Daniel 5:1-31 presents a challenge due to its size. But it only takes the first four verses to see that something’s definitely wrong. The something that’s wrong the ultimate act of idolatry. Verse 4 concludes the party scene with: “They drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.” It’s a slap to God’s face.
The writer of Daniel let’s us know that this is wrong by recording Daniel’s speech to the idolatrous king in verse 23: “but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven….And you have praised the gods of silver and gold….but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.”
So, in verse 23 God provides us with the problem and solution. Our sermon is a time to urge all the faith-family to “go and do otherwise.” Genuine Christians do not follow the king’s example. We keep ourselves from idolatry of all kinds, especially the American idols. We praise “the God in whose hand is [our] breath.” We honor Him and Him alone.
The famous scene of the divine handwriting on the wall and Daniel’s interpretation of that pen-on-plaster describe God’s reaction to the king’s arrogant idolatry. It also advances our application and links us to the Gospel.
First, each one of us at the judgment will be weighed in the balances. Apart from the righteousness Christ, all of us will be “found wanting” (v. 27). But the cross shows us a Savior, the only human ever to live a perfect life, found wanting because of our sins. Because God found Him wanting due to our sins, we have the assurance of facing the judgment without fear. Genuine Christians live a life that reflects the fact that we praise and honor God alone.
For anyone who wonders whether this decision is the right one, give them a good look at how Daniel fares in this chapter.
Preach well so God receives the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:21).