Daily Reflections October 20
Belshazzar has done more than host a party that got out of hand. This passage is more than just a story of a drunken hallucination. Daniel shares with us great insights into the interaction of God with sinful man.
Much can be said about this passage because it is one of most pivotal points in the history of the nations. However, it may be helpful to focus on the way in which this story shows a pattern of God’s saving work.
1. God reveals truth.
He shows himself as the one to be served no only to the nation of Israel but also to the other nations as well. God is not a local deity but is sovereign over all. He will reveal himself through his word, signs and wonders, and even writing on the wall that he alone is worthy to be praised. If we are ever ignorant of the truth of God then it is not that God has failed to send adequate messengers or has failed to show us the inadequacy of our idols. If we are ever ignorant then it is a willing ignorance because of our sinful heart.
2. God extends grace.
This may not initially look like an event of grace. It may have seemed to many of the exiles in Babylon that hope was lost. Those who have been in exile did not see freedom. They saw another empire, who could be more oppressive than the last, conquer God’s people. The thought probably naturally came: “would God come through on his promise to deliver them from exile?” But God tends to bring salvation through judgment. They are linked together in Scripture. During the flood, the world was judged but Noah and his family were saved. The Egyptians faced the judgment of God but the Israelites were saved. And here, this punishment on the Babylonians was used to bring King Cyrus which would bring the people of Israel back home.
3. God conquers.
The people, enslaved and weak, did not bring about their deliverance. God intervenes on the stage of the world to defeat the superpower in a single night. Not only did God accomplish this in a real historical setting with the real nation of Babylon, but we can see another picture of a more robust fulfillment in the New Testament as well. In Revelation 17-18, Babylon is shown to be a pre-figurement, or type, of the kingdom of evil in every age. And we are powerless to bring about our deliverance. But Revelation 17:14 tells us the glorious truth about Babylon:
“They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”
Yours in Christ,
Associate Pastor Evan Webster
In your reading of the psalms, do certain phrases or verses ever pop out at you as strikingly familiar? Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase before, but you know it wasn’t from the particular psalm that you are reading. Or, have you ever read a psalm and thought, “this sounds an awful lot like it is talking about Jesus.” Both of these experiences were likely true of your reading of Psalm 110 this morning. This is the most quoted chapter of the Old Testament in the New Testament. The New Testament writers saw in Psalm 110 a clear reference to the coming of a future Messiah, and they saw Jesus as filling the role of what was expected.
That this psalm is not only talking about David, but is also anticipating a future Messiah is made clear by Jesus’ own teaching. In Matthew 22:44, Mark 12:36-37, and Luke 20:42-44 Jesus quotes from Psalm 110:1 to prove that David, the King of Israel, referred to a future King as Lord. If the future King was simply to be one of David’s sons, then why would he refer to him as Lord? Psalm 110:1, therefore, suggests that David anticipated that an even greater King than himself would come and fill the throne. This argument is made not only by Jesus, but also by the Apostle Peter in Acts 5:34-35.
The second clear reference we see to Jesus is found in Psalm 110:4. Here we read the following oracle:
“The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”
Those familiar with their New Testaments will instantly remember that these are the same words that the author of Hebrews uses in reference to Jesus. He does this three times throughout his letter (Heb. 5:6; 7:17, 21). We also find the author frequently referring to Christ as the one who is seated at the right hand of God (Heb. 1:3, 12; 8:1; 10:12-13; 12:2). It is clear by these numerous references that the author of Hebrews saw Psalm 110 as crucial for making his argument about the supremacy of Christ over the Old Covenant.
Reading Psalm 110 with Christ in mind proves to be a very profitable experience. In this psalm we see Jesus depicted not as the meek and mild baby in the manger, but as the righteous King who executes judgement. A healthy understanding of Christ requires both of these images, but unfortunately many people have forgotten that Christ will one day return to earth mounted on a white horse to bring judgement to the nations (Rev. 19).
Let us, therefore, read the words of Psalm 110 with both thanksgiving and fear as we are reminded that Christ has ascended to the heavens to make intercession for the saints, but that He will also return to bring judgement on a sinful world.
Director of Youth Ministries Ryan Shevalier