July 14 - Kate Sayre, A Questionable Life, Part 6
Updated: Jul 22, 2019
Throughout the first few chapters of Daniel we have seen God’s sovereignty as a major theme and this past Sunday Kate Sayre showed us where it really shines through in Daniel chapter five. Up to this point, we have seen King Nebuchadnezzar plunder Jerusalem, stealing anything of value and taking the strongest, healthiest, and most intelligent Jews captive.
Kate pointed out the Jews had three major things by which they identified themselves: their community, their land and the temple. In one fell swoop, that was all taken from them. Now they live in Babylon, stripped of their freedoms, at the beck and call of an egotistical, pagan king. Their community has been shattered, they have been taken from their land, and all that remains of their temple are the sacred artifacts which the king has stolen for use in his parties and orgies with nobles and concubines.
Eventually Nebuchadnezzar is no longer running the show, but his successor, King Belshazzar, isn’t any better. Chapter five starts with a garish, debaucherous party well underway in the king’s palace when a phantom hand appears and writes a message on the wall. The king becomes terrified and calls for an enchanter, astrologer, or diviner to tell him what it means. Because Daniel has lived a questionable life, the queen knows his reputation and recommends the king summon him.
Daniel 5:11-12 There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the time of your father he was found to have insight and intelligence and wisdom like that of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners. He did this because Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar, was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.”
The king calls Daniel and promises extravagant gifts in exchange for the meaning of the writing.
Daniel 5:17 Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.
Imagine having your entire identity stripped from you. You are at the mercy of a not-very-nice king and now he needs you to do him a favor. How do you respond?
Daniel may have lost his community, land and temple, but his identity was never based on those physical things anyway. His identity was in God and that changed everything. Daniel was willing to help and able to speak with confidence because God was at the center of his identity. When his circumstances changed and he lost “everything,” he still managed to see God’s sovereignty above anything else.
This week as you encounter hang-ups in traffic, irritations at the grocery store, conflict at work, and stresses at home, keep this story in mind. Don’t let those circumstances define you. Instead focus your gaze and center your identity around our sovereign Father who loves you beyond measure.