Lessons from the book of Daniel, Lesson 5, Part 1
Daniel, ch 5
Worshipping the wrong gods is deadly. Even though people devote themselves to all kinds of idolatry, God is remarkably patient. God puts up with an awful lot. God lets people go a long way and God patiently, patiently, patiently bears with people’s sin. There is a line. When a person crosses this line, it’s too late to turn back.
It’s interesting that Belshazzar did for Daniel what he promised. He gave Daniel the robe, the chain and he declared him number three in the kingdom. Belshazzar didn’t live through the night. That very night, he lost his kingdom; then he lost his life.
In Genesis 6:3, God says: “My Spirit will not remain with mankind forever…”
When I was a little boy, a talented Christian singer and his wife attended our church. They had recorded several albums and toured the country as successful Christian artists. The man sang a song on one album that got under my skin. I can still recite the words:
“In youth I heard him calling me in tones so strong and clear. And, in the years that followed, still his beckoning I’d hear. The fleeting prime of manhood seemed too busy to respond. The life giving message grew fainter. The pleadings dimmed as years went by. I’ve often mused and wondered why. As now I’ve reached the end of life and moments past recall, his Spirit is striving no longer.”
The singer who sang this haunting song ended up taking his own life. It was absolutely tragic. In this song, he described something scripture warns about.
It’s possible to cross a line where there’s no turning back. We want to believe that while there’s life, there’s hope. While I can’t tell who’s crossed the line, the fact is there are many walking dead among us. There are a lot of people who have said no to God over and over and over and over. We don’t know it, and they may not know it, but they’ve already crossed the line. There’s no turning back.
I think of a New Testament story in Acts 5:
But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property. However, he kept back part of the proceeds with his wife’s knowledge, and brought a portion of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
“Ananias,” Peter asked, “why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the proceeds of the land? Wasn’t it yours while you possessed it? And after it was sold, wasn’t it at your disposal? Why is it that you planned this thing in your heart? You have not lied to people but to God.” When he heard these words, Ananias dropped dead, and a great fear came on all who heard. The young men got up, wrapped his body, carried him out, and buried him.
About three hours later, his wife came in, not knowin