Echoes From the Campfire

Going through life is something like riding a deep canyon where the light seldom shines.  It is a strange canyon with unexpected turns and insurmountable walls and cross-canyons, boxed completely from the light.”
              –Zane Grey  (Captives of the Desert)

    “But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.”
              –Hebrews 10:39 (NKJV)
I remember a song we used to sing back in Sunday School when I was a kid.  “Dare to be a Daniel; dare to stand alone.”  That’s the only part of the song I can remember.  This week I was reading Daniel, chapter 5.  Two significant things became very apparent to me.
    The first is something that we’ve heard preached (at least in times past) – The handwriting on the wall.

         “In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.  Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thought troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other…  And this is the inscription that was written:  MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.”
                   DanieL 5:5-6,25 (NKJV)

Even though the king couldn’t translate the writing, he could sense its meaning.  He was caught in the balance and found wanting.  Because of his blasphemies, his life would end.  Today, we use the cliché, “the handwriting is on the wall” meaning that it’s all over now.
    The other part that struck me is found in verse 11.  “There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God…” (NKJV)  Ponder that statement.  How many of the Israelites were serving God?  They had been taken from Israel and had now been in Babylon seventy years.  Very few were probably serving and worshiping the Lord properly, without compromise.  There was one, however, an older man now, around eighty years old–Daniel.  Culture, society, government, none of these could persuade him to serve any of the gods of the Babylonians.  The Spirit of God rested upon him.  More and more it is becoming apparent that this would be the way it was until the return of the Lord.  No one will be able to use the excuse–“they (whoever they are) made me do it.”  As Christians we are not to become curious, compromising, or complacent about our walk with the Lord despite the culture in which we live.
    Here are a few other thoughts from Daniel, chapter five, by Elliot Johnson.
         1)  Learn from history.  Belshazzar didn’t learn from history.  He rejected the word and the will of God.  Godless men don’t learn from history, so they are doomed to repeat the mistakes from the past.  John Calvin said, “The world wishes to be deceived and shuts its eyes against the light.”
         2)  God’s mercy is longsuffering, but His judgment is swift and decisive.  He destroys those who reject truth.
         3)  God doesn’t judge success as man judges.  He looks upon the heart.  Belshazzar had everything by man’s standards, but he lacked humility, character, wisdom, and repentance.
         4)  God is very jealous for His name.  The very hour Belshazzar used the vessels set apart for God, the handwriting appeared on the wall.
         5)  Drunkenness doesn’t excuse sin.  It only adds sin upon sin, all of which will be judged.
Take time to read the chapter and contemplate what is taking place.  Then dare to be a Daniel in our society, at your workplace, in the classroom, wherever you may be.