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Archive for August 18th, 2022


Daniel 5:5-29:


Thursday, August 18, 2022spirit-of-god-breathe-in-me

A Favorite from June 6, 2009.

I have heard that the spirit of God is in you, that you possess brilliant knowledge and extraordinary wisdom . . . I have heard that you can interpret dreams and solve difficulties.

These are the words of the pagan king Belshazzar, the son of Nebuchadnezzar, who recognizes the superiority of Daniel’s wisdom over the sorcery of his court magicians.  He sees that the power of this God of the Jewish nation far outstrips the magic of his astrologers.

Brilliant knowledge . . . extraordinary wisdom capable of solving difficulties and of solving enigmas . . . these are certainly great powers . . . and they are beyond price.  When the king offers to pay Daniel for his gift of interpretation,  Daniel replies: You may keep your gifts, or give your presents to someone else; but the writing I will read for you.  Daniel is the only one present who is capable of reading the famous writing on the wall from verses 5 and 6. Daniel accepts no payment, knowing that he has not invented this wisdom on his own, knowing that God is the bringer of all wisdom.

The king was terrified; his face went ashen, and his lords were thrown into confusion. There are many times when we read our own writing on the wall that foretells cataclysm. There are many times when we are thrown into confusion by the events and people surrounding us. We look for someone in whom the spirit of God rests, someone who has brilliant knowledge and god-like wisdom.

The human Christ dies to release us from our earth cares and our human prison.  The divine in us is thus rescued from oblivion.  If Jesus has not been human . . . if we are not divine . . . the wisdom we seek when we are confused by the world would not come to us.  If we were not co-creators and co-redeemers with Christ as his adopted sisters and brothers, this brilliant knowledge that interprets the mysteries of our lives would not be available to us.

The story of Daniel is a variegated one; it is full of stories that encourage us when we are at our lowest, when we feel our exile, when we fear the lions and the fiery furnace.  Daniel foretells the coming of the Son of Man, the title Jesus takes on as his own.  Daniel suffers calamitous events, yet rises above them on this great tide of God’s wisdom, God’s spirit, God’s love, God’s saving power.

When we are deeply troubled, when we see no way out, when we see the writing on the wall that rises just inches from our faces, it is time to sit with this story.  It is time to welcome in this Spirit of God that can interpret dreams and solve difficulties; and it is time to accept no payment from this world.  It is time to behave as this faithful exile far from home; it is time to turn to God, to pronounce truth, and to listen to the word that hums within.

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