The story of Daniel hits its apex today with the mysterious hand writing on the wall, and Daniel being brought in to interpret the strange words.
MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN.
This passage is so wrought with allegory, double meanings, and puns that it is almost impossible to tackle those things in a Morning Reflection. I remember how we studied this in Thursday Noon Bible Study a while back, and needed many weeks to fully unpack all the implications of chapter 5.
What I know of Daniel, as I step back from the story and meditate on Daniel, is of his courage and fortitude.
He speaks daring words to a man who has a lot of power over him. He is rewarded for his honest assessment. I wish I could say the same for the king, whose punishment is swift and sever – that night he was killed.
Before this happens, Daniel has been put 3rd in command. It is a story that is somewhat reminiscent of Joseph and the Pharaoh. As I think back on Joseph, what I realize is that it was not his specific words that were remembered either, but his actions, and his way of being. It was the example he set and the decisions he followed that people remember.
Daniel has a lot of preliminary words to his interpretation. And they almost fade into the background of the story of his life. Perhaps that is part of the point. Preachers are rarely remembered for the content of their sermons, but how they interacted with the congregation, and what they did, and how they said it. The same is true in so many of our lives. The DOING almost seems to trump the SAYING.
Daniel’s message to us is, in many ways, just that – make sure what you do and say match. Be an instrument of God, not of yourselves. Don’t be full of hot air about following God but do nothing about it.
It’s a daily challenge. But it’s a good one.