Read Daniel 5:1-30; Daniel 12:3
That would be worthless. Those words rolled around in my mind as I was reading from Daniel 5 this morning. More about that passage in a bit. The idea of something being worthless reminded me that I had heard about stairways that climbed up to nowhere and doors that open into walls.
Talk about having no value.
I had to remind myself about the strange story that surrounded what has been called the Mystery House. It concerned a woman named Sarah Pardee, a beautiful woman who married, Robert Winchester who was heir of the fortune made by the Winchester Arms Company. Soon after her marriage, the Winchesters lost their infant daughter, and fifteen years later, Robert also passed away. Sadly, Sarah Winchester consulted a medium, instead of looking to the Living God, Isaiah 8:19-21; Revelation 1:17-18. No wonder she was given no truth that would be a balm to her, but only lies, John 8:44. She was told that she needed to appease the ghosts of those who had been killed by the Winchester rifles and that she would remain alive if she would build these ghosts a house. Her work could not stop. It had to be on-going. She listened to that lie, and that's what she did. She bought a farmhouse in San Jose, California, and for the next 38 years, construction went on in that building night and day. Useless doors and stairways were added and subsequently demolished after she submitted new hand drawn plans that she claimed to have received each night from the spirits. How sad that her trust rested in what had no value.
Let's return to Daniel 5:1-30. There we meet Belshazzar on the last day of his reign as King of Babylon and his final day on earth. As the chapter opens, there is celebrating and revelry. Belshazzar was drinking from the golden vessels that had been taken from the temple decades ago. Can you imagine his shock and terror as he watched fingers and then, the hand writing appeared in the plaster of the wall? Then the King made his offer. He would bestow honor and glory on anyone who could explain the meaning of the strange calligraphy. As usual, none of the so-called wise men of Babylon could do the job. Welcome back Daniel. We haven't heard from you since you warned King Nebuchadnezzar that he needed to walk carefully, or judgment would come from the Lord's Hand, Daniel 4:4-27. I love your response: the faithful servant of the Lord refused the reward. Instead he gave Belshazzar a rebuke because he hadn't learned from the lessons of the past and he had mocked the Living God. He also boldly spoke the truth about the King's future. Belshazzar had enjoyed his last party in the palace.
As I read this account again, I thought about the arrogant idolatrous monarch who had morphed into the very frightened King. He held out a gift that he wouldn't ever be able to deliver. He was about to be dethroned, and more than that, he was about to die. If anyone had claimed the reward he offered, it would be as worthless as a stairway leading to a wall.
In Matthew 7:23-27, we are reminded that we have two choices of foundations. We can either build our lives on the sure Foundation of Jesus and His Word, or we can build our lives on someone or something else. We will either be safe when we stand before Him or our house that was built only on sand will fall. In Matthew 16:26, Jesus gave a strong warning. He reminded us how useless it would be if someone could accrue all of the world's riches and yet, didn't belong to Him, Luke 12:15-21. On the other hand, Hebrews 6:10 reminds us that God will never forget our service for Him that we have done out of love for Him. No act, no matter how small will be useless if we have carried it out with a right motive and heart, Matthew 10:42.
This week, Joe a man who has been a part of our church for many years, went home to be with Jesus. He loved to tell others about His Redeemer and he served the Savior in many ways. He looked to the Worthy One, Revelation 5:11-13 and He is receiving the joy that Almighty God alone, can give, Psalm 16:11.