“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain

Daniel's Power and Influence

"Now I have heard that you are able to give interpretations and to solve difficult problems. If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.” Daniel 5:16 NIV

I can't deny it, as much as I wish I could. I love having the upper hand - feeling in control of my life, my situation, my struggles. Being in charge is...um...well... very comfortable to me.
In other words? If someone offered to me what Belshazzar tempted Daniel with in the verse above, I'd be all over it. The third most important person in the kingdom? Gold jewelry? Purple clothing (purple IS, after all, one of my favorite colors)? I'm there even (blush) make up an interpretation for that writing on the wall. (Don't tell ME you didn't wonder why one of the magicians didn't pull an interpretation out of thin air!)

But Daniel didn't want the power or the prestige. But he interpreted the wall writing anywy.
Then Daniel answered, and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another; yet I will read the writing to the king, and make known to him the interpretation." Daniel 5: 17 NKJV
Then he gave Belshazzar what he'd asked for - but not what he wanted. The ruler, it seemed, had not learned his lesson from his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar, who had become proud and been sent to live like cattle until he repented (see Daniel 4). This man had was using the Lord's holy things for his pagan banquet, and drinking from them as he and his guests worshipped idols.

Belshazzar's days were numbered as ruler of the Chaldeans. Daniel filled the pompous ruler in on his destiny. And Belshazzar, despite the news being unfavorable (and that's an understatement - check it out in Daniel 5:18-28), made good on his promise.

Then Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. Daniel 5:29 NKJV
And the funny thing? Even if Daniel had wanted to take advantage of his new position, he'd have had precious little time to do so. For "that very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom...." (Daniel 5:30-31) Talk about king for a day.

This was the highest political office Daniel ever held: the most military power he ever had - in man's estimation. But, of course, it isn't what he's known for. I'd venture to say that even if he had been third in command for decades rather than hours, his most memorable and long-lasting contribution would have nothing to do with Belshazzar, and everything to do with God.

How about you?
We're discussing this here, and at Living by Grace on Facebook. Won't you join us?  
Scripture Stories: Timeless Truths
Graphics Courtesy of Christiansunite 


  1. Oh, to have a heart like Daniel! **sigh*8 Love this. And I also like to feel in control, and love the color purple. Good job, Joanne!

    1. Thanks, Leola! Striving for that Daniel heart too. There's SO much in that short book for us, isn't there? Thanks for stopping by.


Thanks for stopping by. I would love to hear your thoughts - please share them!

My One Word: 2016 and 2017

Most who know me know I am a very goal-oriented person (in fact, I already shared my goal wrap-up for 2016 and my new ones for 2017 on this...