Day 9

The Handwriting on the Wall

from the Daniel reading plan


Daniel 5:1-31, 1 Peter 5:4-7, 1 John 2:15-17

BY Bailey T. Hurley

The writing was on the wall: No matter how many clothes I purchased or how many beauty treatments I tried, I wasn’t going to get the fulfillment I longed for by my outward appearance.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I often want women to see me and covet my style, my hair, my home decor. As a woman who loves Jesus, I often put my self-identity in my image and how “put together” people perceive me to be. It’s not just the clothes though; it’s the ability to juggle everything, balancing kid schedules and my own free time. It’s the way I can host a big party and make it look effortless. I even want the God-given opportunities of ministry to look like I do it all on my own. Never mind the privilege and good gifts God provides. I am quick to forget whose glory I am actually seeking: God’s.

King Belshazzar, like myself, also struggled with humility. After he was given the privilege and honor of his new role as king, he chose to exalt himself “against the Lord of the heavens” (Daniel 5:23).

Before Belshazzar, King Nebuchadnezzar lost his throne when he became arrogant and forgot God’s favor upon him. One would think Belshazzar would have learned from his predecessor’s mistake, but it is not until Daniel interprets the message God had sent that Belshazzar realizes his misplaced glory. Daniel tells Belshazzar, “You have not glorified the God who holds your life-breath in his hand and who controls the whole course of your life” (v.23). Unfortunately, it is too late for him; Belshazzar is killed and his kingdom is handed over to the Medes and Persians (v.28).

I can’t judge King Belshazzar for wanting the glory for himself, for forgetting who gave him the position of authority in the first place. It’s so easy to forget who controls the whole course of our lives when we are so focused on what we want, when we want it. It can be hard to see the big picture when the things of this world seem so attractive and promise us instant glory. But it is not the things of this world that deserve our attention and worship because they are all “passing away” (1John 2:17).

It is God’s glory—whose dominion and power are greater than the greatest kingdom and whose influence reaches far beyond the reign of any king—that deserves our greatest attention. We will all fail like King Belshazzar by exalting ourselves over God and forgetting to acknowledge His power and rule over our lives. But we are also covered by the grace of Christ, which moves us toward a posture of humility. Each day we get to repent and choose to acknowledge God and give Him the worship He deserves.

Forget the latest fashion; I can clothe myself in humility and trust God to “exalt [me] at the proper time… because he cares about [me]” (1Peter 5:6–7). This is a glory that outweighs the attention of others, one that never fades. It is everlasting life in the kingdom of God with a perfect, loving, and kind King.

Post Comments (32)

32 thoughts on "The Handwriting on the Wall"

  1. Lindsay C. says:

    I keep zoning in on Daniel 4:22- “even though you knew all this”. Belshazzar wasn’t ignorant to Nebuchadnezzar’s story. I believe this is why Belshazzar didn’t receive the second chances from God like Nebuchadnezzar did. I believe this is also why Belshazzar became practically incapacitated with fear when he saw the handwriting- deep down he knew who was doing the writing. When we know the truth, there is no hiding from it or escaping it. There is only obedience or disobedience.

    1. Kristi L says:

      Yes! I zeroed in on that part as well. It made me think of Paul’s warning to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 10. He recounted the sins of the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years and mentioned how these events serve as examples that the Corinthians should learn from. Belshazzar should’ve learned from Nebuchadnezzar’s experience. He knew the story. But instead of humbling himself and choosing the path of obedience, he ignored the warning given through Nebuchadnezzar and chose disobedience.

  2. Susan Crosby says:

    I am reminded to not get to cozy with this world and all of its entanglements that keep my eyes off the one who I really need to get closer to. How do we get closer to God Himself? It’s through His word. Putting His word aside even for a short time is an opening to let the world in. Believers are only passing through. As I pass through may I not get distracted by things that have no spiritual significance ❤️

    1. Jennifer Haines says:

      Amen!

    2. Amanda Perkins says:

      Amen!

  3. Laura Beckom says:

    The podcast is great this week hope everyone has listened to it. This devotion really spoke to me as I too struggle with the same things. I pray to be humble before my God and trust in him in all things.

  4. Olivia W says:

    This particular chapter really made me sit and take a moment to reflect on all the good things God has given me and my family. Its easy to forget that the opportunities, talents, material things, etc all come from God. We did not attain these things apart from Him. Just a good reminder to always remember who the source is of all our joys in this life and the next.

  5. Maribeth Gibson says:

    Thank you for this lesson reminding us that we are to glorify God. I believe need some repentance time today and everyday! Thank you but my toes are hurting! Ouch! Dear God please remind me of thus everyday to you be the glory!

  6. MARTHA HIX says:

    ❤️

  7. Jennifer Yarbrough says:

    Repentance is a word I have been hearing since the start of COVID.

  8. Mari V says:

    Each day I get to repent and choose to acknowledge God and give Him the worship that He deserves. Thank you Bailey for this reminder.

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