. You too will be measured. All you have also will be divided among those you leave behind after your demise. Humble yourself now. Do not delay.

Hebrews 3:15-19

15 As it is said:
Today, if you hear His voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.
16 For who heard and rebelled? Wasn’t it really all who came out of Egypt under Moses?17 And who was He provoked with for 40 years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?18 And who did He swear to that they would not enter His rest, if not those who disobeyed?19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
Those mentioned above saw cooler stuff than most of us: the plagues of Egypt, the Red Sea, Mt. Sinai, pillar of cloud, pillar of fire, etc… They saw all of that and yet did not believe. They did not conform their lives by faith to God. 

Belshazzar knew the deal. 
Israel knew the deal. 

It is not merely a knowing, but a believing and conforming faith that makes us right with God.