The Fall of Babylon
Daniel 5 brings us to the transition between the head of gold and chest of silver in Daniel 2. Here we see history happen, and get a glimpse into the details surrounding Babylon’s fall. Remember that Babylon was a very prosperous nation at this time, represented by gold – the most precious metal. They were unstoppable, impenetrable, and destined to last as long as the golden image of Daniel 3.
We briefly discussed the fall of Babylon in this post, so instead of covering the same ground we’ll highlight a few things to consider as you read this chapter.
1. The vessels from God’s house come back. Mentioned in Daniel 1, to commemorate Babylon’s seemingly unstoppable power, they disrespected God by using those sacred vessels to praise the gods of metal. Pride goes before destruction, and Babylon trivialized God’s property by using it as their own.
2. Belshazzar was given an opportunity to repent. Not everyone has the kind of experience with God like Nebuchadnezzar had in Daniel 1-4, but whether we directly experience something from God or observe from the experiences of others, we are held accountable for what we know. Belshazzar knew this about Nebuchadnezzar, and he chose to defy God.
3. God will send us warnings until it is too late. With the writing on the wall, Belshazzar was explicitly told what was going to happen that night by God Himself. But pride had taken over his heart till he was not willing to listen to anyone, no matter what their title or power was. At that point what more could God do? Nebuchadnezzar was told what would happen and he repented, showing that he had not grieved away the Holy Spirit. But Belshazzar was past that point.
The fall of Babylon could not have occurred at a better time for the Medo-Persian army. Too often when we reach the level of cockiness, we let our guard down thinking we are unstoppable. This was the case with the Babylonians. The Medo-Persians tried to lay siege to Babylon for a long time, to no avail. They could not break through the thick walls. They did devise a crafty plan. A few miles away the diverted the Euphrates river to fill an army-made basin. This resulted in less water flowing through the city. General Cyrus was able to march his army through the former riverbed of the Euphrates under the city wall and walk right into Babylon, where the destroyed it from within.
Being drunk with substances harmful to their minds, the Babylonians did not catch on to this plot until it was too late. A sad ending to Daniel 5 indeed.
Daniel 4 offers hope in that we can repent and come to God, and God is willing to take us back. Daniel 5 is the flip side of that repentance coin. God’s warnings do not change in purpose, they are given for our good. It is up to us to choose to follow God, or ignore His warning. This is why the decision to choose Jesus is important. This is why the best time to make that decision is now. Do not get caught up in your own self-righteousness, thinking you will be just fine. There is no way out of this mess except through Jesus.
Will you choose Jesus today, before it is too late?