June 23, 2024

Fleeting Happiness

Daniel 5:1-9

King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them.

—  Daniel 5:1

There are parties that end in tragedy. Our Bible reading for today talks about a party that ended with the sudden fall of a kingdom. This happened in the palace of the most powerful king in the world at that time. He literally saw “the writing on the wall” that told him his days were numbered (see Daniel 5:25-30), and the king was terrified. The feast of King Belshazzar of Babylon included only select people. Nothing was missing at this party: the best food, expensive wines, beautiful women, even the golden goblets raided from the temple of God in Jerusalem. Then, in the midst of this revelry, a hand appeared and wrote a message on the wall. But none of the king’s guests or his wise men could read it. The rest of Daniel 5 explains that Daniel was summoned to interpret the writing on the wall. It was a message from God announcing the end of Belshazzar’s kingdom. And on that night the kingdom was overthrown. How hard it is to hear that one’s kingdom is coming to an end! Maybe the words come from a doctor or in a bankruptcy declaration. Maybe the greatest of dreams and plans has gone up in smoke. We cannot live in a way that goes against God or is indifferent to the eternal life that only God can provide. Why would we want just fleeting happiness when the true God offers us life forever, full and free?

Lord, we know that seeking pleasure at all costs brings bitter consequences. Spare us from ruin, turning our hearts to follow you. Amen.

About the author — Hernandes Lopes

Hernandes became the Portuguese ministry leader for Today's sister Portuguese ministry in 2010. He also serves as the director of the organization Luz Para o Caminho (Light for the Way), an organization formed in partnership between ReFrame and the Presbyterian
Church of Brazil. Hernandes has authored more than 160 books and is a popular and respected conference speaker in Brazil. Hernandes graduated from Seminário Presbiteriano do Sul in Brazil and earned a Doctorate of Ministry from Reformed Theological Seminary in
Jackson, MS.

Hernandes and his wife, Tinha, have two adult children.

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