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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Rise Up O Men Of God

"Honoring God"

Message summary: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Am I honoring the God who holds in His hand my life and all my ways?

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"But you, Belshazzar, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from His temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in His hand your life and all your ways" (Daniel 5:22,23). “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” (
Revelation 7:12)

Using illustrations can be challenging since all readers may not connect or even be aware of what strikes me as illustrative. But today we'll try! Tom Brady is an NFL quarterback who has had a 23-year career in which he won seven Super Bowls and set numerous records. Yesterday he retired saying this time "for good". At 45 he is very old for an NFL player.

Tom BradyHe has an interesting designation, GOAT, which if you don't know the meaning may sound very insulting. But GOAT is an acronym for "Greatest Of All Time". This is applied to his football career as being the greatest quarterback of all time, which based on his record few would dispute. Note: Although Brady is confident I have never heard him apply the GOAT designation to himself.

I don't know the condition of Brady's heart but we were discussing the other day those who show no evidence of being a follower of Christ and determined that we want to be described to the effect, "well, there is no question as to where Stephen Weber (or Brooksyne) stands regarding their living for Christ)!

Today let us consider Belshazzar, a man who might have considered himself the "greatest of all time". His words and actions indicated such a mindset! Consider the opening words in our Scripture selection, an indictment directly from God through Daniel's interpretation of the mysterious writing on the wall. He had not humbled himself but rather set himself up against the Lord of heaven.

Belshazzar was the final king of the Babylonian Empire. His reign ended with a unique and mysterious bang, you might say. Daniel 5 begins with a drunken party where the proud king is desecrating the holy things of God by bringing out the gold and silver goblets taken from the temple in Jerusalem. He and his thousand nobles, wives and concubines were drinking wine as they exalted "the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone". They must have thought themselves clever as they foolishly mocked the God of the Universe.

But there always comes a time when it seems God says, "Enough is enough", something our generation would do well to consider and will most certainly one day experience.

MeneGod sent a message to Belshazzar through the fingers of a human hand writing a short phrase on the wall. "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin".

Since he didn't initially understand the meaning of the words we can conclude it was the manner which the Lord communicated that greatly distressed and terrified the king. "His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way." I wish we had a video to see the king's nobles hurriedly come to his rescue as he fell to the ground after his knees gave way (not a pretty sight for a reigning king who usually sat high on his royal throne looking down upon his inferior subjects.)

The king couldn't interpret this mysterious phrase nor could his own "wise men".  But wise and faithful Daniel was still around and finally he was called in after the king's wife feared for her husband's fear-stricken life. The party attendees had gleefully praised six different gods but found these gods to be powerless in helping the king solve the throbbing mystery.

As is often the case, when all else fails, we call off the games and begin to seek Truth. The queen eventually sent for "Daniel, whom the king found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems" (5:12). Daniel said he would explain the meaning but he had a message for Belshazzar first. And what a bold message it is for decadent, God-dishonoring leadership for all generations!

Daniel 5:23He sums his message up with the phrase in our daily text, "But you did not honor the God who holds in His hand your life and all your ways". Belshazzar had not honored God and the interpretation of the writing indicated that his time was up. In fact that very night he was slain.

Let's consider Daniel's stern rebuke to Belshazzar and apply it to our own life by rephrasing it into a personal question: "Am I honoring the God who holds in His hand my life and all my ways?"

Now that's a thought provoking question and one that requires some soul searching. It's an essential truth and reminder of our purpose here on earth. It will require that we think less about ourselves and more about the God whom we seek to honor. I want to ask myself when confronted with daily choices, "Does this honor God?"

May the choice to honor God always be our heart's desire.

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we live in an age similar to Daniel's where people mock and ridicule the one and only true God of the universe. So many worship music gods, technology gods, beauty gods, media gods, sports gods, fitness gods, intellectual gods, government gods and countless other gods. But we who have exchanged a life enslaved to sin for a life that is forgiven and wholly saved know that they have not had a personal encounter with a holy God. Only You can turn beauty into ashes, our weapons into plowshares, our selfishness into selflessness. Only You can take a meaningless life and establish purpose in our hearts. Only You can replace the fear in our hearts with an eternal hope. Because of Your infinite love and care for us I want to honor You in all that I do, for I love You with all my heart. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"This Is My Desire To Honor You"  Video  Oslo Gospel Choir

"Give Me Jesus"  Video  Ernie Haase & Signature Sound This song includes recently-discovered lyrics (over 100 years old) written by the late Fanny J. Crosby. Ernie, along with friends Joel Lindsey & Wayne Haun, finished what Ms. Crosby started by adding original music to complete the song.

Weber couple photo 7/3/22
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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