Monday, September 01, 2008

Handwriting on the Wall

Daniel 5
1Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.
2Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.
3Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.
4They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone

Belshazzar ruled Babylon after his grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar. Instead of learning from Nebuchadnezzar’s mistakes and repentance, however, Belshazzar continued in the same destructive path of disobedience, idol worship and disrespect toward God and the holy vessels set aside for His worship.

Belshazzar commanded a feast, during which he and his associates further defiled the holy vessels that were removed from the temple at Jerusalema by Nebuchadnezzar years before. Isn’t it strange that the same thing is taking place in America today? Not only are we experiencing disrespect and defilement on a new level, but even in the church, respect for the holy things of God seems to have dwindled.

As I read this Scripture, God began to remind me of all the things we once reverenced as holy. Do you remember the days that children couldn’t walk in a pulpit? How about the time when no matter what you were doing, you would stop and give respect to any minister who walked in the room? I remember when no one would dare send a dirty joke to a man or woman of God. Now, everything is “allowed“. It seems very little is sacred and set apart.

Even in the Church, we have taken the very things that were meant to bring God glory, and used them for our own entertainment. Marriage is no longer sacred. When it becomes inconvenient, even the church will condone divorce or same-sex unions. Even the very word of God, once reverenced and counted holy, is now used by many as the next ticket to big money. Our choirs once honored God and demanded a presence of holiness. Now, it seems you can rarely tell the difference between the latest R&B hit and a praise or worship song. We have stolen the sacred things and used them for our gain.

Rather keeping things of God holy, we have begun to worship the fruit of our own hands. Many of us worship church, rather than God. Rather than speaking of God, we boast of our own creations - the works we've built and the "good deeds" we feel we've done. We honor our leaders to the point of idolatry, but have no real relationship with God. In the Scripture, we see the people honored the gods of gold and silver. It’s so easy to see their idolatry, yet we don’t discern our own. God, have mercy on the church! Even in the midst of this, the Father is speaking a word of rebuke and correction unto the Body of Christ.

5In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.
6Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.
7The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.
8Then came in all the king's wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof.

If we don’t remember anything else, we must always be reminded that God is in control! We cannot escape Him, and He will not forsake His children. In the midst of the king’s blatant disrespect for God, the Father showed up. The Bible says that God wrote a message on the wall, yet no one could read or interpret what it said.

I hear God saying this is the state of His church today. His word is true, and declares “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets“ (Amos 3:7). Yet, it seems the church is caught unaware. Many of us know “something“ is happening. We see the signs and we can “feel“ something in the atmosphere. The new “church“ word is SHIFT. We can feel the “shift“, but there seems to be no one who can tell us exactly what it is. Rather than looking inward to find out why we are missing it, we persecute the voices that speak forth the word of the church! Yes, once again – disrespect for the holy things AND PEOPLE of God.

17Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation.

When the king finally sought the man of God who could provide the interpretation that was needed, he was certainly shocked that Daniel declined to receive his gifts and rewards. Unlike Daniel, so many of us are on an assignment for our bank accounts rather than an assignment for God. Daniel’s obedience to the Father was not dependent on an honorarium or keys to the church vehicle. While those things were offered, he refused the distraction from his assignment. To GOD be the glory! When he did not accept the gifts from those in rebellion, he had no loyalty to those who were rebellious. Too many of us are benefiting from the world, so we find it hard to preach against worldly ways. Oh, it’s hard to preach against divorce when we don’t love our own husbands. It’s hard to preach against illegal activity when we depend on the drug dealers’ offerings every week. Many of us don’t want to share the rebuke in the churches that “bless us well“. After all, we may not be invited back. This is why it’s so important not to turn ministry into a business. Our loyalty is to the Father, and only by obedience to Him will lives be changed by His people.

25And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
26This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
27TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.
28PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

This is where we are, Body of Christ. God is speaking. He is providing the signs, but we are not understanding. The prophets are speaking, but their voices are not being heard by the Church. Judgment is upon the land. The Body is at a place, just like Belshazzar, that we are always seeking out a word and an interpretation instead of seeking God. If there is no relationship, one will be in the same position as this king – searching for a truth by the mouth of a man. God’s prophets are not for entertainment. Frankly, when a prophet must be sought out, a problem exists.

There is writing on the wall for the American church. Can you read it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dr.Gloria Cheever