Beware the Five Fingers

August 4, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Posted in The Fives | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Belshazzar, grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, was having a quite a party. He and his lords and his concubines were getting so drunk that they started using vessels made by the hands of men to toast gods invented in the minds of men. What they failed to realize is that there is a real God Who is free to intervene in the pompous and silly affairs of this world whenever He wants, and is more than capable of reminding everyone just how serious a business it is to ignore His existence or to blaspheme His name.

In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.

Daniel 5:5

The fingers that “came forth” (not “fourth”) were five fingers. These five fingers (I’m counting the thumb as a finger) would write a message of judgment and doom, but even before they started writing, they revealed a terrifying five-fold message.

https://i2.wp.com/www.clker.com/cliparts/s/M/i/c/5/N/fingers-md.png

Little Finger: “In the same hour” means that this happened at the height of the partying and sacrilege. It is clear from the Bible that God is indeed offended by sin, but He is never too offended to show up and set things right. Those who believe that they have sinned God out of their consciences and their lives would do well to remember this principle and repent before He decides, in His wrath, to show up at a crucial moment and put an end to the party. The Lord of glory is not a dainty tea-sipper with His pinky finger held askew while He peers down His nose from a distance at the things He finds unpleasant in His creation.

Index Finger: What appeared out of thin air were the fingers of “a man’s hand.” Let’s be clear. When you and I start looking for the cause of our problems, it would benefit us greatly to bypass the ideas of chance, fortune, luck, our past, our upbringing, our circumstances, our DNA, and our cultural influences. More often than not, when God shows up to deal with us in our sin, we can simply look down at our own hands to find the cause of all our sin-related troubles. Before we use our pointer finger to shift the blame, we need to open the mirror of God’s word and point accusingly at the culprit of evil: ourselves.

Ring Finger: The hand that appeared at Belshazzar’s wanton shindig chose the best place to start writing its message: “over against the candlestick.” When we want to have what this evil world thinks of as a “good time” we like to turn the lights down low. Things that would be shameful in the light tend to take on a false sense of security and secrecy in the dark. Belshazzar and his cronies probably had enough light to ogle the concubines, but not enough to highlight the lecherous leers on their own faces. God wanted His truth to be seen clearly, though. We need to remember that He sees everything, regardless of the brightness of the environment, and that He has a way of seeing to it that the embarrassing things we think we are getting away with in the dark get brought out into the open when we least expect it. The finger that is famous for holding the wedding ring needs to be a reminder to us of who we are, to Whom we belong, and what it means to be faithful.

Middle Finger: God could have made the words themselves, in addition to the hand doing the writing, appear to float in thin air. However, He chose instead to write them “on the wall of the king’s palace.” Belshazzar put great trust in the walls of his earthly kingdom, believing them to be impenetrable against enemy attacks. This was obviously erroneous since the Medes and the Persians managed to get inside the city and conquer his kingdom that very night. We tend to place a great deal of trust in the supposed strength of our earthly institutions, whether it be our careers, our homes, our own abilities, or even our government, but this is a mistake. The Lord God alone is worthy of trust, and we would do well to keep Him (just as the middle finger is the strongest and central part of our hands) positioned in the center of our lives.

Thumb: In the midst of a crowded party, you would think that anyone might have been startled to see a hand suddenly appear out of nowhere, but actually it was the king himself who “saw the part of the hand that wrote.” Belshazzar alone had the right to give the thumbs-up to this party, and he was accustomed to giving the thumbs-down to anybody who might rain on his parade. But this was a different scenario. A quote attributed to D.L. Moody says that, “God has two thrones – one in the highest heavens, the other in the lowliest heart.” We need to be very careful not to try to weasel our way onto the throne of our own hearts. That is a seat reserved for the sovereign God of this universe alone.

Diverting the Flow of the Word

August 6, 2009 at 10:26 am | Posted in Biblical Doctoring, Daniel | 11 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The prophet Daniel had been a very important young man in the kingdom of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar, the wicked and powerful ruler, had known him very well. As the years passed, however, Nebuchadnezzar’s successor came to power, and Daniel faded out of the thoughts of the movers and shakers in Babylon.

One day, however, a hand appeared out of thin air in the royal banquet hall, and began to write on the wall. The king was scared out of his wits. He did not understand what the writing meant, and none of his advisors could tell him. Suddenly, Daniel was remembered.

But the Daniel who was summoned to appear before Belshazzar was not the young whipper-snapper who had dealt with Nebuchadnezzar. This Daniel was probably about 82 years old, and he had no time or interest for the king’s frivolous gifts. (Daniel 5:16-17)

We can almost see Daniel, God’s man, shaking his stern finger at Belshazzar, and giving him the interpretation of the writing on the wall without fear:

But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified… In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.

Daniel 5:23; 30

It is interesting to note the manner in which the Medo-Persian army invaded the supposedly impenetrable walls of Babylon. First they diverted the course of the Euphrates River, which ran under the walls, and into the city. When the water level went down they were able to go under the walls.

Water is very important to a city. Without water, two tragedies would befall the inhabitants. One, they would get thirsty. Two, they would lose the ability to maintain hygiene, thereby increasing the spread of disease.

In the Bible, water is a picture of God’s Word. (Ephesians 5:26) If the flow of God’s Word is cut off from His people, the people will get thirsty, they will become defiled, they will get spiritually sick, and, ultimately, many will suffer a form of spiritual death. The preaching and teaching of the Bible must be central in the local church.


Entries and comments feeds.