Daily Devotionals

Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place Week 5: Wednesday

So Daniel was brought in before the king. The king asked him, "Are you Daniel, one of the exiles brought from Judah by my predecessor, King Nebuchadnezzar? Daniel 5:13-14

One of the most important decisions we make is the people we surround ourselves with. The friends we spend time around greatly influence our lives, for better or worse. Because of this, we have to take seriously the people we allow in our lives to influence us and surround ourselves with people who point us in the direction of Christ.

King Belshazzar, the king of Babylon in Daniel 5, learned the importance of surrounding himself with the right people. Chapter 5 begins with a grand banquet that Belshazzar hosted. All of his nobles, wives, and concubines were in attendance. While there, they ate from glasses that had been brought to Babylon from the temple in Jerusalem, and God was not pleased. During their banquet, "Suddenly, they saw the fingers of a human hand writing on the plaster wall of the king's palace" (verse 5). The words written on the wall were undiscernible. Upon seeing this sight, Belshazzar's face became "pale with fright" (verse 6). He wanted to understand the purpose behind this sight. Unfortunately, the words the hand wrote were not discernable, so he turned to the enchanters, astrologers, and fortune-tellers throughout Babylon to get them to tell him what the writing meant. Unfortunately, none of them could tell Belshazzar what the words meant. Belshazzar grew increasingly alarmed that no one could interpret the words on the wall. Finally, the queen heard what was happening and told him not to worry. She said, "there is a man in your kingdom who has within him the spirit of the holy gods… This man Daniel… is filled with divine knowledge and understanding" (verses 11-12). King Belshazzar followed the queen's advice and sent for Daniel (verse 13). After turning to wise men who worshiped false gods, he finally turned to a man who could point him toward the one true God and offer godly wisdom. 

Belshazzar could have saved much time and stress if he had turned straight to Daniel. He may have taken a detour when he reached out to everyone but a man of God when he needed help,  but we do not have to. Instead, we can learn from Belshazzar and surround ourselves with godly people who can help point us in the direction of Christ.

Moving toward action

Take a few moments to think about the people you spend time around. Are they pushing you toward Christ? If so, thank them for their influence and commit to listening to them when they challenge you to obey Christ. If not, maybe it is time to bring some people into your life with whom you can spend more time more often. Let's be strategic about the people we spend time around to be sure those close to us point us to Christ.

Going Deeper

Daniel 5:1-9

"Many years later King Belshazzar gave a great feast for 1,000 of his nobles, and he drank wine with them. 2 While Belshazzar was drinking the wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver cups that his predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar, had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem. He wanted to drink from them with his nobles, his wives, and his concubines. 3 So they brought these gold cups taken from the Temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. 4 While they drank from them they praised their idols made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

5 Suddenly, they saw the fingers of a human hand writing on the plaster wall of the king's palace, near the lampstand. The king himself saw the hand as it wrote, 6 and his face turned pale with fright. His knees knocked together in fear and his legs gave way beneath him.

7 The king shouted for the enchanters, astrologers, and fortune-tellers to be brought before him. He said to these wise men of Babylon, "Whoever can read this writing and tell me what it means will be dressed in purple robes of royal honor and will have a gold chain placed around his neck. He will become the third highest ruler in the kingdom!"

8 But when all the king's wise men had come in, none of them could read the writing or tell him what it meant. 9 So the king grew even more alarmed, and his face turned pale. His nobles, too, were shaken."