Focal Passage: Daniel 5:1-6, 16-17, 23c-28
We live in a world of relativity. This relativity has found its way into the realm of truth. Truth no longer has a standard according to this world. Truth is now relative to the way one thinks or feels but in no way is it absolute. Though this world rejects absolute truth and has made it relative, God’s Word has not changed. God’s Word is truth and it is up to the followers of Christ to proclaim this truth and hold high its biblical standard. Ephesians 4:14-15 has this to say about God’s standard of truth, “Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head — Christ” (HCSB).
One of the truths that must be proclaimed is that we live in a world of sin. The world doesn’t want to be confronted with the truth of the reality of sin, and the corruption that sin brings. King Belshazzar, who became king of Babylon in 553 B.C., would be confronted with this reality during his reign. His sin had led him to use the sacred vessels, taken from the temple during Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, to drink wine and offer toasts to idols. When confronted with his sinfulness by God’s hand on the wall, the joyful spirit of the party turned to fear in the heart of the king so much that “his face turned pale, and his thoughts so terrified him that his hip joints shook and his knees knocked together” (5:6 HCSB).
The king did not understand the writing on the wall that confronted him about his sin and so he wanted to find the answer. After using his own wise men who were unsuccessful in the interpretation he then turned to Daniel to bring an interpretation to the dream. He offered Daniel many incentives if he would give the interpretation but in a gracious act of humility Daniel refused and interpreted the dream for the king without any reward. We too should be willing to speak truth into the lives of both unbelievers and believers. Daniel gives a great example of how to do this in humility and love. Daniel wanted to interpret the dream for the king so the king would know the truth concerning his sin and the judgment to come.
Most believers place a high value on honesty when it comes to dealing with temporal things. We want to be told the truth and others expect us to tell the truth. When it comes to eternal things honesty is even more important because the consequences are forever. Even though we are not to judge others based on our own opinions, we are called to show forth the judgment on sin that God’s Word reveals. Daniel understood this as he proclaimed to King Belshazzar that he had not glorified God, that the days of his kingdom were numbered, that he had been found wanting, and that his kingdom would be divided up among his enemies. That very night his life was required of him.
We have a great privilege and responsibility today to lift high the banner of truth to a lost and dying world. When we proclaim the judgment of God on sin we can then proclaim the Good News of Christ as the solution to sin. Truth is not relative but rather stated absolutely in the Word of God. Jesus, in John 8, exhorted those who had come to know Him to continue in the truth of His Word and there they would find freedom. May we continue to find freedom in the truth of God’s Word and may we offer this truth that leads to freedom humbly and in love to the world of people who need so desperately to hear.
— Allred is pastor of First Baptist Church, Bruceton.