BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “And you…..Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven.” Daniel 5:22,23 ESV
During this year’s grandcamp our guest speaker shared, “the wise learn from their mistakes, those who are wiser, learn from the mistakes of others.” Belshazzar, the son of Nebuchadnezzar is an example of failing to understand this lesson.
Nebuchadnezzar was the “King of the World” of his day. He was the “head of gold” of the statute in his famous dream. But he had another dream that came true one year after he learned the interpretation and received Daniel’s warning. The Lord allowed this great king to become insane and be like an animal until he recognized the Lord God as the true Sovereign over all. (Daniel 4)
His son knew of all this. Yet when he became King, we find him throwing an extravagant party and praising the gods of gold, silver and precious stones as he and all his guests drank from goblets taken from the Temple in Jerusalem. A hand appears and writes on the wall.
Daniel comes in, spurns the Kings offer of gifts and proceeds to interpret the words, “You have been weighed in the scales and have been found wanting. Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.” (Daniel 5:27,28 ESV) Those are sobering words for any king, even a drunk one!
Unlike his father, there was no delay in the words of the interpretation of the handwriting coming true. That very night the King was killed and Darius the Mede began his rule.
The statement about the difference between being “wise” and “wiser” reminds of the saying, “those who fail to remember the past, are doomed to repeat it.” For some reason, it seems to be in us that we need to learn from our own experiences in life. We can observe the failings and sufferings of others, but often taken a “it-won’t-happen-to-me” approach. Often we can find what we don’t think will happen, happens. We find that we are not the exception but the norm when it comes to the cause and effect of certain actions or attitudes or decisions.
Paul writes to New Testament believers and reminds them of Old Testament lessons that are to be learned. “Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were….. We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did….” (1 Corinthians 10:5-8 ESV)
Paul’s desire was for the Corinthians to be not wise, but “wiser.” I am reminded of Paul’s words, “I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.” (Romans 16:19 NIV)
One of our Teen Challenge girls made a comment that has stayed with me, “I wondered what it would be like to be high on Meth, and now I which I had never known.” She couldn’t learn from the wrong decisions of others, so she was left to travel a road she never intended.
Let’s seek not only to be “wise” but those who are “wiser.”
Prayer for today…. Lord, give us the strength to keep our eyes upon You and not to be lured into that which will only bring heartache and pain. Thank You for the joy that there is on the path of wisdom.