Drunk with Power

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A long time ago there was a king. A king who was drunk with power.

But one night he had a strange visitation from God.

It changed everything.

“Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, opposite the lamp-stand. And the king saw the hand as it wrote.” (Daniel 5:5 ESV)

Opposite the lamp-stand.

The lamp-stand is the source of light for the room. It also can represent the source of revelation, or knowledge of the Holy One, for a group of people or society as a whole.

In the Book of Revelation, the Church is the lamp-stand.

I find this passage very intriguing. I believe it speaks prophetically to our day and age; to the nation we all know as the United States of America. At the very least, it should speak to our nation’s leaders – political, civic, and spiritual.

King Belshazzar was so full of himself he couldn’t see anything or anyone else. In his eyes he was all knowing and all powerful. One night he “made a great feast for a thousand of his lords and drank wine in front of the thousand.

“Belshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought in the golden vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.” (Daniel 5:1-4 ESV)

I’m not going to try and get you to believe King Belshazzar was responsible for all of Babylon’s wickedness. It simply isn’t so. However, as the ruler of the Babylonian Empire, Belshazzar was the one God would hold accountable.

That’s how it is with leaders.

That’s how it is with President Obama. But more about him later.

Belshazzar was drunk. Drunk with power and with the fruit of the vine. In front of his thousand lords he began to mock the God of Jerusalem; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. As he led his sycophants in praise to the gods of the land, the God of Abraham sent him a message.

In fact, it would be the king’s last.

Notice where the message was written. On the wall, opposite the lamp-stand.

I remind you of the lamp-stand’s purpose.

Throughout the centuries, God has had various “lamp-stands” through which he would speak.

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” (Hebrews 1:1-3 ESV)

Jesus, a Lamp-stand to reveal the will and nature of the Father. The Church, the Body of Christ, is also referred to as “the light of the world”.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16 ESV)

As the hand suddenly appeared before Belshazzar, the particular wall on which the message was written had great significance.

The wall opposite the light.

Belshazzar stood for everything that opposed the one true God. He was the leader of a kingdom that had openly opposed Israel, and the God of Israel. Yes, God had used Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar’s grandfather, to bring correction to His people. But Belshazzar went beyond the intent of the Lord, and helped lead his nation in ways completely contrary to the revealed will of God.

And the writing appeared, with its meaning interpreted by the prophet Daniel.

“Then Daniel answered and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another. Nevertheless, I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation. O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father kingship and greatness and glory and majesty. And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive; whom he would, he raised up, and whom he would, he humbled. But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him. He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will. And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.

“Then from his presence the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed. And this is the writing that was inscribed: Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin. This is the interpretation of the matter: Mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; Tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.””(Daniel 5:17-23 ESV)

The king’s opposition to light, God’s revelation about Himself AND about mankind, ultimately judged the king and brought down his kingdom.

That night.

In this great nation called the United States of America, there are a lot of men and women who openly and vehemently oppose God’s light. It’s not a new thing; no, not at all.

But the blatant defiance and utter disregard toward anything remotely “Christian” is no longer tolerable by God. It has far surpassed the evils of Sodom and Gomorrah. How can I say that, since I didn’t live back then?

Mankind is judged by what they do with the revelation they have. Sodom and Gomorrah had some revelation, enough to bring God’s judgment.

But America, that “city on a hill” (as described by Puritan John Winthrop in 1630) has done everything within its power to snuff out the light of God.

And no other nation, ever, has had so much “revelation”, so much light. Churches on every corner, books and bibles available to anyone and everyone. Leaders are sworn in to office with the Word of God.

It appears the leadership of this once great land is drunk with power. They have called for the treasures of the Christian Church to be paraded in front of all while they mock and demean the ones they oppose.

President Barack Obama, and his administration of thousands, will soon see the handwriting on the wall. Their opposition to the lamp-stand has been noted by God. They are responsible; they will be held accountable.

As prayer can avert judgment, it is not an automatic fix. Daniel was a praying man in the Babylonian kingdom. But Daniel could not change the heart of the leaders.

The arrogance of the nation’s leaders has called for judgment. The public mockery of all things holy has demanded judgment.

God will remember mercy in judgment; but mercy will not alleviate true justice.

As the hand wrote those infamous words on the wall opposing the light, so shall the Lord reveal His final message to America’s leaders.

May America have time to hear and repent.

Belshazzar didn’t.